Alley vs. Valley

Instagram’s Success Is One Big Ad for the Silicon Valley Boy’s Club

Start early, lure college kids.
kevin systrom Instagrams Success Is One Big Ad for the Silicon Valley Boys Club

Mr. Systrom (Twitter.com)

We hate to stir up the Alley-versus-Valley animus too early in the morning, but upon reading this New York Times history of Instagram, well, we can’t help wading right in. And that’s because the company’s trajectory was a direct beneficiary of the West Coast’s fratty atmosphere:

“The extraordinary success of Instagram is a tale about the culture of the Bay Area tech scene, driven by a tightly woven web of entrepreneurs and investors who nurture one another’s projects with money, advice and introductions to the right people. By and large, it is a network of young men, many who attended Stanford and had the attention of the world’s biggest venture capitalists before they even left campus.”

Before Kevin Systrom ever struck out on his own, he was already plugged into a network that could help him: He knew former Facebook CTO Adam D’Angelo (who’d provide technical assistance) from a Stanford frat party, he’d met Jack Dorsey (an important early user) through a Twitter internship, and he was introduced to VC Marc Andreessen (an early investor) by a Google coworker. As far as making a splash at launch goes, that sounds a hell of a lot easier than even the most spectacularly successful NYTM demo.

Maybe Mayor Bloomberg might want to start hosting the occasional kegger? Just a thought.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com