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How a 37 billion dollar business idea stemmed from 2 entrepreneurs taking a break

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It’s hard to remember the days without Instagram. Lucky for us, Kevin and Mike prototyped their first app well enough to get some funding. From there, they put their blood, sweat and tears into creating what has transformed into Instagram today. It wasn’t easy and they learned many valuable lessons along the way. Here’s what we can learn from them. 

1. Find a cofounder

One of Instagram’s first investors gave Kevin this key advice, which led him to join forces with Mike. It's way harder to build a successful business on your own, plus most investors are skeptical of it.

2. Take a break

Feeling burned out, Kevin decided he needed to escape everything for a bit. A late afternoon walk on the beach with his wife in Mexico changed everything. Their conversation sparked the filter idea that now defines Instagram — a conversation that wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t let himself take a breather.

3. Choose your initial users wisely

The app store gave them 100 invites for people to try it out before they launched. Instead of just sending out to family and friends, Mike and Kevin went to dribble.com for talented designers they knew would have fun with photography. From day one, the popular photos section was filled with awesome photos that were taken just on a phone. This inspired the movement.

4. Say sorry

When Instagram’s new Terms & Conditions were published and misinterpreted by users, account deletions skyrocketed. After building such an amazing thing, they lost their users’ trust and didn’t know what to do. Their solution? Say sorry. Kevin got on his blog and explained the mistake, apologizing wholeheartedly and reminding their community what they're really trying to do. This saved them. After the blog post, deletion dropped to zero.

5. Control your luck

Kevin has a theory that everyone is lucky. The important part is to be alert enough to know when you’re in a moment of luck and stay optimistic enough to make the most of it.

Hear more about how Kevin Systrom & Mike Krieger sparked the photo-sharing revolution on NPR’s "How I Built This" podcast with Guy Raz.

Photo Credit: Glamour Affair

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