“A Roughly 31,000 Percent Return”

Fascinating article about Instagram and its recent $one billion sale to Facebook:

At Stanford, [Instagram CEO and co-founder Kevin] Systrom opted to go abroad to Florence, Italy, for the winter term of his junior year, where he focused on photography. A teacher there persuaded him to switch from his Nikon to a plastic Holga that took square photos, a choice that would be echoed later at Instagram. Florence also marked Systrom’s introduction to using chemicals in the developing process, such as selenium toning, which can give photos a distinct purple hue.

All this would ultimately be incorporated into the new app that Systrom and Krieger were busily sketching out by hand in notebooks in the summer of 2010. During the exhausting push, Systrom took a cheap vacation to a hippie artists’ village called Todos Santos, in Baja California Sur, Mexico, with his girlfriend, Nicole.

Read the article, The Money Shot {vanity fair}, to learn how filters became a key part of the app and find out who made that crazy-high return on their investment my headline alludes to…

Via {daring fireball}.