“Always Day One” — Facebook and Instagram

If you are sheltering in place, there is a good new book you might find an interesting read (hyperlink to Amazon page on the book):

Always Day One: How the Tech Titans Plan to Stay on Top Forever

The author, Alex Kantrowitz, is a well known Silicon Valley tech writer (BuzzFeed) who has been able to obtain access to the tech Illuminati for years and thus comes at the subject with a very strong foundation.

The book touches on:

Amazon and Jeff Bezos (Culture of Invention),

Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg (Culture of Feedback),

Google and Sundar Pichai (Culture of Collaboration),

Apple and Tim Cook (the Apple Question), and,

Microsoft and Satya Nadella (the Microsoft Case Study).

It ends with a section on The Leader of the Future.

The term “Day One” is something from the depth of Jeff Bezos’ mind and is intended to keep Amazon operating with that startup empty belly hunger.

What caught my eye initially is an excellent discussion of the acquisition and integration of Instagram into Facebook.

To refresh your memory, on the run up to Facebook’s IPO, Mark Zuckerberg swooped down and purchased Instagram for a billion dollars. In the book, the purchase price is stated to have been a little less, but that is not the point of my post today.

It is this: Facebook made one Hell of a great acquisition in buying Instagram and its 13 employees. The price seemed outlandish at the time and many Zuckerberg detractors said it was a weak defensive move predicated by Zuckerberg’s fear that Instagram would become a vicious competitor.

Of course, I think a strategic acquisition of a competitor is a wise move, not a weak move.

The bottom line is this:

 1. Facebook bought Instagram (2012), its management, and its 13 employees for $1,000,000,000.

 2. Today, Instagram has more than 1,000,000,000 monthly users with more than half that number involved with Instagram Stories (post acquisition product development to compete with Snapchat).

 3. Facebook drove Instagram into the advertising revenue game with such relentless zealotry that its original founders quit.

 4. Instagram is now valued at $100,000,000,000 which is 20% of the entire Facebook market cap.

To put this into a little perspective, Facebook would go on to acquire WhatsApp (2014) for $19,000,000,000 and it is questionable as to what value WhatsApp has contributed to the mother ship. That is a little too pointed, but you get what I mean.

Bottom line it, Big Red Car

I already did. Let me repeat.

Dumb old defensive Zuckerberg made a great acquisition on the eve of the Facebook IPO.

He forced Instagram to get into a more aggressive ad revenue posture — the core value of Facebook.

The founders of Instagram quit, but after more than five years.

The Instagram acquisition is a 100X multiple — sure after eight years, but still.

Game, set, match Mark Zuckerberg.

There is a lot of gossip in the book about some very petty jealousy between Facebook and its new little sister, Instagram, which is an interesting read, but it is also illuminating as to how Facebook is run. It is not a flattering picture.

So, there you have it, dear readers. Buy the book?

Who’s looking after you as you shelter-in-place? Damn right, your Big Red Car. Now, keep your social distance from that refrigerator.