Instagram CEO and founder Kevin Systrom has freely admitted what literally everyone who woke up and read about ‘Instagram Stories‘ today was thinking: that yeah, it’s basically Snapchat.
ICYMI, this morning Instagram launched ‘Instagram Stories‘, a blatant rip-off of Snapchat stories that allows users to take photos, draw on them, and send them to followers as part of a larger narrative without interrupting your curated feed. It’s a new home for your ugly selfies and bad crowd shots of somewhere cool, if you will.
It’s also literally Snapchat-for-Instagram.
But at a Silicon Valley press conference announcing the new feature, Systrom freely admitted that Snapchat deserves all the credit. This is not only a) true but b) extremely bloody rare.
When a TechCrunch reporter brought up the giant yellow elephant in the room and pointed out that whole parts of the feature were legit pioneered by Snapchat, Systrom interrupted him.
“Totally,” he said. “They deserve all the credit.”
“When you are an innovator, that’s awesome. Just like Instagram deserves all the credit for bringing filters to the forefront. This isn’t about who invented something. This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.
He points out that major tech companies have been stealing from each other for years, all in the name of UX – i.e. Facebook pioneered mainstream feed (stolen by LinkedIn,Twitter & Instagram), and Twitter pioneered @usernames and hashtags (stolen by Facebook, Instagram, and in the case of hashtags, every single advertising campaign from now till the end of eternity).
“I think what you see is that every company looks around and adopts the best of the best formats or state-of-the-art technology,” he said. “Snapchat adopted face filters that existed elsewhere first, right? And slideshows existed in other places, too. Flipagram was doing it for a while. So I think that’s the interesting part of the Valley. You can’t just recreate another product. But you can say ‘what’s really awesome about a format? And does it apply to our network?’
Don’t you think that Snapchat’s done a really awesome job? And Facebook’s done a great job. And Instagram’s done a great job. I think all of these companies have done a great job. Some people invent stuff. We’ve invented things.”
But after all this – and believe us, the ‘X invented Y but Z did it anyway’ went on for quite some time – he said he doesn’t reckon Instagram Stories are a substitute for Snapchat, and vice versa.
“We’re bringing some new creative outlets with ‘neon drawing’,” he said. “You have different ways of navigating back and forth with this. You have a completely different audience. If you’re a business, if you’re a celebrity, if you’re an interest-based account, you can have a giant audience. It’s going to feel very different. I don’t believe these two things are substitutes, and that’s okay.”