Instagram started as an iPhone app that allows you to share your pictures on the Web and apply a series of creative filters for special effects. These filters are similar to those that are now ubiquitous on digital cameras, from the point-and-shoot to the DSLRs. It gained an instant success simply because of the innovation: your pictures looked different from all others on the Web.
But what differentiated Instagram from other apps that also offered creative filters is the sharing abilities to Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Tumblr, Foursquare that simply worked very well. So, Instagram established itself as the place to share mobile photos on the Web. On launch day, they had about 15,000 downloads; that number grew to about 100,000 at the end of the first week, and 400,000 at the end of the first month. Today, they are at 3.2M users and growing. Besides the US, Japan is the next biggest users of Instagram. In fact, the international audience is a large part of Instagram’s success.
On lessons learned: “Focusing on one thing and doing it really, really well can get you very far” in the world of app development.
Download the free Instagram app.