Instagram, a social media platform that has revolutionized the way we share and consume visual content, was launched in 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. However, the success of Instagram is not only attributed to its founders but also to its early employees who played significant roles in shaping the platform. This article will delve into the profiles of these early employees, their contributions, and where they are now.

The Founders: Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger

Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger are the brains behind Instagram. Systrom, a Stanford University graduate, initially created a prototype called Burbn, which later evolved into Instagram. Krieger, also a Stanford graduate, joined Systrom to refine Burbn, leading to the birth of Instagram. Their combined efforts resulted in a platform that attracted over 10,000 users within hours of its launch.

Shayne Sweeney: The First Employee

Shayne Sweeney joined Instagram as its first employee even before it was officially launched. He was instrumental in developing the technical infrastructure of the platform. Sweeney, a self-taught programmer, was responsible for building the Instagram website and contributing to the app’s development.

Jessica Zollman: Community Evangelist

Jessica Zollman was Instagram’s fourth hire and its first community manager. She played a crucial role in fostering a vibrant and engaged user community. Zollman was responsible for curating content, promoting user engagement, and managing Instagram’s communication channels.

Josh Riedel: Operations Guru

Josh Riedel was hired as the community manager but quickly transitioned into an operations role. He was responsible for ensuring the smooth running of the platform, managing server capacity, and dealing with technical issues. Riedel’s role was critical in Instagram’s early days, ensuring the platform could handle its rapidly growing user base.

Philip McAllister: The Android Expert

Philip McAllister was brought on board to develop Instagram’s Android app. His expertise in Android development was crucial in expanding Instagram’s reach beyond iOS users. The launch of the Android app significantly boosted Instagram’s user base, contributing to its overall success.

Where Are They Now?

After Instagram’s acquisition by Facebook in 2012, many of the early employees moved on to new ventures. Systrom and Krieger left Instagram in 2018 and have since launched a new platform called Sweeney left Instagram in 2014 and has kept a low profile since. Zollman is now a successful freelance photographer, while Riedel is working at a startup called Neighborland. McAllister is currently a software engineer at Google.

In conclusion, the early employees of Instagram played pivotal roles in shaping the platform and contributing to its success. Their diverse skills and dedication helped transform Instagram from a simple photo-sharing app into a global social media phenomenon. Their journeys post-Instagram serve as an inspiration for many in the tech industry, demonstrating the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of this field.


Alex likes to write about anything related to technology, marketing and gadgets. He sometimes reviews the latest tech and also writes on other blogs.