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Instagram CEO: Don't Blame Us That Snap's Dumb Business Model Can Be Copied So Easily

Instagram to Snapchat: "I don't know her."

As legend has it, one day late in the year of our lord 2013, a blood feud was born.


When Mark Zuckerberg offered Evan Spiegel and his bros $3 billion for their popular app, he rightly assumed that the young men would leap at the opportunity to cash out like bandits on a platform designed to make nude selfies disappear. Amazingly enough, the offer was spurned and Zuck set in motion a long-term plan to fucking destroy Snapchat.

While there's no actual proof of what was said at the time, it is not beyond reason to posit that Zuck reached out to Kevin Systrom, the CEO of Instagram who had accepted a $1 billion offer from Zuck in April 2012, and asked "Can you do what Snapchat does?"

"Oh, yeah, totally. It's not that hard at all," was Systrom's likely reply. "Do you want me to start on that now?"

"Yes, that would please me," purred a likely smirking Zuck. "But keep it quiet and take your time. I want to do this when the timing is most crushing to that LA frat boy and his cabal of douche bros."

As Zuck lied in wait, Snapchat grew into Snap, pulled the wool over the eyes of old people throughout finance and went public in one of the dumbest IPOs ever. Seeing that his moment had finally arrived, Zuck picked up his phone, opened Facebook Messenger, pinged Systrom and typed "Unleash Hell."

Within days of Snap's IPO, Facebook had replicated almost all of Snap's functionality across of all Facebook's platforms, demonstrating with brutal efficiency that the insult of 2013 was never forgotten. And all that Snap could do was mutter "Copycat" and hope that its badly-damaged stock price would someday recover. But if allegations of Facebook "copying" Snap is what Spiegel is relying on, Facebook seems to have that shit covered.

Zuck is trotting out Systrom to respond to the argument that Instragram has ripped Snap off by rolling out its immediately popular "Stories" function, and Systrom's talking points seem to be an unequivocal "Yeah. So what?"

WSJ: What about the narrative that Instagram is taking features from the Snapchat playbook?
Mr. Systrom: Stories is definitely similar to Snapchat. I think anyone would say that. The first time you see a product show up somewhere else it feels a lot like copying but imagine a world where the only car was the Ford Model T. I’m really glad there are a lot of car companies producing different cars. Just because they have wheels and windows and AC doesn’t mean that you’re copying. You’ve got DreamWorks and Pixar and Disney, they’re all doing computer-animated film. That doesn’t mean they’re copying each other. They’re building upon a technology. I would just judge [Stories] based on how many people use it actively, which is over 200 million every day. It clearly provides unique value to people that they’re not getting elsewhere.

That right there is the most verbose way of saying "Fuck Snapchat" that you will ever read in your life.

Instagram CEO on Stories: Don’t Call It a Copycat [WSJ]



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