Facebook today announced it is acquiring Instagram (and its 13 employees) for approximately $1 billion in cash and stock. What you might not know is that Systrom and Zuckerberg have known each other for years. Not only that, but Zuckerberg wanted Systrom to join Facebook.
"This was when I first met Adam D'Angelo and Mark [Zuckerberg] from Facebook," Systrom told Fast Company last year. "When they first came out to Palo Alto, I was in this fraternity at Stanford called Sigma Nu, and through a bunch of connections, we ended up meeting those guys, time and time again. So when I met Adam and Mark, they were like, 'Yeah, we're working on some photo stuff too, why don't you come talk to us about Facebook?' Unfortunately, I decided I wanted to stay in school, and that's one of those decisions that I look back at--I would've loved to have been part of Facebook's growth over the years, but it was the first time I met those guys. It was certainly the harbinger for what was to come in my future."
Some may say Systrom passed up quite a deal, but it's worth noting this was in 2004, before Facebook had launched its Photos service, which is now the world's most popular with sees 250 million photos uploaded daily. Furthermore, here's why I think he came out on top in the end.
Not only does Systrom get to work at Facebook despite turning down his first offer, and not only does he get to keep working on the project he built, but he got $400 million out of today's deal, according to Wired. Despite the fact Facebook will create over 1,000 millionaires when it goes public, he would definitely not have made that much even if he joined Facebook when D'Angelo and Zuckerberg first asked.