Kara Swisher has penned the definitive piece about how Facebook bought Instagram in the latest issue of Vanity Fair. The story is packed with context, drama, and detail as Swisher shows again that she has the best play-by-play game in tech journalism.
Less obvious is how much personality she packs into the quotes in her story. She does remarkable stuf with the access she got to Twitter's Jack Dorsey, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, and (obviously) Instagram's Kevin Systrom,
So, here, I present you with Zuckerberg and Dorsey's quotes, as well a selection of Systrom's.
Kevin Systrom, Instagram co-founder
"That idea that you could get rich really quickly off of starting a start-up didn't really exist in Massachusetts, on the East Coast, during that time."
"I was like, Great, I missed the Twitter boat. I missed the Facebook boat."
"Instead of doing a check-in that had an optional photo, we thought, Why don't we do a photo that has an optional check-in?"
"I was naturally inclined to take pictures, because it was much more about tweaking variables than it was necessarily creating something with your hands."
"I said, 'Well, you know what he does to those photos, right?' She's like, 'No, he just takes good photos.' I'm like, 'No, no, he puts them through filter apps.' She's like, 'Well, you guys should probably have filters too, right, then?' I was like, 'Huh.'"
"I'm not sure what changed my mind, but he presented an entire plan of action, and it went from a $500 million valuation from Sequoia to a $1 billion [one from Facebook]. Obviously, the equation was completely different."
"I think everyone thinks that the acquisition was made in a dark room with Trent Reznor music playing. Do you know what I mean? Like there was some dramatic thing. And it turns out that some of the biggest decisions get made relatively quickly, without much fanfare."
"It's wrong not to be thankful for what's happened."
Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO
"From the start, Instagram was a simple application and a joy to use. I was blown away by how much detail they put into the experience. It reminded me about how much Kevin talked about photos [when he worked at Odeo]. There was an obvious obsession there, but it had never been put into practice until then."
"I found out about the deal when I got to work and one of my employees told me about it, after reading it online I got a notice later that day since I was an investor. So I was heartbroken, since I did not hear from Kevin at all. We exchanged e-mails once or twice, and I have seen him at parties. But we have not really talked at all since then, and that's sad."
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO
"Kevin would call me and I would call him."
"They got a lot of traffic from Facebook. And it occurred to me we could be one company."
"A gesture does not equal an offer, because every tech company is always talking to every other. So, I wanted to be very clear that we were very serious."
"This never had the feeling of negotiation, because we kind of wanted to work together."
"Most of the other things we bought were talent acquisitions, but in this case we wanted to keep what it was and build that out."