Lessons from Kevin Systrom at Startup School SV 2014: Building a Successful Community

Play video
This article is a summary of a YouTube video "Kevin Systrom at Startup School SV 2014" by Y Combinator
TLDR Silicon Valley's tolerance for failure and focus on action creates opportunities for future world-changing CEOs, who should surround themselves with great people and prioritize the community for success.

Value of Community and Users

  • 🌍
    Silicon Valley is unique because it tolerates failure, unlike other places where failure is not accepted in the startup world.
  • 💡
    Finding the right people who can take your idea and make it even better is crucial for success in building a company.
  • 💡
    The lesson Kevin Systrom learned was that it's more important to focus on whether people are using your product, rather than what they think about it.
  • 💡
    Kevin Systrom emphasizes the importance of surrounding oneself with amazing people, regardless of the specific job or salary, as it can lead to valuable learning experiences and opportunities.
  • ⚙️
    "Instagram is not merely technology, it's also an incredible community, and it takes a lot of hard work to preserve and nurture that community."
  • 💎
    "Our community is our greatest asset...the most important thing to remember is that your users are your greatest asset."
  • 🌍
    Putting the community first and serving the users has been one of the greatest advantages for Instagram's success.

Importance of Action and Risk-Taking

  • 💡
    "There's no perfect next move...bias towards action." - Kevin Systrom emphasizes the importance of taking action instead of obsessing over finding the perfect next move after graduation.
  • 🚀
    Sometimes, in order to progress and move forward, you need to take action with limited information and risk, even if it means making trade-offs along the way.
  • ⏰
    It took only eight weeks to build the first version of Instagram, which gained 25,000 sign-ups on its first day and continued to grow rapidly.


  • How does Silicon Valley's tolerance for failure create opportunities for future CEOs?

    — Silicon Valley's tolerance for failure allows individuals to take risks and learn from their mistakes, creating opportunities for future CEOs to innovate and succeed.

  • What is the importance of surrounding yourself with great people?

    — Surrounding yourself with great people allows for collaboration, innovation, and the ability to learn from others' expertise, ultimately leading to success in business.

  • How did the speaker start their classified ad website?

    — The speaker taught themselves Ruby on Rails and created a classified ad website for students to trade goods, showcasing the importance of self-learning and taking initiative.

  • What is the speaker's advice on taking action?

    — The speaker emphasizes the importance of having a bias towards action and not waiting for the perfect next move, as taking action is crucial for progress and success.

  • How did Instagram's success come about?

    — Instagram's success was a combination of luck, being in the right place at the right time, having the right team, and a lot of hard work, along with building a strong community through meetups and events.

Timestamped Summary

  • 🚀
    Silicon Valley's tolerance for failure creates opportunities for future world-changing CEOs, as demonstrated by a Stanford student's experience with a classified ad start-up.
  • 🚀
    Sometimes taking a risk and focusing on action is more important than having all the perfect information when starting a startup.
  • 💡
    Every experience counts, choose a job based on the people you work with, and surround yourself with amazing people.
  • 👥
    Surround yourself with great people and learn from them, as every move doesn't need to be perfect.
  • 📷
    Instagram founders used a location sharing app to focus on building the app, while the speaker discovered the popularity of filtered photos and made changes based on a girlfriend's suggestion.
  • 📈
    Mike co-founded Instagram, which had a successful launch thanks to great hiring and building relationships in the small community of the valley.
  • 💻
    Urgent request for additional server due to website traffic overload, while prioritizing community is crucial for success.
  • 👥
    Prioritizing the community has been a key advantage for the company.
Play video
This article is a summary of a YouTube video "Kevin Systrom at Startup School SV 2014" by Y Combinator
4.8 (75 votes)
Report the article Report the article
Thanks for feedback Thank you for the feedback

We’ve got the additional info