Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Facebook Photo Phenom Instagram Gets a Business Lead to Scale Its Operations (and Presumably Revenue)

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According to sources, Facebook has moved well-regarded exec Emily White to a new job as director of business operations at its Instagram mobile photo-sharing unit.

In this capacity, she will work with Instagram head and co-founder Kevin Systrom to scale nascent efforts to expand partnerships, improve user operations and, presumably, come up with ways to make some money. The fast-growing service, which the social networking site bought a year ago in a billion-dollar mega-deal, has been popular with consumers, but it has not focused as much on its business operations.

(Update: Facebook confirmed the move and also released this statement from Systrom: “I’m excited to bring Emily White onto the Instagram team. As we continue to scale our operation to support over 100 million active users, her experience with partnerships and business operations will play a major role in our future success.”)

In fact, related to business, it has waded more into controversy — such as when changes to its terms of service suggested that Instagram could sell user photos to advertisers, a change that was quickly rescinded by Systrom. That said, it left the door open to selling advertising of some sort on the app.

White has a lot of experience in the online ad space in smoothing out and organizing ops, both at Google — where she previously worked — and at Facebook, where she started in the deal-making arena and later worked on mobile partnerships.

White — who has recently been courted by other Internet startups, reportedly including scrapbooking phenom Pinterest — is also on the board of women’s yoga and running gear retailer Lululemon. That’s good since part of her new job will be to get more big brands integrated into Instagram, which has already begun to do that with some initial level of success.

Systrom will continue to focus more on product development and overall strategy and vision, which he has done since Instagram was purchased last April.

(That photo above is of White, which she just posted on her Instagram accountnatch!)


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik