Mike Isaac

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Instagram Lead Designer Tim Van Damme Headed to Dropbox

TimVDDropbox is bulking up on its design talent.

As I wrote on Monday, Tim Van Damme, Instagram’s lead designer, will be leaving the company a year and half after joining the photo-sharing startup.

He’s leaving to join Dropbox, the fast-growing startup used for file-sharing, and that now aims to be a platform for applications to sync all kinds of data.

“The past 18 months were some of the best of my life, both personally and professionally,” Van Damme said in a post on his personal blog. “But it’s time to move on, time to solve a different set of problems.”

The details of his new position aren’t entirely clear at this point, but Van Damme will indeed join the design team at Dropbox to help continue building good-looking products for the startup.

Since January of 2012, the 28-year-old Belgian native has been responsible for the look and feel of Instagram across iOS and Android, a lofty task for a service that prides itself on its simplicity and serves upward of 130 million monthly active users.

Prior to his time at Instagram, Van Damme was an in-house designer at the location-based mobile startup Gowalla, which, like Instagram, was also bought by Facebook a few years ago (though Gowalla was “acqhired,” while Instagram was acquired outright). And before that, Van Damme was lead designer at TenForce, and also a freelancer building websites for companies.

Van Damme is one in a string of Facebook design staffers moving over to Dropbox in the past year. Late in 2012, Facebook designer Soleio Cuervo also announced he was joining Dropbox. And former Facebook designer Rasmus Andersson also joined Dropbox in March of this year.

Van Damme will be taking some time off for the next few weeks and will start at Dropbox in early August.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald