Adam D’Angelo was Mark Zuckerberg’s best friend in high school.
Later, in an instant message conversation during college, D’Angelo was one of the first people Zuckerberg told about his original idea for TheFacebook.com.
Then D’Angelo went to work at Google. Eventually he became Facebook’s first CTO.
Later he quit and cofounded his own startup, the very useful questions-and-answer site Quora.
Today, the New York Times revealed D’Angelo also played a crucial role in the history of Instagram, the photo-sharing app Facebook just bought for $1 billion.
Past midnight, in a dimly lighted warehouse jutting into the San Francisco Bay, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger introduced something they had been working on for weeks: a photo-sharing iPhone application called Instagram. What happened next was crazier than they could have imagined.
In a matter of hours, thousands downloaded it. The computer systems handling the photos kept crashing. Neither of them knew what to do.
“Who’s, like, the smartest person I know who I can call up?” Mr. Systrom remembered thinking. He scrolled through his phone and found his man: Adam D’Angelo, a former chief technology officer at Facebook. They had met at a party seven years earlier, over beers in red plastic cups, at the Sigma Nu fraternity at Stanford University. That night in October 2010, Mr. D’Angelo became Instagram’s lifeline.
“Adam spent like 30 minutes on the phone with us,” Mr. Systrom recalled, “walking us through the basic things we needed to do to get back up.”