The cofounder of Instagram on why he left Facebook: 'No one ever leaves a job because everything's awesome'

Steve Jennings/Getty Images for Breakthrough PrizeKevin Systrom at the 2018 Breakthrough Prize at NASA Ames Research Center on December 3, 2017 in Mountain View, California.
  • Instagram cofounder Kevin Systrom has spoken out about why he left the company in September.
  • Speaking at a conference on Monday, the entrepreneur admitted that “no one ever leaves a job because everything is awesome.”
  • There have been reports of tensions between Facebook CEO and Kevin Systrom (and fellow cofounder Mike Krieger) prior to his departure.

Instagram’s former CEO Kevin Systrom has spoken out about his exit from the company he cofounded, admitting that “no one ever leaves a job because everything is awesome.”

Appearing onstage at the Wired 25 conference in San Francisco on Monday, the social media exec made his first major public remarks since the news broke he was quitting Instagram in September. The 34-year-old entrepreneur cofounded Instagram with Mike Krieger in 2010, and remain at the company after it was acquired by Facebook for $US1 billion in 2012.

There have been multiple reports in the media that Systrom and Krieger’s joint departure was at least in part due to tensions with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and disagreements about the direction of the product.

Systrom acknowledged there were some tensions – while playing down their impact and speaking more broadly about his future.

“I think any time you leave anything it’s sad, even if it’s your decision,” Systrom said. “But at the same time you can’t evolve as an individual or a person unless you make big changes in your life. And no decision is either all good- or all bad-feeling, it’s always a mix of the two, but that’s not a reason not to do it.”

He added: “To be clear, when you leave something, sometimes it’s because it’s incompatible with what you wanna do, or things change or whatever, but in this case there are no hard feelings at all. I’m excited to do something new and I think Instagram’s in a really, really good place.”

So what is the new thing Systrom is planning to do next? The exec declined to comment on any future business ventures, though said he has been taking flying lessons, spending time with his nine-year-old daughter, and providing some mentorship to companies he has previously made angel investments in.

But his remarks suggested he was definitely considering starting a new business: “I’m 34, I think I have a few more Instagrams, time-wise, in me,” he said. “I’m not sure that we’ll ever do something nearly as impactful.”

Got a tip? Contact this reporter via Signal or WhatsApp at +1 (650) 636-6268 using a non-work phone, email at [email protected], WeChat at robaeprice, or Twitter DM at @robaeprice. (PR pitches by email only, please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.