A Quora user asked: Did anyone decline an offer to work at Instagram?Eight people have answered including Robert Cezar Matei who says he almost worked there.
In fact, Matei almost worked at Facebook and Square, but he missed those opportunities too.
Here’s what happened.
He was offered a job as Instagram’s 2nd engineer and the founders had only made one other offer prior.
Matei says he knew Instagram cofounder Mike Krieger from Stanford and he often visited their desks at Dogpatch Labs.
Matei remembers the day TechCrunch first wrote about Instagram. He was there watching the panicked founders trying to deal with the traffic surge. He’d spend late nights with the team in the office, but he still didn’t come on full time.
“When I was deciding where to work next, they made me build a follow recommendation algorithm using their API. I guess they liked it. We talked about their vision. We had sake in the Tenderloin at 1 in the morning. Kevin crafted a lovely letter, peppered with shared experiences and pictures, as he did for every offer. I was touched,” he writes.
Instead, Matei went to Quora. He was more passionate about its vision and the position.
“If you’re in the Valley for any amount of time, you’ll have missed opportunities,” he writes. “As a sprightly Stanford sophomore, I rode my bike over to Facebook’s first Palo Alto office, back when the company was a handful of people. I walked in unannounced, cornered Dustin, and offered to help. I focused on school instead. I failed to be convinced by Keith and Jack Dorsey back when Square was in its infancy. Add Instagram to that list. Whatever. Opportunities were rarely as close as they might seem in hindsight. There are a million ways my life could have turned out worse, too.”
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