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Departing Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom: I Have a Few More Instagrams in Me

Departing Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom told the audience at the Wired 25 Summit in San Francisco on Monday that he isn’t done with tech any time soon. “I figure I have a few more Instagrams, time-wise, in me,” the 34-year-old quipped, adding that he couldn’t guarantee that any of his future ventures would become as big as the photo-sharing service.

Systrom and his co-founder Mike Krieger announced last month that they will leave Instagram and take time off “to explore our curiosity and creativity again.” On Monday, Systrom said, in retrospect, he was surprised that he stayed six years with Facebook after the company’s Instagram acquisition.

“I never thought I would be doing it for eight years, or at least inside another company,” he said. He also argued that Instagram was in a good spot, and set up to succeed even without its co-founders, and likened it to other companies that have done well after acquisitions, including YouTube and PayPal. “Typically, they do very, very well post founder,” he said.

Media reports pointed to tensions within Facebook for one of the reasons that Systrom and Krieger departed from Instagram. Systrom didn’t deny those reports out of hand, saying: “No one ever leaves a job because everything is awesome.” However, he said he continues to root for Instagram and Facebook. “I want this thing to succeed.”

One of the issues that Instagram’s new leadership will have to tackle is harassment on the platform. Systrom said the company already took important steps in that direction under his leadership, which included giving users the ability to turn off comments, as well as block certain users or certain words. “You are in control of your content, not us,” he said, adding that the way the social media platform addressed these issues is core to its future. “That’s the type of legacy we wanted to have. Not selfies and hashtags.”

Systrom said he wasn’t sure about what to focus on next, saying that he was currently taking time off and spending it with his 9-month-old daughter. “Number one priority, be a great dad,” he said. “It’s way harder than being CEO of Instagram, it turns out.”

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