We were indeed the first to really identify the market for mobile photo sharing. It all started when we asked the question “What if you could see your friends’ camera rolls?” So many people take pictures on their iPhones that never see the light of day, so by being able to see your friends’ camera rolls, then you can see what your friends are up to.
At first, we decided to focus on privacy and creating a comfortable environment for people to share photos without worrying who sees them. Initially we had great traction in small groups, but quickly reached the realization that private sharing is difficult in groups of friends that do not all have iPhones. This is a problem that Path is facing right now. Hyper-privacy does not work and moves against the natural motion of social products now, which is to be more open.
I’m happy to see Instagram’s success because it will bring forward the possibility of mobile photo sharing in people’s minds which will pave the way for new apps to have a chance to blow the lid off of the space. We’ve barely scratched the surface of the potential of the mobile photo space, and I’m excited to see Instagram lock-down a long-term vision and watch Path slowly become more open.