Creating Art is Fundamentally Human (Instagram is worth $1 billion)

Some products allow anyone to become an artist and tap into the human desire to create art. Products that enable this desire can have a tremendous adoption curve. Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr are all examples of this phenomenon. I think the ability to turn anyone into an artist is (part of) what creates a religious fanaticism in each product’s users.

With a few re-pins, you can create collections on par with any magazine. Or with a few taps, you can create pictures that look as though they should be in a museum. The beauty of lowering the friction to being an artist is that as the community gets bigger, it actually gets better! This is the opposite of most communities — think about Yahoo Answers today.

Pinterest and Instagram are not frivolous. They are the most efficient tools ever invented to create art. And creating art (just like sharing and connecting with our clans) is one of our most basic desires. Companies that own this behavior online are worth A LOT of money.

6 thoughts on “Creating Art is Fundamentally Human (Instagram is worth $1 billion)

  1. I do agree that these two products tap into our common desire to create — but it may be a little far to call anything re-pinned or instagrammed as “art”.

    More than anything, I think it reflects more our desires to share what we create — kind of a “look ma!” moment.

    1. No doubt that broadcasting is a big part of it too. But I do think the act of curation or editorialization (is that a word?) is art.

      There’s a great talk that Kevin Systrom gave (someone told me about it last night in response to this post) where he talked about how they decided to do Instagram. They sat down and figured out all of the things that are hard with photosharing and realized that actually the hardest part is creating a good photo worth sharing. So they focused in on that problem…the problem of how to create photos that look like works of art.

  2. Hey Avichal!
    I would love to listen to the Talk from Kevin Systrom, do you have a link? I am currently writing a dissertation on Instagram and how it sits within the art world.
    Loved reading you blog post.

    Thanks, Hailey

  3. Great post that echoed some of my own thoughts on companies that manage to tap into “fundamentally human” needs to create value.
    I’d just like to point out that, though many apps lower the “friction” to create art and arguably does it better – dedicated photo editing apps like Photostudio, Instagram excels as it manages to create a virtuous feedback loop between the human desires to create art and share it.

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