June 19 - Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver are among the guests appearing at the LeWeb technology conference in London. Matt Cowan reports.
Europe's largest technology conference LeWeb is taking place in London for the first time. Normally a Parisian affair, this time it's set up shop next door to Westminster Abbey. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom made the trip from California to share the stage with British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. Systrom has kept a low profile since his company, which makes a photo sharing app for the iPhone, agreed to a one billion dollar acquisition by Facebook. With the deal still under review by U.S. regulators, he would not speak about it directly...but he did offer some hints about Instagram's future direction. SOUNDBITE: Kevin Systrom, Instagram CEO, saying (English): "One of the cool things about Instagram right now and the situation we're in is how well it works with all the different networks. I think if you look at how Jamie uses it, and how other brands use it, it's really fascinating to see them put content on to Instagram but then broadcast it...to other networks, Twitter, Facebook, et cetera. And that democratization and openness is the basis of our platform." And in the future, he says, Instragram will look to become a better platform for pictures from the past. SOUNDBITE: Kevin Systrom, Instagram CEO, saying (English): "Even scrolling back through Jamie's feed, it's really interesting to see how many photos back in the past you forget about. I think you made the comment, Instagram is only ever 10 hours old in your feed. And that's one of the things we want to change. We want to make it feel like that content you produce a year ago, that photo you took at LeWeb Paris, you can show that to your friends. You can discover that. We're trying really hard to take all the data that's come in to Instagram and let you see through it, in the past." Systrom also said the company needed to do a better job of creating channels to help people find content...but anyone holding out for a bombshell would have been disappointed. The New York based design deals site Fab.com announced its buying a London startup to help it accelerate its international expansion. Jason Goldberg is the CEO of Fab.com SOUNDBITE: Jason Goldberg, Fab.com CEO saying (English) "We didn't want them to get out ahead of us. What we look at is, we're building the next IKEA, which is, IKEA's a 30 million dollar business, operating in 50 different countries. 11% of IKEA's revenue is in the U.S., 13% is in Germany; not one market is dominant for them, and we saw an opportunity to build something of that scale with Fab. Fab's story demonstrates that in the world of e-commerce, it is still possible for a strong original idea to win out, even in the face of intense international competition. Matt Cowan, Reuters