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People dismiss this company for being just a photo-sharing site and then one day, poof, it's worth $1bn.

Pretty much just described Facebook too. http://venturebeat.com/2010/07/21/fred-wilson/

Instagram took arguably the most important part of the mobile social process—taking photos—and made it cooler than everything else, including what Facebook, was offering.

As for the NYT v. Instagram argument, I think we can all agree the NYT's social value may outstrip its economic value. The outrage about the decline of the NYT should've started when Craigslist started offering free listings.

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