"I think for where we were, we made an awesome decision," Kevin Systrom told the magazine.
"The whole idea of joining Facebook was that we could scale way more quickly than we would independently. So if that is your goal, I think we've fulfilled that, and then some. If your goal, on the other hand, is not to have a billion dollars but two, or three, or four or whatever, well, good luck spending it. That's not what makes you happy in life."
The interview was conducted before Systrom and Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger announced on Monday they were leaving the company. It was published after the news broke. It contains no hint of tensions between the founders and Facebook leadership.
In fact, Systrom drew a contrast between Instagram and WhatsApp, which Facebook bought for roughly $20 billion in 2014, and whose founders, Brian Acton and Jan Koum, reportedly clashed with Facebook over privacy and other issues. "We're very different from WhatsApp," Systrom told WSJ Magazine. "We never had any of these philosophical misalignments." Acton left Facebook in 2017 while Koum left in May.
Instagram has become something of a shining star for Facebook — avoiding the privacy scandals of the core platform and claiming the youngest users who are increasingly leaving Facebook.
Though Facebook doesn't break out individual revenue for its family of apps, Bloomberg estimates Instagram is worth more than $100 billion, making it one of Facebook's most lucrative acquisitions to date.
Read the full interview with Systrom at WSJ Magazine.