Q&A: Instagram’s New Head of Product, Vishal Shah
Instagram’s new product chief talks about the app’s push into e-commerce, life after the departure of Instagram’s two cofounders, and Facebook’s controversial plan to unify its family of apps.
At the end of 2018, Instagram overhauled its leadership in the wake of the sudden departure of its two cofounders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger.
Part of that overhaul included the elevation of Vishal Shah, a longtime Facebook employee who previously ran Instagram’s business products, to the Head of Product role. Shah reports to Instagram boss Adam Mosseri, who in turn reports to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
A specific area of focus for Shah over the past couple of years has been shopping on Instagram. After letting brands originally just add product tags to their photos, Instagram took the plunge this week by opening up the ability to complete purchases inside the app.
Shah sees e-commerce on Instagram as potentially the next great revenue driver after advertising. And that’s no small statement: Some analyst projections estimate that if Instagram were to be spun out of its Facebook parent company, it would already be at least a $100 billion business.
“If you look at overall commerce, it’s a larger part of GDP (gross domestic product) than marketing is today,” Shah told Cheddar. “E-commerce is a smaller part of overall commerce and mobile is even smaller. So I think there’s a while before we can get to a place where it is as meaningful as our ads business today. But the reason we’re excited about the opportunity is I think the market is quite, quite large.”
On the heels of Instagram’s shopping announcement, Shah recently sat down for a wide-ranging interview with Cheddar’s Alex Heath and Michelle Castillo at Instagram’s New York City office. Discussed topics include the business opportunity Instagram sees in e-commerce, the state of IGTV, the departure of Instagram’s two cofounders, Facebook’s controversial plan to unify its messaging apps, Instagram’s approach to product development, and much more.