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Instagram’s head of design on how to build a design team and shipping Stories


Ian Spalter is the head of design at Instagram. In our 17th episode, he talks about his experiences working with agencies vs. startups, how to build a design team as a company matures, and how a company the size of Instagram manages to iterate so quickly.

There is no right answer for everyone. There are differences between agency and startup design work, and Spalter says it’s up to where you are in your design career to figure out which one works best. He says agencies have strengths in offering a larger variety of work, whereas startups and companies offer depth on one thing. Spalter shares the pros and cons of each, explaining along the way how to evaluate which one might be a better fit for you.

Scaling an operation as large as Instagram is no easy task. Spalter says “you can never underestimate your planning and prioritization process” when it comes to moving forward. He also hits on the topic of Instagram’s controversial “Stories” feature and shares how it came as a result of Instagram’s underlying principles.

Jared Erondu and Bobby Ghoshal are the hosts of High Resolution. This post and episode notes were put together by freelance writer, Gannon Burgett. Watch for High Resolution episodes to drop every Monday on TechCrunch at 8 a.m. PT. You can also listen on iTunes and Overcast.



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