I was recently quoted as saying, I don’t care if Instagram has more users than Twitter. If you read the article you’ll note there’s a big “if” before my not giving of said thing.
Of course, I am trivializing what Instagram is to many people. It’s a beautifully executed app that enables the creation and enjoyment of art, as well as human connection, which is often a good thing. But my rant had very little to do with it (or with Twitter). My rant was the result of increasing frustration with the one-dimensionality that those who report on, invest in, and build consumer Internet services talk about success.

Numbers are important. Number of users is important. So are lots of other things. Different services create value in different ways. Trust your gut as much (or more) than the numbers. Figure out what matters and build something good.


Joseph Robertson

Joseph is Executive Director of Citizens' Climate International. He is the lead strategist supporting the Acceleration Dialogues (diplomatic climate-solutions roundtables) and Resilience Intel—an effort to move the world to 100% climate-smart finance. Joseph represents Citizens’ Climate in the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, the UNFCCC negotiations, and other UN processes, and is founder of Geoversiv. His articles appear from time to time in the Guardian. He served as Interim Director for the Food System Economics Commission from April through November 2020, and is a senior advisor to EAT for sustainable finance. He is a lead contributor to the Earth Intelligence podcast.

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