Shayne Sweeney's Biggest Fear Realized: Instagram Is Now a Big Company

By Amanda Schwab , written on April 9, 2012

From The News Desk

Yes, I know we're all aware that Facebook acquired Instagram. But what you might not know is that the biggest fear of Instagram's lead iOS engineer Shayne Sweeney is to work for a large corporation.

In just eight years, Facebook has grown into a massive corporation with over 1,000 employees and is poised on one of the biggest IPOs the tech world has ever seen. A movie has been made about it. It has its own soda machines. That's pretty much the antithesis of a small company.

I recently interviewed Sweeney on our PandoList of Top iOs Magicians. As he sat amid a dozen or so co-workers -- the total staff of the company -- he told me his biggest concern would be to work for a big company that would suck the fun out of his job. He said:

"I really worry about being stuck in a company that is a nine to five corporate job, and my biggest fear is to start working on something that I'm not passionate about. If I had to choose what I’d do, I’d choose to work for Instagram. I fear what happens when we grow into a 'big boy company.'"
As luck would have it, we're at Facebook filming another interview for this week's list and just after I drafted this story, I ran into Sweeney -- and the rest of the Instagram team getting a tour. They didn't want to comment, but they definitely seemed a little shocked. And as you can imagine, a little giddy.

I'm sure Facebook knows it's getting a top notch engineer with Sweeney, and if Kevin Systrom can keep the team independent, working for a big company may not be as bad as he fears. 

Here's more about Sweeney's passion for coding and cartwheels. Programming isn't his only amazing skill.