It took hot photo-sharing startup Instagram just three months to reach its first million users, and a little more than a month after that to post its second million. Instagram is a photo sharing application for the iPhone. It allows you to quickly take pictures, apply a filter, and share it on the service or with a number of other services. Instagram pulled in $7 million during its first major round of funding.

Here are the things you should copy from Instagram. Kevin Systrom, Co-founder/CEO of Instagram shared these lessons in various interviews.

  1. Validate your idea quickly by putting it with real users. Your goal is to learn what people like and don’t like about the product and make adjustments quickly.
  2. Validate that you have a market, validate that your market loves your product, and make sure that your product solves real problems for that group.
  3. Products can introduce more complexity over time, but as far as launching and introducing a new product in to the market, it’s a marketing problem
  4. You have to explain everything you do, and people have to understand it, within seconds
  5. When you’re introducing a mobile app, you look around and say, we could be doing 15 different things, but how do we communicate to someone why they would want to download and even sign up for this thing?
  6. In the mobile context, you need to explain what you do in 30 seconds or less because people move on to the next shiny object.
  7. We did too much on purpose. We were trying to figure out what got people amped.
  8. Instagram super clear value proposition helped sky rocket the app to many, many downloads
  9.  The best products in the world start out as features.
  10. Often features solve a specific problem.
  11. If you can solve a problem better than anyone else, you have the start of something that can continue to evolve.
  12. Anyone can build filters, anyone can build a photo-sharing app. The hard part is the community.” That community of users is now posting 4 photos every second.
  13. I’m not sure it matters where you start, as long as you’re focused and you’ve got a passion for the platform.
  14. Getting to other platforms is a no-brainer going forward, it’s merely a question of when.
  15. sure the product had the makings of something viral; that you could share and distribute your content across many different platforms. I think this aspect alone had a large part to do with our initial growth.
  16. What would you do differently in regards to launching and marketing the product? We would have started the product on Amazon EC2.

Update: Instagram has been acquired by Facebook for $1 billion in cash and stock.