Ryan Olson

Ryan Olson

Software Builder in Aspen, Colorado


I enjoy dreaming about new product ideas and bringing them to life in mobile apps. My focus for the past few years has been on building new sharing spaces including the initial versions of Instagram Stories, IGTV, and Collabs. I am currently building Retro, a friends-only photo journal for moments big and small. I strive to straddle the border between engineering, design, and product. I am most proud of bringing several innovative ideas to the stories format including hold to pause, backwards navigation, and GIF stickers. Later in my time at Instagram, I started and led a group called Instagram Labs to focus on experimental new product development. I also enjoy building open source tools for the iOS developer community. My in-app debugging tool, FLEX, has become one of the most popular iOS projects on GitHub.

Work Experience

2022 — Now
2015 — 2022
Engineer & Director of Engineering at Instagram

iOS Lead on Instagram Stories, Direct App, and IGTV. Founded Instagram Labs in 2019 to better support innovation and new products at the company.

2012 — 2015
iOS Engineer at Flipboard



Product Manager. Allowing creators to expand their reach by sharing together.


Engineering Lead. Curated recommendations leveraging the rich visual content of Instagram.


Engineering Lead. 3 week project at the beginning of covid to support those most in need.


iOS Lead. Our shot at making vertical video a thing.


My hackathon project to integrate GIPHY in stories.


Engineering Lead.


iOS Lead. Creator of the hold to pause interaction.


Sole iOS engineer on the interface and icon overhaul.

Side Projects


FLEX is a set of in-app debugging and exploration tools for iOS development. It is the most popular open source iOS debugging tool with over 13K stars on GitHub. I authored this as a side project in 2014 and have continued to evolve it through several major feature additions. FLEX now has an active community of contributors that manage the pull requests, issue reports, and new development.



US11558211B1 - Collaborative Posts
US20210359969A1 - Social network collections
US11182613B2 - Systems and methods for occluding images and videos subject to augmented-reality effects
US11144099B1 - Systems and methods for providing content
US10929979B1 - Systems and methods for processing content

US National Bouldering Team

Three time member (2008, 2010, 2011) competing in several IFSC World Cups