Why I’m Going to Work for Zooomr
Zooomr, experience the world through photos.
I love photography. More than anything else this is where I find my heart, mind, thoughts and time these days. When I was 15 years old my parents bought me my first 35mm camera. It was a Sigma and it rocked my world. Since then I’ve had several cameras but the love has only intensified for me.
A little over a year ago I stumbled on the most amazing thing to ever happen to my photography. Flickr. Flickr changed digital photography for me in ways I never dreamed possible. Flickr added a whole new dimension to what photography would become for me. Flickr too rocked my world. More precisely though, Flickr did two important things for me.
First, as a photographer Flickr created an instant community of other photographers. I still remember my first Flickr meetup. cate. beautiful cate had been commenting on my photographs and invited me to a get together at the Big Foot Lodge. I was thrilled. And that night was very special for me. That night I met Sam Bloomberg Rissman and Aqui-Ali and John Curley and Sugar Booger and a whole bunch of some of the best damn people you will ever meet *and* some of the best damn people who never tire of talking with you about ISOs and apertures and RAW and JPG and prime lenses vs. zoom lenses and flickr and so on. Since that flickr meet up a little over a year ago I’ve become better friends with many of those people and I’ve made quite a few more along the way. I truly value these friendships.
Second, Flickr gave me my first real audience and interactive experience for my photography. Sure, I had a blog before Flickr and people would leave comments on my blog and say things like, “great photo,” and “wow,” but these were few and far between and I never felt like I had a connection with these people. It has been said many times that Flickr is like crack. But what makes it like crack is this interaction your work has with the people that view it, fav it, comment on it, save it, etc. For every one real life photographer friend I was making at SFlickr, I was making another 10 online friends on Flickr. Many of these people periodically made their way through San Francisco and I even got to meet them face to face. The incorrigible Mr. Chalk (yes I know he’s been deleted again), Beebo Wallace, the lovely Elinesca, helveticaneue, the list could go on.
So flickr did a lot for me. It encouraged my photography, it inspired me, it created lasting friendships. And I am today really, really into it. I started a Flickr blog. I post virtually every day on Flickr. etc. I still love Flickr and will always love Flickr. But…
About two months ago Mike Arrington wrote a blog post about a “Flickr on Steroids”. This, as you would imagine, greatly peaked my interest. After Mike’s post I took a look at Zooomr myself. And I really really liked the potential.
Since then and over the course of the past few months I’ve gotten to know Kristopher Tate, Zooomr’s founder and only employee, a bit better. Kris Tate is this ambitious 18 year old software genius.
Where Flickr has matured and emerged as the coolest photo toy on the planet, they also have had to deal with the inevitable scale issues that come with popularity. Feature improvements have slowed (as would be expected) and perhaps wisely so they must provide a great deal more thought as to how any new feature might impact a much larger audience than it might have a mere year ago.
And wile some might label Zooomr a mere flickr clone, Zooomr has nonetheless been busy building a whole host of features that Flickr does not have today. Photo trackbacks (to answer that perpetual question, “why is my photo getting 500 views?”), audio annotation, rich map integration and geotagging. And it’s only getting better from there. Wait until you see what they have in store for the future.
I’m an analytics guy. I love stats. I want to slice and dice any bit of data I can get my hands on. I want to see the 200 most popular photos on Zooomr. I want to see all photos that are not popular but have high ratings (undiscovered talent). I want to know where the traffic is coming to my photostream from, when and why. And Zooomr is building these tools too.
These things are super exciting to me — and although I’m sure that Zooomr will in time face the same kind of scale issues that Flickr does today Kris is rolling out the most amazing fun toys for the photosharing enthusiast.
Zooomr is not where it needs to be today, don’t judge the service by what’s up there now. Wait until early next month to try the 2.0 upgrade. There is a lot of work that still needs to be done. Kris needs to finish the API. A bulk uploader is just about ready. Better and better and richer and richer search. A few other finishing touches need to be in place — but they are almost there. And when early next month Zooomr launches their version 2.0 I think and hope that it will also rock your world.
This decision to join Zooomr, by the way, is in no way meant to imply that Flickr is not great. On the contrary. I spent a bit of time last night talking on the phone with Stewart Butterfield from Flickr about my decision to join Zooomr. How it represents for me personally a unique opportunity to jump into the tech startup world hands on. How working with Kris will give me an opportunity to influence many more of the great features that I feel ought to be developed from a photogeek perspective. Why I felt it an exciting opportunity and one I ought to pursue.
Personally for me though Zooomr is additive to the great photo sharing site that is flickr. I plan to continue being very active at flickr even as I grow my images and (hopefully) convince a lot of you why Zooomr is something you might want to check out as well.