Chris Insytes on digital photos

I was just going to write about wanting to do a VisionQuest 2.0 in preparation for what lies ahead (though there is not time unfortunately, so I will spend some time ‘going within’ instead). Naturally, I figured I would link to some photos of the Rites of Passage VisionQuest I did at the end of 2001. At the time, Yahoo was really the only easy to use choice for photo sharing that I knew about, so I put them there along with some others. So when I went to grab the URL for the VisionQuest Photos I rediscoverd all of these other photo sets I had there from days gone by. So now my photos are everywhere – on Flickr, on Yahoo photos, on my own PHPGallery site and even on Shutterfly.

I realize I can merge my Flickr and Yahoo accounts, but that will screw up other services I have since I use a Mac – and it will likely mean that I would have to use my Yahoo login instead of my Flickr login. But then again, it always seems that my iPhoto Flickr Export just drags on and on forever so I have a challenge using it as it is – is there some trick to this to optimize the performance? Even if iPhoto Flickr export worked for me properly, I have another problem – before my wonderful girlfriend Kristie (who just launched her own Blog after getting inspired last week) bought me an iMac G5 for my birthday, I lost a lot of my photos when I upgraded my iBook to Tiger and the backup copy I made onto an external hard drive was corrupted (Maxtor firewire problem it seems)

So now my photo collection is just a complete mess – almost as bad as my MP3 collection – with multiple copies everywhere, recent favorites missing etc… I won’t even get into all of the photos I have stored in the garage that I would like to get scanned (literally thousands, all the way back to my grandparents baby photos)

As I see it, iPhoto to Flickr is really the best option for managing and sharing photos – but this alone is not enough. You still need a good backup plan running on a regular schedule and you need to consider each photo for its tags and then assemble your albums. Simply put, there is only so much automation you can have – and even less of it for free since this is a complex problem.

I could see where one day we could just have the photo go from the camera to the site wirelessly with a date tag, the GPS in the camera identifies the location, which correlates it to any known events, Ojos automatically tags the photos with the names of the people in it and all you need to do is decide who gets to see it and if there are any witty things you want to say about it. (this just reminded me of seeing a speech by Phillipe Kahn at Interent Everywhere back in 2000 where he talked about his ideas for LightSurf)

So we need a beter way to import photos to Flickr now from all these other places (I heard a rumor that one might be coming for PHPGallery to Flickr) – hopefully more open source developers will find a way to have conversations with average users like me to understand what they could be building that would be really, really useful. We also need for Flickr (or someone) to enable the entire value chain around the digital photography space.

Using “The Communications Strategy” framework on this problem would produce a service that looks like this:

  • Educational materials on “so you want to take digtital photos” – a primer for those who want to know what the fuss is about and then a getting started guide
  • Links to camera review sites, tied together with user opinions on the reviews and their own views on the cameras being reviewed
  • Enable the camera purcahse transaction
  • Educate people in how to use the camera model
  • Educate people in how to use a camera (manual vs point and shoot)
  • Explain the scenarios and usage of photo sharing better
  • Import photos from everywhere possible
  • Photo scanning (do it or enable the economy around it)
  • More user stories of how the power of tagging and ad-hoc groups can be used in cool ways to create communities
  • Provide stronger group functionality (my grandfather need not see those photos of our trip to Couples Resort in Jamaica)
  • Tips for photo editing / design for advanced users
  • Printing
  • Guaranteed backups
  • Licensing of photos via stock agency so that photographs uploaded into the system can be sold – this includes a Creative Commons license that would let designers search for Royalty-free photographs
  • More local user groups for people to get together
  • Community systems for knowledge sharing and passion sharing (ie interests) – perhaps rather than build these, stronger interfaces for integrating with existing communities can be built. Most people dont understand the concept of a Flickr Badge yet
  • A place where the “I Hate Flickr” people can rant so that an understanding can be built of the most commonly experienced problems, which can then be corrected
  • Don’t become an evil monopoly – maintain open standards, enable a solutions economy to flourish that provides opportunity to innovators and other service providers – essentially, don’t do everything, but facilitate everything and become the trusted source

So, this is totally not what I was supposed to be working on, but since I did, now you can get a sense of what I have been thinking about the last few years with regards to The Communications Strategy (aka The Customer Strategy, Customer Knowledge Management, Customer Experience Lifecycle and too many other silly names over the years to count). As Patricia Seybold said in Business 2.0:

If manufacturers want to own the customers’ branded experience with their products, they need to take responsibility for disseminating all of the product-related information the customer needs to buy and enjoy the product…”

Final Note on a separate rant: I was going to link to Business 2.0’s article from which I pulled this quote many years ago, but besides being an impossibly slow site and hard to find with basic text search, I had to join to see the full length article in order to see if it was the right one, so no link to Business 2.0 (or any other media that puts up such barriers to our conversations).

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