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Archive for July, 2005

We're raising prices

July 25, 2005 4 comments

This was pre-announced a few months ago, but it’s finally happening sometime this week (Thursday night? Friday?) if we get everything tested in time.

Here’s the deal, short and sweet:

  • Standard accounts are going from $29.95 to $39.95
  • Power Users are going from $49.95 to $59.95
  • Pros are going from $99.95 to $149.95
  • If you already have an account, or sign up before these changes go into effect, you WILL be grandfathered for as long as we possibly can. (Years, at the very least). So if you were planning on signing up, or upgrading your existing account, now is the time to do it. You’ll “lock in” current prices in on your account for years, rather than having to pay the new prices.

    Just to be very clear here, we’re not doing this because our company is in trouble. smugmug is profitable, growing rapidly, and has no debt or outside investment. It’s solely owned by the employees, and we’re all thrilled with how it’s going.

    Instead, we’re doing it because there are some new things coming, such as partnerships, which necessitate a slight rise in prices. We don’t anticipate raising prices again for years, until something like inflation catches up with us.

    Categories: smugmug

    Lawmakers Hate Kids

    July 24, 2005 2 comments

    In a CNN article about the new changes to Daylight Savings Time, Rep Fred Upton, R-Michigan had something stupid to say: “Kids across the nation will soon rejoice,” said Upton, because they’ll have another hour of daylight trick-or-treating.

    Maybe I live in fantasy land, but I lived in lots of different cities and states as a kid, and I can’t recall a single kid going out trick-or-treating before dusk. We wanted to, sure, but we always had to wait. It’s Halloween, for heaven’s sake!

    So, now, instead of trick-or-treating from 7pm to bedtime (9pm?), kids will only get to trick-or-treat from 8pm to bedtime (probably the same 9pm). How idiotic.

    If you asked any kid across the nation, they wouldn’t be “rejoicing” about this. On behalf of all stupid adults everywhere, I sincerely apologize. It’s not my fault, I swear.

    Categories: personal

    What Would You Do: Grocery Stores

    July 19, 2005 13 comments

    Every time I hear about a product or company having a potential problem, or facing a coming challenge, I try to think about what I’d do about it.

    This time, it’s grocery stores. Apparently, the handle on a shopping cart at your local grocery store contains 10X more harmful bacteria than anything else you come in contact with on a regular basis. Yuck! Is this a problem facing grocery stores in the future? I happen to think it’s an opportunity, and here’s what I’d do:

  • Highlight the problem. Next to the carts, in the store, during checkout, I’d have posters/flyers/whatever blaring the problem at customers. Why? To sensationalize the issue and damage the competition.
  • Solve the problem. Have a self-serve Purell alcohol dispenser at the shopping cart pickup area.
  • Profit from the problem. Sell Purell and other disinfecting agents and tools in checkout, right next to signs explaining the problem and what Your Store is doing about it.
  • Anyway, What Would You Do is a fun game to play. Anyone else got any fun problems and solutions? HP already used my favorite solution: get rid of Carly! đŸ™‚

    Categories: personal

    A picture is worth a 1000 words

    July 14, 2005 4 comments

    See for yourself

    Categories: personal

    Mac OS X Tiger – problem city?

    July 9, 2005 6 comments

    We’re pretty OS agnostic at smugmug, and we like it that way. We have customers that use every operating system, so I think it’s wise that smugmug’s employees do the same. So everyone has Windows desktops, Mac OS X laptops, and Linux boxes abound.

    I’m the only one who hasn’t upgraded to Tiger (Mac OS X 10.4), though, I think. Everyone else at smugmug jumped at the opportunity and quickly installed. Soon, I heard howls. Turns out that 10.4.0 was quite buggy. (We kept a box or two on Panther for testing, but everyone’s primary laptops were upgraded by their respective owners). Lucky me for not upgrading. đŸ™‚

    After 10.4.1 came out, the howls went away. Apparently not for everyone, though, as Jeremy Zawodny is having big problems of his own.

    I’m dying to upgrade, beacause the geek in me can’t help it, but it sounds like it’s still not worth the hassle. I’ve been telling people for years that Mac OS X is the best OS on the planet, but maybe it’s backsliding a little? Anyone else still having major problems?

    Categories: smugmug

    Look Ma, no clicks!

    July 7, 2005 2 comments

    Stumbled across a neat interactive demo today. Normally, I hate Flash cuz it breaks all sorts of web navigation rules, but it proved to be interesting for demonstrating the idea that you can do all sorts of things without clicking.

    My favorite? Explore -> Button Lab -> Timer.

    Categories: webtoys

    Vendor lock-in sucks: Making it easy to leave smugmug

    July 6, 2005 10 comments

    Most people these days “get” photo sharing, particularly people doing the whole internet thing here in the Valley. They nod their heads politely while I describe all the neat features we have at smugmug. Some aren’t unique, some are. But the thing that always stops them in their tracks is the fact that we make it easy to leave smugmug by exposing a rich API, offering CD/DVD backups of your photos, and the like.

    “What?!” they exclaim, “If you don’t achieve lock-in, your customers will leave as soon as there’s something better!”.

    “Yes,” I explain, “that’s sorta the whole point.”

    And it is. We call smugmug the ultimate in photo sharing, and I’m quite confident that we are. But if we don’t have to work at keeping it great, we’ll soon fall behind and cease to be great. Success can kill your company, my father always says, and I agree.

    If, on the other hand, falling behind means that it’s easy for people to stop using our service, it will keep us on our toes. Our customers won’t get pissed at us because we’ve started to suck – they’ll just leave. And that hits us where it counts.

    So we’ve made it easy to leave, and we’ll continue to make it even easier. It’s our way of saying that we’re committed to being the ultimate in photo sharing for a long long time – and if we aren’t, kiss us goodbye.

    Categories: smugmug
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