Home > smugmug > Job Opening: Social Sorcerer

Job Opening: Social Sorcerer

September 16, 2008

UPDATE: This particular position has been filled, but we have plenty more open, especially for front-end JavaScript wizards. Contact us!

How would you like to be the 8th Sorcerer here at SmugMug?  (We don’t hire engineers, programmers, or even coders – we only hire Sorcerers.  If you can’t work magic, I’m sure our competitors would love to see your resume…)

At SmugMug, everything we build is a direct result of customer feedback. We do very little, if any, competitive research – our customers keep us plenty busy. As a result, we’ve largely ignored social networking, especially outside of SmugMug. It just hasn’t been something our customers have asked for.

That’s changing. I’ve started getting tweets, blog comments, and forum posts about our “broken Facebook app”. Problem is, we don’t have a Facebook app. 😦

The good news is we listen. So we’re ready to take the plunge. The geek in me has *always* wanted to dive into this stuff (and I’m the one who built and/or pushed us to build the building blocks we already have: an open API, Atom/RSS feeds, OpenID support, OAuth support, etc), so I’m thrilled we finally have the “ok” from my boss – our customers. 🙂

So if you’re high on social networking, particularly sharing photos anywhere and everywhere, we’d love to have you come work your magic. The job is extremely open-ended: You’d create our strategy, build our apps on other platforms, interact with our API developers who’ve already built some, and generally make it even easier for our customers to share their photos outside SmugMug. You’ll have to get your hands dirty – you’ll be writing the software (with the help of the other Sorcerers as needed), so managers and architects who no longer dirty their hands need not apply.

If that sounds like fun, we’re the best company to work for you’ve ever heard of (ok, this list sounds unbelievable, but I swear it’s all true):

  • We’re all super heroes.
  • We’re a privately held, profitable-for-years, fast-growing company (100%+ year-on-year for multiple years)
  • Fun projects. You choose what to work on rather than being assigned some fluff job. (I know, I know, unheard of – but I swear it’s true).
  • Small team. Your projects are your projects, not some multi-layer management effort doomed to fail.
  • Fast paced. Any week where we don’t do at least one software release is rare.
  • Large scale. Top 500 site. 350M+ photos, 800TB+ storage, 300M page views/month. Fun problems to solve 🙂
  • Big impact. Hundreds of thousands of paying customers and 6.5M+ visitors a month will use your work.
  • Family friendly. Full healthcare coverage, kids welcome for company meals and events. (Ex: We’re taking the whole company to Tahoe to ski & relax, including spouses and kids).
  • Distributed. Nearly 75% of our employees aren’t in Silicon Valley – they’re scattered all over the world, from Australia to Europe and a dozen US states.
  • Crazy benefits. We pay better salaries than the giants in Silicon Valley plus “early” stock options, profit sharing bonuses, matching 401k, 100% healthcare coverage for you and your family, gym memberships, iPhone 3G + minutes & data, 3G data cards, cable/DSL at home. Free drinks, free meals while working (new private chef too!). And more.
  • Great office. Walking distance to downtown Mountain View, across the street from train & lightrail, near Highway 85. 7.1 channel home theater, dual 30″ displays + Mac Pro + MacBook Pro/Air, jaw-dropping photography on the walls (and an in-house studio to shoot your own). Healthy cube/office decoration budget. (Ok, this is getting really fun to write 🙂 )

Whew!  (Yes, I think our employees are our most valuable asset.  Can you tell?)

So, do you have what it takes? At the very least, you’ll need:

  • A passion for open data.
  • An understanding of how important privacy controls are.
  • Experience with web services, especially REST. SOAP and XML-RPC fans, this isn’t the place for you (but knowledge of black magic ain’t bad – just don’t practice it here!).
  • Modern scripting language experience (PHP, Python, Ruby). We use PHP (and so will you!).
  • History building apps (big or small) for platforms like Facebook, OpenSocial, etc.
  • Understanding of current and upcoming social networking technologies: OpenID, OAuth, microformats, etc
  • Experience with the SmugMug API a big plus.
If this sounds like your brand of magic, please contact us and let us know you’re our next Sorcerer.   If not, please tell your magic-working friends that the opportunity of a lifetime is right here… 🙂

UPDATE: This particular position has been filled, but we have plenty more open, especially for front-end JavaScript wizards. Contact us!

  1. Jeff Tatanus
    September 16, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    I love how you make working for your company so magical – even with the job titles!

    – Jeff, a Disney Cast Member who loves the photo you selected for this post.

  2. September 16, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    As a client of SmugMug for many years it really pleases me to see this kind of an advertisement!!!!!

  3. September 17, 2008 at 8:00 am

    I hate to rain on the parade, but you state:

    At SmugMug, everything we build is a direct result of customer feedback.

    I’ve had a number of email discussions with your staff about respecting IPTC fields in the image when uploading, as well as respecting the case-sensitivity of the keywords/phrases that are imported.

    As it stands right now, your heuristic (which is proprietary and your own, not standards-based, as I have pointed out in previous emails) might work for a good number of people (SmugMug subscribers and not), but for those that are very meticulous about the metadata in their images (using applications like Photoshop and Bridge), it’s absolutely horrid.

    Support for XMP would be appreciated as well, but the above issue is the more important one, IMO.

  4. September 17, 2008 at 9:59 am

    @Nicholas Paldino:

    Oh come on. 🙂

    Just because everything we build is a result of customer feedback doesn’t mean we build every single thing our customers ask us to build. If we did that, we’d be shipping cameras and lenses and laptops and GPS units and a Photoshop killer and web mail and a blogging platform and….

    AFAIK, we do a very good job with the importing and indexing of IPTC keywords. There’s always room for improvement, but I’m not aware of any high-priority bug fixes waiting around IPTC stuff. If I’m missing something, let me know and I’ll certainly take a look. At the very least, we don’t have many customers making much noise about it, which means it’s not on high on our radar. Clearly it’s important to you, so thanks for making some noise – now give me some details. 🙂

    We have some XMP support, actually, and we’re adding more (again) as customers ask for it. It’s just not something we hear about often (which, honestly, surprises me – I think XMP is great for our industry – but our customers just aren’t asking for it often or loudly).

  5. September 17, 2008 at 10:21 am

    If I wasn’t already at a similarly cool company… 🙂

  6. September 17, 2008 at 10:31 am

    @Jeremy Zawodny:

    Craigslist *is* awesome. Probably the most similar company in the Valley I can think of, actually. 🙂

  7. September 17, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    how much time would this job take away from my dirtbike 🙂

    wish I had so more muscle in the social networking arena 😦

    love your guys job perks! love hearing about a great company doing good to their employees!

  8. September 17, 2008 at 9:25 pm


    I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I love SmugMug for everything about my photo storage ^except^ when it comes to IPTC tags. You guys are great otherwise.

    Of course, I only make the statement because, well, you did ask for it. I’ve made a number of requests (“customer feedback”) in regards to the way that SmugMug handles embeded IPTC data. Nothing has come about yet, so I had to chime in =)

    As for XMP support, I’ve mentioned it, and asked for it as well in the same threads.

    Of course, I’m one guy, but you DO have a customer (http://casperone.smugmug.com) who is asking for these things (I use Bridge extensively, and this would be a great boon for me).

    I’d love to have a dialog with you about what I perceive to be holes in IPTC support (namely, the desire to just have SmugMug stay out of the way when it comes to IPTC and import it as-is). There are a number of emails that I have had with your staff regarding this, and I’d love to share some of it with you.

    Feel free to contact me through the email that I am registered on the site with, which is the same email address that I’ve been using in the comment section here.

    Thanks in advance.

    – Nick

  9. September 19, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Pay me for a week to design and impliment a “photo social” website for you. After that, if you are happy, hire me, if not, then we both go our own ways.

    I might add that it won’t look like anything you can imagine. You would have done it if you could.

  10. September 20, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    Hey Don!

    You might want to look into using my company (http://www.widgetbox.com) as a way to distribute your content on Social Networking sites.

    To see an example of what a Flickr widget looks like, check this out: http://www.widgetbox.com/widget/flickr-slideshow

    We’ve got a “Hack Day” coming up, so I might be able to work on it myself as well, but I thought you would like to know of the possiblity.

  11. Mac
    September 22, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    interesting… Is being in Cali a requirement for this job?

  12. Darryl
    September 22, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    @Nicholas Paldino: your first comment made it sound like SmugMug was changing IPTC metadata in the original images, which I know they don’t do. On a second read, I realize you’re complaining about something in the upload process and how SmugMug converts Captions/Keywords for use in their system. I’m very interested in what complaints you have, and I’m sure other users would be interested in well. Could you start a thread on Dgrin.com (maybe filed under SmugMug Support) so that we could take a look?

  13. September 24, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Really tempting. Years of experience dealing with remote XML feeds (SOAP/REST/XML-RPC), social websites (Chatbear) and dealing with lots of customers in a fast paced development environment. But I’m a Perl sorcerer, which probably puts me out of the running.

  14. japlarpeesedo
    March 7, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    продам Форд-Фокус 2008 года за 200 тр. торг возможет. срочно!!!
    +7 960 200 9209

  15. November 14, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Canon FTL. I'll never buy another one of their camera's. This seals it. Peace.

  1. September 17, 2008 at 3:51 pm
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