Meet Text Event Pics: 5 Questions for Ron Ginn, Founder
Why digital privacy is the future of photo sharing.
1) What inspired you to start TEP?
Annie and I were getting married and I wanted to collect the guest photos, so we looked at putting disposable cameras out on the tables. However, Annie vetoed that idea pretty quick, because her sister used those and got a bunch of photos of the floor and you have to pay for all of those. We looked at Apps, but they take a lot of personal data, and it would be personal data of all the people closest to us, which made the idea even less tasteful.
So, I was doing the dishes one day and still wanting to collect the guest photos, when I thought, “Hey, why dont I just get a dedicated phone number and have everyone text photos to it?” This would work with her dad, who has a flip phone, but can text message; and it would work with my mom who is not going to download and learn some app. Then I mocked it up and other brides asked Annie to set it up for their weddings, so we figured to make a self-serve type of service.
2) Why is now the time for TEP to exist?
I see there is a growing and understandable demand for privacy in our digital lives. I dont think the companies like Facebook and Google are inhearntly doing bad things or acting with bad intentions when they collect and montitize our personal data. Those companies are stuck doing that because they make money selling advertising targeted using our personal data. This is a side effect of offering free services, somebody has to pay to keep the servivce running.
With TextEventPics we really could not offer a free service, because we have to pay for access to the Telecom Networks to make the service work. Since we already had to charge users ahead of time, I became more enthusiastic about not doing advertising, rather simply selling a service that respects user privacy and gives them control of their photos. In the end, we sell a service to enable users to collect and share event photos, that they own and control.
3) How can TEP be a game-changer for events?
We have all heard the stories about that photo that made it around social media resulting in someone losing a job, or at a minimum being embarrassed. By enabling photo sharing at an event with the event Host in control everyone can feel more safe sharing.
Texting is so easy everybody already knows how to do it, and because the slideshow can be displayed on any device with a browser setting up at the event location is easy. Since we do not have to come to the actual event site, because your guests are the photographers, we are able to provide photo sharing services that also fit within most event’s budget.
4) Who or what inspires you?
I really like not doing advertising, and instead respecting user privacy, and just giving them control and ownership of their photos. It seems scary to “give up on data sales” when running a digital business, but once that decision was made, then all I have to do is provide a service worth paying for.
There are some significant efforts in the blockchain space that are working towards providing the internet with tools to enable micro payments for digital content, like photos, music, movies… and social media content. The idea is that if users are willing to pay a fraction of a penny per second for a song then the musician does not need to have the work they produce influenced by what “gets the most hits”, aka ad revenue.
I think it is better to simply pay the artist for their work, and leave the advertisers out. This has the potential to remove a lot of click bait noise from our digital lives.. and could actually speed up the internet, because today the ads load first on a page, before the content loads on most websites.
5) Where do you see the future of tech?
The two biggest things I see going on in tech is the growing trend of decentralization that has sprung out of the blockchain space, and a growing trend in digital services giving users more control and privacy, rather than selling advertising. Regarding Decentralization, just a few years ago it would have been crazy to think of starting an “Uber owned and run by the Drivers”, but with new decentralized platforms it is now possible to enable the drivers to just split up the cost of running the Uber software amongst themselves. Regarding no-advertising, just a few years ago the idea of a photo sharing app, that is not actually an app, but was based on old school SMS texting, and would have to pay the Telecom Networks for access, and not be free to users was crazy, but here is TextEventPics.
I see a lot of very significant improvements coming to the tech world in general, the 2020s should put users back in the driver’s seat controlling their own data much more than is common today.