Photo sharing apps are dime a dozen with new ones being offered everyday. They are built on the premise that every photo taken and shared should have an audience, which is not often the case. In fact, we are being forced fed photos from our friends and relatives with few having any kind of appeal. Some entrepreneurs have taken the extra step in trying to first define a demand and then connect it with people willing to satisfy it. David Giles , with his app One Degree, is one of them. The premise of the app is simple: If someone in Chicago, for example, needs a photo of Times Square in New York taken now, he can just fire the app, find someone at that location and ask for pictures. Done. No need for laborious searches in some multi million photo stock database, no lengthy phone calls or endless email exchanges.
We recently caught up with founder and ceo David Giles to learn more:
What is the genesis for One Degree app ? What made you want to create it ?
For the past six years I have earned a living searching for the right stock photo or stock footage to complete video productions of all sizes. This is an impossible task. There is no answer to finding the right image or footage. Searching for the right content in stock libraries is about the same as a writer searching for the right word for a new novel by reading a Dictionary page by page. Thousands of images and petabytes of footage are returned for even the most elaborate inquiry.
Meanwhile, Photographers and Videographers, both Professional and Amateur, walk the surface of the Earth in an uneven distribution — yet somehow covering most of its surface — everyday. There were bound to be Photographers right where I needed them, when I needed them, but how was I ever going to find them?
I turned to the internet, but it was replying with analog answers to questions posed in a digital space. Fill in a form? Select a Photographer from a list? How? Contact by email or phone? Wait for a reply? So I did, and the replies came. Not available now. Not in that location anymore. Not shooting video anymore. Not shooting anymore. And when I did find someone available when, and close to where I wanted shots from, the back and forth about exactly what I needed seemed to go on forever.
So I decided to do something about it . . .
So who is your typical users on both sides ?
Right now the emphasis has been on adoption by Photographers (this can be anyone from a Pro with the best kit in the world to someone with a mobile phone that just loves taking photos with it). A typical user is a Photographer that is probably listed “somewhere” (their own site, an association site, a stock site etc.) and sees the benefit of having more exposure to potential clients. On the client side we are marketing, but only in a soft opening way until we build a version of One Degree for the desktop and tablets.
If One Degree is not involved in the payment for images, how do you plan to generate revenue ?
Once we achieve a critical mass of users on both sides of the equation, we will charge anyone who is earning revenue from it or buying images through it a tiny amount per month. I like the idea of $1 per month and if I can keep the operating costs low enough I will stick with this goal. WhatsApp was a huge influence on me and similarly I have never wanted to gamify or sell ads on an App that is a tool designed to assist others in earning a living. So it’s a numbers game when it will generate revenue.
How can you guarantee that images will not be stolen ?
I cannot guarantee this. In the transaction process I can urge Photographers to send low res proxies first, or watermarked images and then once paid send the full res ones.
In a related question, how do you guarantee that the image submitted is not stolen ?
Negotiation of ownership of content is strictly between Photographers and Clients. I suggest that parties know the copyright laws of both Countries involved in any transaction and conduct their business accordingly. If you are a Client you may need a signed contract from the Photographer that gives you exclusive ownership of the content you contracted to buy from them.
Why would anyone let strangers track their whereabouts ?
To get a gig based on their proximity. It is not real-time tracking and it is only to the nearest 500ft. Also – and importantly – One Degree has an OFF button. Don’t want to be tracked? Switch OFF and you will not show up on the map in search results. Imagine if it was this easy to disappear from your social media accounts.
You have an opt -in social aspect where users can answer the request for free, why is that ?
It’s a remnant from an earlier social project with the goal of “showing the world to the world”. I believe that giving back should start on the day a company launches, that our goal should not be just to earn revenue, but to use our platform, from the very first day, to help those that need to use it, but cannot afford it – students for example.
Is One Degree a competition for photo news wires like Associated Press or Getty?
Not at the moment, but perhaps one day it will be in a position to disrupt new bureaus and new gathering in general. If, for example, you become aware of an event that you need coverage of, and all you have to do is zoom to the location on a map, and with the push of a button ping all One Degree users in a defined area to go to a certain address and get all the images/footage they can, and automatically pay them all, wouldn’t that be a useful tool?
How big is the company today ? How many users, a day/month ?
We’re a startup. Under 1000 users.
What will be a sure sign, for you, of One Degree’s success?
When we can verify our first transaction between Photographer and Client. This is presently impossible, but with growth will come the ability to either run payment through our site or use other tools to measure these kind of metrics.
What would you like to offer your users that technology cannot yet deliver ?
Instantaneous delivery of RAW stills and uncompressed video between Photographer and Client.
One Degree is available for the Iphone only. Android coming soon.
Author: Paul Melcher
Paul Melcher is the founder of Kaptur and Managing Director of Melcher System, a consultancy for visual technology firms. He is an entrepreneur, advisor, and consultant with a rich background in visual tech, content licensing, business strategy, and technology with more than 20 years experience in developing world-renowned photo-based companies with already two successful exits.