Gary Pageau of the Dead Pixels Society talks with Daniel Agee, head of community and marketing for year-old photography startup, Glass. Agee discusses the company's drive to create a company based on photography, not algorithms or data mining. A subscription-based service, Glass began as an iOS-only app but recently announced a web version.
In this wide-ranging discussion, Agee describes the challenges and opportunities of building a community-based photography service.
For a limited time, Dead Pixels Society listeners can subscribe to their first year of Glass for $20 by going to http://glass.photo/offer/deadpixels.
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Erin Manning 0:00
The Dead Pixels Society podcast is brought to you by Mediaclip, Advertek Printing and Independent Photo Imagers. Welcome to the Dead Pixels Society podcast, the photo imaging industry's leading news source. Here's your host, Gary Pageau.
Gary Pageau 0:20
Hello again, and welcome to the dead pixels society podcast. I'm your host, Gary Pageau. And today we're joined by Daniel Agee, the Head of Community and Marketing for a new company called Glass. Hi, Daniel, how are you today?
Daniel Agee 0:35
I am doing so well. How are you?
Gary Pageau 0:38
Good. Now for the folks who aren't aware of glass. You've been around for a while. But you've got a big announcement coming up this week. But before we get into that announcement, tell us a little bit about who glass is, and how you got to where you are today.
Daniel Agee 0:53
Yep. So glass officially launched a year ago, this week. So in a couple of days, we have our one year anniversary. We started out as a iOS only photo sharing platform, you the our big difference is that you pay a small monthly fee and we give you zero ads, zero algorithms, you just get to have a nice time with other photographers wholly focused on photography and photos, no videos, no full screen ads, just great photos. So that's our that's our tweet pitch is your photos deserve a home on the internet that doesn't actively hate you.
Gary Pageau 1:30
So you're a pretty small company. Tell me about like the founders in yourself how you got started, how you met and how you decided that? You know, you're going to try and get people to pay for something that otherwise they get for free everyone else while they're being monetized?
Daniel Agee 1:43
Yeah, exactly. I mean, if you're if you're not paying for your product, you are the product. Right? You know, like we serve Instagram. Instagram doesn't serve us. So my co founders are Stefan and Tom. Tom. Watson was an early designer at Facebook and Pinterest. He was, you know, like, first dozen designers at Facebook. And so he saw firsthand what happens when you build a company, solely for advertisers and for your investors as opposed to for the users. And he started to get really tired of that and wanted to build something specifically for the members of your platform. And they met at framer, which is a design platform company. They were Stephane was the main one of the main engineers at framer, they met they've been talking about this idea for a long time. It was finally time to do it about three years ago. So they started working on glass regularly at the end of 2019. And we launched last August, on August 12. Tom and I met when we were both living in Portland, Oregon, almost a decade ago. He had just left Facebook and moved back to Portland. And we were at a tech meetup. And I was arguing it was right. It was the day that swarm and Foursquare became separate apps. So Foursquare announced that Hello, this is now your check ins are over here. And we're gonna kill our company. Exactly. And I remember being like really, really angry about that, because I loved it. Right. I love checking in I you know, I was a Gowalla user, but like, I really love that social aspect of it. And so I had really strong opinions about it. And this new friend in the group was just there arguing with me the whole time about like, all the businesses and stuff and I was like, I don't Wow, yeah. And we were like, just like, I was getting like really frustrated, but because he was like, doing really well, right. And I was like, anyway, so tell me about yourself. Let's stop talking about this dumb thing. After like arguing with him for an hour about location. He was like, Well, I just, I just left Facebook, where I was one of the lead designers on their location product. And I was one of the people that helped acquire Gowalla. And I was wondering, I was like, Oh, so you have like all data backing up your arguments great. We're like best friends immediately. And shortly after that, we went to lunch solo, and I told him about a failed art magazine idea I had, and he told me about this idea for what became glass. So Tom had been like noodling on this idea for almost a decade by the time that we actually started building glass. And then it was a, you know, glasses entirely self funded. We don't have investors, we don't have advertisers. Because if we had those things, we would have to build the product for investors as opposed to for our community members. But because of that, it also meant our development timeline to launch was a lot longer than a lot of startups because we didn't raise $5 million, you know, go to the moon and then disappear a year later, right. So
Gary Pageau 4:48
you didn't know he'd have a quick burn rate because you didn't have anything to burn.
Daniel Agee 4:52
Exactly. So it was a nights and weekends project for almost two years. We launched August, August 10. Last year, I knew it was coming. Right. So I got my start on the internet and in my career as a photographer and a studio manager for portrait studio outside of Washington, DC, right, like weddings and family portraits, and like our big bread and butter was like senior portraits, right? So like I've done all of, you know, like, cut my teeth in photography,
Gary Pageau 5:21
do you want to share that, as they probably are a listener?
Daniel Agee 5:23
I do not. We grew a successful business. And then they retired to a beach somewhere. And I started marketing for startups. And so I, you know, like really fell in love with photography online in the early Flickr days when there was a community that right,
Gary Pageau 5:41
get a Flickr vibe from you guys. Actually. I mean, that's kind of interesting, because there are aid services like this, like Flickr out there. So I'm just kind of curious that you were kind of inspired by Flickr. So what's the worst? Well,
Daniel Agee 5:55
I mean, like, I, I love SmugMug. I love that SmugMug bought Flickr and kept it alive. But you know, like, we can also speak honestly, the vibe in the community that was there for early Flickr and 2004 and 2005 2006, etc, is not there anymore, right, like, 2009 flickers never coming back. And, you know, like, what was exciting was the community and the groups that existed in those don't exist anymore, right? Like, to the same level that was inspiring, and, you know, create a passion in people. And so, you know, we were looking at the market and we wanted, we wanted to create a home for photographers where they were the focus, as opposed to the first adopters who we would build our company on their backs, and then pick it away from them, because we need a larger audience. Right, you know, like, we think photographers are a wonderful audience to build a business with and for
Gary Pageau 6:53
now, now, no, but when you say, photographers you're talking about I mean, I don't have to tell you, there's all kinds, right, there are those who are doing it as a hobby, those are those who are doing it in prison, you know, kind of as a side hustle or a gig, those who are, you know, making a career out of it. And they may be wanting to be a, you know, an influencer or something like that. So workshops and make appearances at WPI are one. I mean, they go they go from the ground up right from the moms with a camera on up. So the question is, is who is your early customers? Who are those folks?
Daniel Agee 7:26
So our our current customer base, for the first few months, were just, you know, early tech adopters who were excited about any platform that will sign up for anything, right? Like, that's, that's always your first. You know, I'm one of those people I thing, like, I mean,
Gary Pageau 7:41
how many dead accounts do you have some ever everywhere?
Daniel Agee 7:43
Right, then not that many, we're doing pretty great.
Gary Pageau 7:46
I don't know. I mean, dead accounts from things you've signed up for that have died?
Daniel Agee 7:49
Me personally, so many, right? It is it is endless. And so like, one of the you know, like, the debt account thing is one of the things that we're trying to, like solve for with glass is that, like, it's really not to us that photographers have to just go from service to service to service to service. I was talking about this the other day with Tom about how like, 2012 internet isn't coming back. And that's a good thing. And that's, you know, like, we shouldn't be scared of that. Right? The the cries for Instagram to return to photos only and like, give me my chronological feedback and give me you know, like, it's not going to happen.
Gary Pageau 8:24
I mean, if running a topical here, I mean, that's the backlash again, Instagram is very topical right now. right opportunity for you. Good timing, Instagram,
Daniel Agee 8:34
it is it is a wonderful business opportunity for us. And we are meeting that opportunity very well. It's, it's a very exciting time to join glass, you should join glass, there's a coupon code in the comments or in the show notes, go, you know, get your first year for 20 bucks. I remember I posted on medium a lot back in 2012 2013 2014, that sort of thing. And you used to be able to post a single story on medium with like 1000 Twitter followers and get 50 to 100,000 views on medium instantly, right used to be able to take Uber for five bucks to go across town, as opposed to $20 to go down the street. So there was like this version of the internet that was entirely venture capital funded, right? Where they gave us a bunch of the you know, they burned billions of capital. And we and they gave us a bunch of attention and now it's time for them to earn that back. Right. And so like how they earn that back is selling ads on videos and like or for Ubers case you know, it's like jacking up the prices or for mediums cases it's being eaten I have no idea how mediums earning that money back they're not right like well, but
Gary Pageau 9:46
but but the interesting thing is I think it's backfired on them to some extent the people with that approach because they've trained people not to pay for things.
Daniel Agee 9:54
Yep. I mean, like that's a that's a hard thing for us to write. You know, we're running into that all the time, which is why we offer a free trial, which is why, you know, like our monthly fee is relatively cheap, our yearly fee is even cheaper. So glass costs $5 A month or $30 a year. But you can always get your first year for 20 bucks somewhere, such as the show notes. That was a really good one. So thank you. But you know, like the paying for anything on the internet is kind of like magical, right? Like, knowing what you're getting out of it. And knowing that, you know, like, we have a feedback board that has hundreds of feature requests and comments. And that's how we set our roadmap, right? Like our our biggest release is coming in a couple of days, or just came out, depending on when this gets posted, which is what we're calling it's called Glass anywhere. So right now you have to have a Apple account to sign up for a glass account, you have to have, it was Apple ID only. So we are we're releasing glass anywhere this week, where you'll be able to use email, password, and Stripe subscription online. So anyone on any platform, any phone, any computer doesn't matter, you can you will be able to sign up for glass and publish your photography to a community that like gives a damn about photos and only photos.
Gary Pageau 11:23
So let's talk a little bit about four get down into the the newer offering get get back to the app a little bit because it has a real photography first feel about right, if you look at the app, if you look at how the images are presented, there isn't a lot of wasted space in displaying the images. I mean, obviously that's on purpose. Can you talk a little bit about that
Daniel Agee 11:48
photos are awesome, right? Like, like photos are really cool. My grandfather is the one who got me into photography. When I was a child, he gave me his canon AE one as a gift when he was, you know, in his 80s. And I was seventh in you know, like on family vacation together in Michigan. And it's like looking back on the images that I made with him over the years through my teens. It's like this beautiful time travel thing for me right over like, I can instantly remember what that field smells like outside of Holland. Or I can, you know, like instantly recall what that creek smells like or how I felt in the sun that sort of there's a lot of stinky creeks in Michigan, so many stinky creeks in Michigan, not gonna I'm not gonna deny it what visit Michigan it's beautiful. But watch out for the creeks, slow moving creeks. And so you know, like, I've always really love photos. And you know, like, Tom has similar stories from, you know, being a kid on vacation in Hawaii giving being given disposable camera and just like being blown away by the magic of it. And you know, like as they became ubiquitous online when our phone Scott, increasingly better, right, like iPhone came out. And then suddenly everyone cared about cameras in phones, that like marked a real shift with how we treated photography in a really great way, but also in like a bummer of a way. Right? You know, like, it has been wonderful to have photography proliferated to the masses and like have cameras become more and more affordable and have higher quality images being created from anywhere, you know, it's like Ratatouille, the Pixar movie, right, like anyone can cook, it's not that everyone is a cook, but like anyone can become a cook, same sort of thing with photography, like that's what's so beautiful about it. And so we had we had this like shining moment on the internet for like five or six years where like photography was the show's social currency of the internet, where like, posting photos, how you put, you know, like, Twitter didn't have active image hosting on Twitter for like the first five years of existence, right? You had like twitpic, and image Li and imager and all these different services just to put an image somewhere to match your words. And now that it's ubiquitous everywhere, they like have kind of gotten devalued in a way that is unfortunate because they're harder to monetize, right? They are not devalued because of how we feel about photos. But they are devalued because of how investors and advertisers feel about photos, right? You know, like, if you're stuck in a tick tock mood tunnel of just watching endless videos. You're not gonna find an app, right? Like an ad pops on it's fine. YouTube ad starts at the beginning of the thing, whatever. It's just an ad will watch it for the first 15 seconds and click Skip, as opposed to photos where it's like, oh, I'm looking at a photo. There's no place to put in an ad
Gary Pageau 14:50
to say that because that was always one of the things I mean, I go back aways. So I remember back when digital cameras came out. And then this adding video to digital cameras they were talking about. So a lot of discussion back then about the difference between a still photo and a video, right. And the differentiation I always went back to was a still photo is is active, it requires brain power. Because you have to you have to figure out what's going on. Right? You have to interpret what the image is the situation, whatever. As soon as you see a video, you go passive, because you're waiting for it to tell you something. Yeah, right. You don't have to work as hard. So it's just a different way of engaging with the content. And people think they're interchangeable, but they're really not.
Daniel Agee 15:35
I think there's a big difference between like online video and like movies, right? Like, I love movies. I love cinema I love like storytelling and craft. And you know, those things exist in vine, and they exist in Tik Tok. But it's a different type of emotion. And I feel like it's accessing a different set of tools in your brain, right? Like, I think that's a really great way to describe it, how you talked about it. And so, you know, like photos, photos are wonderful. And so we wanted to build a platform on like, no, like, we value photos, we as a, as a company, as people that run a company, we value photos? And what if our business model matched that? What if our business model was built for other people who also valued photography in the same way that we do, as opposed to trying to sell ads? Right? You know, like, we get asked all the time, when are we going to have a free version of glass? And it's like, well, never say never. But Oh, right. Like, because it's just not a high priority for us. Because like the, the how we would give a free version of glasses, we'd give a free version of glass and then put ads in between the photos and then suddenly, the magic of glass is gone. Right? Like how you feel when you use glass. And how you feel when you're looking at just a wall a wall feed of images, right? So like, you know, go download glass. And when you do, you'll see on this, you know, on the main feed on the phone, it's just photos on the main feed in iPad, depending on how you're holding it's two to three columns of just photos. On the website, it's just one to two to three to four to five photo while masonry grid beautiful photos, you want more information, you have to click through, right in that same sort of thing like we have. We have our version of the like button, which is we call it appreciations because it's private, right? Like what would what would a like button be if it didn't power an ad network? It would be appreciations. Right? It's entirely private, between the appreciator and appreciate it. And there are no public counts anywhere on glass. So like everything is just a personal thing. So like, man, Gary, I really love this photo, click, you know that they tap through to your photo, because there's no way to do it from the main feed. So you tap through to their photo, you clicked on the button. And then there you go, right. So like, that's the same thing with like how we do commenting, like we didn't launch with a like button, specifically, because we wanted commenting to be the main thing you could do in the app for the first few months. So it would set a community tone for how comments are used. Because right now comments are like a high value high ask thing that a lot of people don't do, right, like you doubletap keep scrolling, you don't actually talk about the photo or talk about what you're seeing. So we were like, Okay, what if that's the only thing you can do. And it was wonderful, right? Like when we launched appreciations. Four months later, we didn't see a dip in comments. Because people kept commenting because it was built into how the community functions. So do you have to use
Gary Pageau 18:36
images, this from the phone in your app? Let's say for example, we're not doing the web thing yet. We'll talk about that site. Yeah. So how can you bring images into glass? Do they have to be from the camera roll? Are there other services, you can bring them in from let's say, for example, you you have a because you have an image somewhere else that you want to bring in? Yeah.
Daniel Agee 18:57
So we have I mean, we we launch our web version of glass in April. So you can upload from any desktop, any browser anything. Before that you've had to use an app. So you could export from the camera roll, you could export directly from dark room or Lightroom two glass in the iOS share sheet. But it was all on on device. So for like those older photos that I had that I wanted to get on my glass profile from like, you know, 2009 or whatever like my first really great. Creek felt really Yeah, really? Yeah, exactly like a creek photo or time lapse. You know, the first time lapse I ever took with a Canon 20 D. And like 30 seconds I figured out bold mode, right sort of thing that I had to like email to myself back in the day to then get it up. But now it's just anywhere your photos already you can upload your glass.
Gary Pageau 19:53
Okay, great. So now you've got announcement this week on the next iteration. Yeah. Can you share a little bit more about that decision process? Because you sound like like you had a very distinct vision. Class, was this always in the in the roadmap? Or is this thing your people have asked for that you are,
Daniel Agee 20:14
this is yours. So when when, when we were planning for, like how our first year of glass would look, I was actually slow on how well I thought our development process would go, I was hoping to launch an iPad app on our one year anniversary. And we will launch that in February, six months after we launch. Because we it was time for photography community to have an iPad app, you iPad, users deserve to see really great photos, right. And using a 2x version of an iPhone app is not a great experience. So we I wrote down a list personally of like what we wanted to see, because if you launch with your full feature set, as a company, right, like, if you launch with the full features that have like what you're envisioning as your v1, you've launched too late. And so you know, like we definitely launched with a minimum lovable product and and like grew from there. And so we I wanted to have an iPad app, and I wanted to have a web version. And then I was hoping within two years, we'd be able to open up outside of the Apple ecosystem. We did all of that in a year. So the the main reason that we're excited about this feature glass anywhere is that you'll be able to sign up for glass account anywhere on any phone, anything you want, in the web browser, and not to brag, but you know, Instagram took $10 million, and had 25 employees or whatever, and it took them 18 months to land launch an Android app. And we are doing that six months faster with three people and a contractor. Not Not to brag without VC funding, it's fine. I will happily never brag about that. So like that's, that's really exciting for us. But like, the main reason is like we don't care what type of phone you use, right? Like, I remember, I remember back in like, 2013, or whatever it was when Instagram launched on Android and everyone was so mad, right? Because like, those people, we weren't right. Like they were they were like somehow bigoted against like camera phones. They were like how iPhones the best, right? You know, like, as but like, a pixel six takes incredible photos. Right? Samsung makes great cat like I say I'm a Samsung S 22 Macs are they have a bad naming convention, but their cameras are incredible, right?
Gary Pageau 22:48
You're I mean, it kind of goes back to the old, you know, Mac OS and Windows biases. Right? You know, it's like, you know, the Mac, maybe it's just an apple thing. They just think, you know, again, I'm Apple users, I, you know, I've seen it from the inside the biases in the prejudice there. And you're not lawyers. And nowadays, you're not hurting yourself. If you're on Windows, it's fine. And same thing with the mainstream Android, you're not hurting yourself.
Daniel Agee 23:15
Right? Like we're we, we understand there are reasons why someone would want a different phone than an iPhone, right? Like, it could be affordability because iPhones are expensive as hell. Right? Like it could be it could be they want more control over their experience, like there are reasons and they're all valid and fine. The only reason that we launched iOS only is because we're a small team. And we were building this nights and weekends at the time. Right. So like, we had to start somewhere where iPhone users, so we started there. And, you know, like candidly developing for iOS is significantly better than developing for Android that is like, sorry, everyone. But like, so the tools that Apple gave us, as developers, were really helpful for getting us off the ground. But like, we were never going to be a walled garden that was specifically just for Apple users.
Gary Pageau 24:01
So built into the system. Do you have any editing features or anything like that? Or is it just more of less a gallery just
Daniel Agee 24:11
it is it is all just a community. So we have public profiles, if you want to turn it on, they're optional. Because that's a that's a decision that we can make. Because we don't have investors, right. Like if we had investors, we would have to make every single profile on glass public, because we would need the views we would need people sharing it everywhere, but you're gonna have a private account. So if you have a you don't have your profile turned on. You can just use glass and every member can see your profile, but no one outside of glass can, but you can turn it on and use it as gallery if you'd like. So we have multiple members that have just replaced their portfolio because they were tired of dealing with format or Squarespace or like whatever this is good enough. I have a good enough showcase of my images if this is not gonna sell some One, right like if this, like gallery of 60 wonderful wedding photos isn't going to convince someone to click an Email button, then bummer, right? Like no perfect Squarespace site is going to fix that. Right? So like people use it as portfolio. And then sorry, I totally lost the thread. It's wonderful. They're a wonderful little things that we get to do. Because
Gary Pageau 25:24
we don't have a business case standpoint, because you don't aren't compelled to monetize every user, there's things you can do, you can provide more user choice because of that.
Daniel Agee 25:35
Exactly. And one of the, you know, like as, as we talk more about that, and as we talk about, like the decisions that we're making now moving forward, right, like, what features we're prioritizing you know, like after this we're we're releasing our next features after class anyway, are going to be camera feeds. So like I'm, I am deeply fortunate that I lucked into owning like a q2 at a reduced rate, like trade bartered services, and got a lucky q2 as payment. And it was wonderful. And like, this camera has totally changed my life and how I view photography, because it's a small enough thing that I can carry it with me it does powerful enough things. And so in a month or two, you'll be able to tap in the metadata on glass, tap the Leica q2 button and see every photo taken from Leica on glass, right?
Gary Pageau 26:33
Is that's only like no other camera platforms. Yeah,
Daniel Agee 26:36
yeah, sorry, sorry, Canon unit, you have to send me our five to get that. So any any camera, any camera metadata will be like clickable. So they'll be able to see whatever camera bodies are taking those photos. Is that exploration feature? Going to get us hundreds or 1000s of new users? No, right? But like, they're gonna make our current users happy. It's gonna make me happy, right? Like, I'm excited to find other photographers this way. And so that's a feature we get to prioritize, because we don't have to always be like, harping on hockey, Puck stick growth, where like, you know, line goes up into the right forever, and hi. And you know, we need to double our users in a month, we need to, like all that stuff goes out the window, and we can focus solely on like building a sustainable business that isn't going anywhere. Right, like, party.
Gary Pageau 27:30
Go ahead. I'm sorry. I'm just thinking. So how do you? How do you envision your users using your platform? Now I got the feeling you feel like you've got some professional photographers, who are using it as sort of a a portable portfolio, if you will, or maybe even our web based portfolio. So there's that. So there's sort of like the commerce aspect of it. And then there's, you know, I'm sure the high end amateur aspect of it. So I'm just curious, do you have a breakdown on that? Just curious how that shakes out? Because I'm trying to figure out like, where you go next? It seems like that sort of a finite world.
Daniel Agee 28:11
Yeah. So we, we talked about glass as a community, not a marketing channel, right. You know, like, Instagram stopped being a place to have fun with photography years ago. And now it is QVC. With DM on it, right? Is what it is, yeah. Right. Like, it is wall to wall ads and trying to sell something. And it's a marketing channel for photographers. And, you know, we have, we have some members who have come over from Instagram, who have like 10,000 followers on Instagram, they've built up a following for years. And they have, you know, like, we don't have public numbers. So like, you'd have to count your followers to figure out how many followers you have on glass. But, you know, we had one who did that. He was like, Yeah, I have 57 followers on glass. And I have more engagement interaction on my photos on glass than I do on Instagram. Because having 10,000 followers on Instagram doesn't mean anything. Because only point 5% or 2% of your followers are actually seeing any given post you do. And if you're not dancing like an asshole, then it's going to be less. Right. So like, if you're not doing reels if you're not doing whatever they're trying to tell you. You know, and there's like, so there's so much magic when you are creating art for yourself as opposed to creating marketing for an algorithm. So someone can hopefully see your art right. Yeah,
Gary Pageau 29:37
you know, that always kind of struck me as I'm not sure when it actually happened. Maybe you do. But there was a point where it stopped being about displaying content and it started became about optimizing towards the algorithm, right? Like, I've got to have my videos got to be eight seconds long at least or else they won't show it or whatever, you know, and
Daniel Agee 29:56
the more skin gets more things so like for ographers like male photographers have started like, posing further like quick little chat before they show their photos in the reels without their shirt on, for some reason, right. Like, I'm a ceramicist in my hobbies, right? Like, I like making pots, and like cups and mugs and stuff. I'll send you a mug someday. And that there are now just a bunch of like shirtless men, ceramicists on Instagram, because they have found that it does like yours better if they don't have a shirt on when they're making a mug as opposed to if they have a shirt on while they're making their mug. Oh, no, that's Terry.
Gary Pageau 30:39
Funny because I'm thinking I mean, I you know, back in college, I had a ceramics took us around the scores that through my share of pots and mugs and whatnot. And that's not something you want to do bare skin.
Daniel Agee 30:49
Yeah, you want you want a shirt and like a full an apron. Yeah, like an apron that catches all the clay, you want to wear crocs because your real shoes will be erect. Anyway. So like, that's like the type of stuff that's happening when it's like, they're just trying to sell a pot, right? Like they're just trying to show people a nice thing they made and photographers are just the oldest creators on Instagram that are getting screwed over by these changes right now. And so you know, like, what happens when you start getting inspired by your art again, and what happens when you start shooting for yourself and like making things is a really wonderful little thing. And so you know, like, when we talk about the future of glass, it's like, We don't ever want it to be that level of a marketing channel, which is not to say that we don't want to help our members make money, it's just never going to be the full focus of the community product.
Gary Pageau 31:38
One way to monetize images these days, of course, is to is to print them, put them on different surfaces and things is that something you guys are is is in the plan? Or is it something you that is not something you are looking to do because I mean, coming from my audience where, you know, they're gonna say, Well, this is great, I would love to be able to put some of that stuff on some media of some sort.
Daniel Agee 32:01
Here's another fun thing that we can do, because we don't need to keep people in the app. Right? Like, we support links in captions and comments, as opposed to having a single link in your bio, you can have links everywhere. And so are we going to create a better sale point of sale service than like Shopify, or format? Or the other printers? Or print on demand people? Or is it easier just to support links? Right, right. And so like we have, we have photographers that sell their images on glass that just like, you know, in the, in their caption, like, hi, buy this here? And then they do because I can write because like, we don't care about keeping your eyeballs in the app.
Gary Pageau 32:47
And honestly, I mean, if you're getting their subscription revenue, do you really need to have a percentage over print sold?
Daniel Agee 32:53
Yeah, like, that's, that's not an interesting or a meaningful revenue source for us, as opposed to the complexity that would add to our product, when like, these services already exist, right? You know, like the photographers that are making money on selling prints are gonna just keep doing that, but they can post a class and just share a link. You know, like, another example of that would be like, we support Twitter previews. So if you tweet or glass link to one of your photos, it displays nicely in the tweet, as opposed to just showing as the last photo that, you know, slash Daniel slash gobbly gook, it just looks like Hello, here's your nice, beautiful photo, because we want the photo to look the best at all times. Right? So there are like, so many of these little decisions that we can make that add up to this larger, larger, nicer community. You know, another one of those would be like, we have a community code of conduct that has a no hate speech and no white supremacy clause in it. It's just like, hi, nope, you don't get to do that here. You know, no, spam, no, none of that nonsense. And then it gets enforced, right, like so. But with that, we've also only removed a handful of spam accounts. And like, for photos and three comments, right, like, we can count on both hands, this amount of content we've had to remove in a year of 1000s and 1000s of members and 1000s and 1000s and 1000s of photos that have been uploaded glass we've had to remove a handful, right? Like these are all the little differences that exist as you know, like I'm a as a as a queer man, I can't really exist on the internet without running into homophobia just because that's how it because that's the state of the world and the internet, but haven't run into on glass. Right? You know, like that's like a wonderful thing worth protecting and fostering and so like we're, you know, as an independent company, and as a startup in the photo space. You know, we are thrilled to make it to one year, and how, you know, like significantly further along on a sustainable business than we thought we would be and like, have more members and are like actively growing month after month. It's all like our businesses healthy our Community Health is healthy are we ship a, you know, a product update once every four to six weeks? Like everything is clicking in it is a thrilling time to like be building on the internet because photographers are ignored a lot, right like that we use their images to build the thing, and then we toss them aside, or, you know, get acquired five times by seven different companies. Right.
Gary Pageau 35:41
Like I was curious about when you said about the no hate speech and whatnot, does community police itself or how does that happen?
Daniel Agee 35:49
Yeah. So. So like one of the things that we talked about, aside from code of conduct our we had a couple of day one features that we launched with, that are very rare for social networks and or people in general to care about, right. So we had reporting, blocking, and download your data and account deletion. So you report, you can report a comment, you can report a profile, you can report a photo. And that goes straight to us. And then we deal with it immediately.
Gary Pageau 36:21
And that can be done anonymously. Like for example, it's a let's say, somebody were to post something that was questionable. And somebody sends a report, you'll get the report, and you kind of decide, yeah, this cross the line, this doesn't Yeah, okay.
Daniel Agee 36:35
Yep. And then we also had account deletion. So you could take, you could download all of your data, you know, all of your photos and then delete the account as opposed to not right, like, just most the time people say not, right, like, oh, no, we're gonna keep that forever, because it helps on numbers for investors.
Gary Pageau 36:52
Yeah, exactly. That's something I always hear about is like, yeah, you know, I deleted my account on blankety blank, but it's still there. I don't know what.
Daniel Agee 36:59
Right, like we I mean, like, I don't know if it's still this way, I assume it is. But like, you had to go through like a 90 day window of deactivation on Facebook before they delete your account, that sort of thing. Like that's, that's silly, like, well, the other thing they
Gary Pageau 37:13
have now is legacy account, you die. And people can keep the account alive. So if it's a user, but they're just from beyond the grave, yeah,
Daniel Agee 37:23
everyone, on my family, whoever listens to my podcasts, if I'm dead, please delete my Instagram. Like, please, please do not keep my bad dog photos online, they don't need to be there.
Gary Pageau 37:35
So you've launched glass anywhere. And that's really like I from what I feel. And that's available from any web browser. So even like, if you were to have an on a big screen TV, and you could access web browser through that, that sort of thing. I think there's a lot of interesting possibilities there.
Daniel Agee 37:50
That's i Yeah, like, to be clear, do not sign up for glass on your Samsung Smart TV, it's going to act badly. But it's gonna look great. But yeah, so anywhere, anywhere you're
Gary Pageau 38:01
gonna get your TV is gonna act badly, it's gonna start showing you 70 sitcoms, or what's nine
Daniel Agee 38:04
doesn't I mean, like, you know, that's not an optimal viewing. Yeah, typing, typing in a credit card number with a TV remote. It's terrible. So you know, I want you to avoid that. So sign up and then log in on your TV. Did I mean like, don't be surprised if we eventually launched an Apple TV app? Because like, it's, it's right there. What makes sense, right? Right. Like you want see your photos on the biggest screen? Well, well, well, have we got a huge screen for you.
Gary Pageau 38:32
Well, that's what I was thinking. I mean, I've done some Google photos on my Samsung TV. And, you know, it's great. It's not, you know, it's not high art or whatnot. But it is a good way to share photos in real life in a group rather than passing around a phone.
Daniel Agee 38:45
And so there's like, a lot of there's a lot of exciting things that are happening with that, you know, like, we're really thrilled to get it in front of more people, right, you know, like, 80% of the world uses Android phones, that's, you know, that's a huge market that we haven't been able to address. And then, you know, like, it opens up a lot of creativity that just wasn't there. Right. You know, like, we'll eventually have a Windows Store app will eventually be in the Google Play Store will be you know, like will be everywhere you expect. But right now, just, you know, like web browsers rule, the Internet rules. And so like just being able to enter a credit card and like, have a service on your browser is going to be really great. And you know, like, candidly I don't know how to say this without sounding strange. Phones are terrible way to look at photos, like phones are a terrible way to experience like great photography. They're a really wonderful way to like send and share a silly photo of your dog or like a fun photo from a birthday or whatever. But like, there are certain images that just like shine, the bigger you get them. So you know, like, we noticed that when we launched our iPad app in February, we just immediately started using our iPads all the time, right? Like, whenever we were looking at glass, we were just using our iPads because it was the biggest screen available. And then, you know, like now that we have glass for the web in April and glass anywhere that's out now. You know, I use I use glass on the web, like 95% of time, I rarely use it on my phone, because it's just such a better experience to see bigger photos, right? Like, is, when you
Gary Pageau 40:28
just one small technical point, I'm kind of curious because most of again, this is gonna go down a rabbit hole. So if it does, you know what I'm ready. But, you know, every device you've talked about here is, you know, smartphone, iPad, most of the Windows machines now are or touch enabled, except for the Macintosh. Is it a different experience on the web with those devices, because you can't touch the screen? Well,
Daniel Agee 40:59
I mean, our our web version of glass is very well done. And so you will, you know, like, you'll be able to tap into it and use your hands like, you know, we own Microsoft Surface, and we do testing on surface, it's great, like that level of great machine, it's like, don't get me wrong, I am legitimately excited to get into the Microsoft store, right? Like, I think there are just so many silly things that we can do as a company, like prioritize being in stores on everything instead of like, just Apple, because that's where the most people are going to be for us.
Gary Pageau 41:31
I'm just saying I mean, from from a technical standpoint, that is like an anomaly. Right? If you're using glass, on a MacBook, you can't do the normal things that you put on an iPad,
Daniel Agee 41:44
one of the things that we do that's a little different is like, we don't have usernames on her main feed you on the iPhone, you do what we call peak, which is you can pull the photo to the side to see who is it in the first part of the caption, and then you can slide it all the way over. And I'll just open the photo. And so are the web, if you mouse over, you get to see the name. So if that's, you know, like, so they're like mine, are there things you had to do as well? Yeah. Just because, you know, developing across multiple platforms is terrible, right? Like it is. Making Apps is hard. You know, we are, like 15 years and an app store now, right? Because it came in iOS two, and we're on iOS 16. So we're 15 years in an app store. And this has been going on a long time. And like, Apple was wonderful there. I love them as a development partner and as a distribution partner. But like, man, making apps, it's hard. And like, there's so much work that goes into these that like people don't know about, right? You know, when we talk about how we're launching glass anywhere this week, you know, people say, Oh, just use stripe for payments or set, right, but like, that doesn't handle your account system that doesn't handle yo all of the backend emails that need to be sent and the cancellation emails and the you know, like coming up for renewal, you know, like, there's so much work that still goes into these things that so much care and so much effort that like, every time someone comes out with a thing, it feels like a miracle to me, right? Like, sure being you know, like, I've been working on the internet for 15 years now professionally for 20 You know, between photography and marketing on the internet, every time I've ever been a part of it just feels like magic when something ships right, like an actual app exists because like the internet is held together by duct tape and like sheer will of Jeff Bezos and AWS. Right, like that's it. It's an exciting time to be building but it's still like so much work. And so these little features in the little stuff that we get to change that like gives platform personality that's a little different than other stuff is just, you know, like a nice little bit of love as opposed to
Gary Pageau 43:53
so people want to experience the love that is glass, where do they go and to get more information and to sign up, hopefully,
Daniel Agee 44:02
okay, well, first, you go to the shownotes. And you tap the glass dot photo slash offer slash dead pixels link, which will give you $10 off your first year of glass. Nice. And that will take you to the signup page, you'll sign up you'll create your profile and there you go. Now you're in glass. But if you'd like more information before you sign up, go to glass dot photo, you can read about our multiple platforms there. We have pages dedicated to iPhone, iPad, and the web. And you know, you should also find us on Twitter because I'm very good at tweeting and that is my job and I am proficient at it and that is twitter.com/try glass because all the good usernames are taken everywhere. Except on glass where you can maybe get a good one thank
Gary Pageau 44:49
you for your time and your and your generosity with your discount code and and best wishes for the continued success like Last and I'm sure we'll be in touch soon.
Daniel Agee 45:02
Yeah, let's let's do this again next year.
Erin Manning 45:06
Thank you for listening to the dead pixel society podcast. Read more great stories and sign up for the newsletter at www the dead pixels society.com
Transcribed by https://otter.ai