Whether on business or pleasure, chances are excellent that you are carrying a camera – perhaps stand-alone or integrated into a cellular phone, iPad or GPS. But what will you do with all those images you capture during your adventures? You could email them, post them on Facebook or flickr, or just let them accumulate on your hard drive.
Deb Whitman has an alternative. A way to make those photos magically appear on the screens of close friends and relatives who want to enjoy your pictures again and again. Instead of them searching for your latest, you decide which pictures will automatically be displayed on their onscreen photo frame. And regardless of whether this idea appeals to you, Photo Mambo (the name of her new company and service: www.photomambo.com) and Whitman embody two useful aspects of entrepreneurship.
The first is where ideas come from. Though entrepreneurship lore celebrates the “aha moment” (generally occurs in the shower – hopefully without a camera), the story of Photo Mambo is less picture perfect, but more consistent with how most new ventures come to be. Before appointing herself founder and CEO of Photo Mambo, Whitman worked at Adobe with responsibility for digital imaging software such as Photoshop. Rewind further and she worked with digital media presentation at Microsoft. Her experience with consumer software goes back to the 1980s when she was responsible for marketing the personal finance package Quicken, at Intuit. So the idea for Photo Mambo represents a combination of work experience, and the personal wants of a mother who was born in the Midwest region of the United States and wants to share her daughter’s photographs with non-technical family members halfway across the country.
The second is where action comes from. Though consistent with the work and personal aspects that compose Whitman, the idea behind Photo Mambo is sufficiently obvious enough that it could have occurred to any of us. The technology necessary to implement Photo Mambo is readily available. So what separates her from the rest of us who are wondering why we didn’t do it? The answer comes from the same place as the idea. Her means. Every person is a unique collection of the things they know, the people they know and the things they have. Those inputs can offer the basis for an entrepreneurial idea. But they also offer a place to start taking action. Because Whitman has worked in software, she already knows that the idea is feasible and what level of effort it would take to create it. Because she knows people who understand digital photography, it is easy for her to find advice and collaborators. And so instead of waiting for those people to magically show up, pursuing lengthy education on the topic, or hoping for $10 million in venture funding, she can get up in the morning and start taking action. Which is really what makes her an entrepreneur.
The very first release of Photo Mambo just became available. Like any entrepreneurial idea, it may start out a huge hit, or more likely, provide the foundation for changes, adaptations and iterations that ultimately become a meaningful business. But in order to get the customer, partner and developer reactions that can evolve it into a successful business, the idea has to be put into action. What idea have you had today?
Publication: British Airways Business Life
Crazy Quilt (Partnerships)
Pilot-in-the-Plane (Control vs. Predict)