In 2011, geek entrepreneur Manish Vaidya and whiz coder Ram Ramkumar created and launched this cool photo-sharing application called Streamzoo. You could access it from your cell phone like Instagram, which had launched a year earlier. Only Streamzoo gave you much better tools to crop and enhance your photos. A big plus was that you could edit your work in your own favorite editing software and upload the photos via the Streamzoo web site, too.
For old guys like me, whose eyes feel more comfortable with a big, honkin’ desktop monitor instead of a tiny phone screen, this Streamzoo thing worked pretty well. It went worldwide, and had big user bases in places such as Malaysia, Japan, Turkey, Germany and South America. When you got on the Streamzoo web site, you could view your “stream” – photos taken by people who you decided to “follow.” Or you could look at a random stream of everyone that used the service.
It was a kick viewing photos taken by really good photographers/digital editors from parts of the globe I have not and never will visit. I even became friends with some of them, connecting in a way I have found impossible with the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
I write about Streamzoo in the past tense because the founders announced they’re shutting down the service in like two weeks.
The Streamzoo users are in chaos, posting to each other about which new photo app they’re going with, trying to retain their group of Streamzoo friends, trying to organize an effort to somehow keep the service alive.
Looks like that won’t happen. Vaidya says in a few recent tweets that the pair has been unable to “get it to grow big enough to self-sustain.” With enough users, they’d apparently hoped to be able to make a paid version of the app. Looking at snippets from Vaidya’s Streamzoo stream and his Twitter account, it appears that he’s been unable to find a buyer to give the thing new life.
The two founders started up by raising $560,000 in 2006 for a company that then was in the ringtone business. Some $300,000 of that money reportedly came from venture capitalist Tim Draper. The Streamzoo Silicon Valley founders had hoped to raise a second round of $5 million. Apparently that never happened. There are at least a couple dozen somewhat similar photo services floating around, which probably contributed to Streamzoo’s fatal woes.
Ironically, the much inferior but better-timed Instagram was picked up by Facebook in April 2012 for about $1 billion.
You have to learn to both enjoy and let go of the things you see and like on the web, because they’re all built in dog years. They’re born, grow and die at a much-accelerated rate compared with human linear time. So it goes in the post-bubble Land of Tech.