Twitpic filled a niche that Twitter had not originally implemented.
Twitpic founder Noah Everett is no stranger to start-ups. He founded his first startup in his late teens, a music site called Indiefy. “It was a way for independent artists to sell their music online.” Everett said in interview. “I built it, but I didn’t put a lot into getting it out there so it fizzled out.” His current startup, popular photo-sharing site Twitpic, was built out of his own personal need. “I wanted a way to share my own photos so I spent the weekend coding up the first version of Twitpic for me and my friends to use.”
Twitpic filled a niche that Twitter had not originally implemented – users could send 140 character messages to one another, and to the world, but there was no way to attach a photograph or media item to Tweets. Everett saw this gap in functionality, and created Twitpic in 2008 to solve it. Aside from being used to share photos among friends, Twitpic has gone on to be a medium for some historical moments. Everett said the biggest highlights for him have been seeing Twitpic used in breaking news situations, like the January 15th, 2009 plane crash in the Hudson River. He believes the biggest milestone of Twitpic has been hitting 35 million users, and being revenue positive from day one, without taking on funding. Twitpic shares its space with other photo sharing tools like yFrog, which is owned by parent-company ImageShack. Twitter also announced in June of 2011 that it was adding photo-sharing to its native application.
His advice for entrepreneurs looking to bootstrap their company is two fold. “Get your core product out the door as quick as possible, your users will tell you where to go.” To cap it off, Everett believes in a “just do it” mentality for startups. Since starting Twitpic, Everett has raised no funding, and has relied on ad revenue to keep the service revenue positive. Everett has always been an advocate of keeping his business small, highlighting this on the Twitpic blog.
Twitpic ran as a one-person show for the first few months, but Everett found that eventually he simply couldn’t do it alone. “I couldn’t run it by myself anymore, my stress levels were through the roof and the company needed employees to grow.” Twitpic runs exclusively on user-submitted content, so making sure that this content is safe was a challenge. “It’s really amazing to see the cool things people upload…you get to see into their lives,” said Everett, adding that sometimes moderation is still necessary, “Users will upload anything … be prepared to remove bad content.”