Interview with Ivan Wong (PicYou)
PicYou is an online application, great for quickly and easily enhancing and sharing photos with friends and family.
I interviewed Ivan Wong, PicYou founder to find out more. This interview is the twenty seventh in a series of DW interviews. Big thank you to Ivan for the interview!
How would you describe PicYou in under 50 words?
PicYou is the perfect tool for instantly sharing your photos and daily life with friends, family, and the world.
What made you decide to start working on PicYou?
Our team has been been passionately building media related websites including ImageBam, a global top 500 site hosting over 100 million images, Flixya, a publishing platform for users to generate revenue from videos, photos and blogs via Google AdSense, VideoBam, a free and private video hosting provider, and Snapixel, a photo marketplace. PicYou was a natural fit for our network. We saw a huge interest generated by fun and easy to use photo sharing services such as Instagram and Twitpic, and wanted to combine the strongest ideas from them.
How did you come up with the name? Was the domain available?
It’s been hard to find available .com domains so we looked at aftermarket domains and were fortunate to find picyou.com – a combination of “Pic”, short for for picture, and “You”, a term which evokes self expression. We have also acquired vidyou.com and blogyou.com during our domain hunt.
How long did it take to put together PicYou?
It took the team roughly 4 months to put everything together from idea to live website. We have been building websites for quite some time hence the quick and efficient turn around.
How did you become involved in photography and development?
I was introduced to photography by a friend after finishing college and haven’t stopped shooting since. I particularly enjoy shooting action sports such as mountain biking and motocross. It’s always been my goal to give justice to size of the jumps or difficulty of the obstacles. Web development is similar as there is always a challenge to create something better.
How much time do you put into PicYou day-to-day? Does it essentially run itself?
PicYou has been pretty hands off since launch with the exception of bug fixes and the development of new features. The community has been great with minimal moderation or problems.
What’s your favourite photo on PicYou?
Great photos are uploaded daily and we also have some stunning pics showcased on the Popular page so it’s hard to pin point a single favorite photo. I tend to find a handful or two to “Like” everyday.
Has PicYou got the feedback and growth you expected since launch?
We have received a fair amount of attention and blog write-ups since launch and usage has really sky rocketed since. Feedback for the site has been positive and the UI is definitely a stand-out feature. It’s off to a strong start.
Who do you see as your target audience?
Anyone who has a photo to share.
Who is your biggest competitor?
There are lots of solid competitors in the photo sharing space each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Instead of competing directly competing with sites such as Flickr or Photobucket we are offering more of a social photo sharing experience akin to mobile Apps such as Instagram combined with a really fun and user-friendly interface. With the huge growth in the niche there is definitely enough space in the photo sharing space to create a sustainable business model and compete with more established sites, especially considering the social aspects and ease of use PicYou has to offer.
What is the biggest hurdle you have faced or are still facing?
Growth and reaching “Critical Mass” will always be a goal we work towards. Naturally, it will take a combination of site appeal and mass adoption to get there.
What other projects are you working on?
They are top secret but we have one that we are currently writing patents for that will shake up the online advertising space. We also just acquired a very brandable “ad” related domain for the project.
What are you most excited about at the moment?
We have a number of new features and updates planned for PicYou which we are really excited about including an upcoming iPhone app as well as the adoption of a new advertising initiative through custom branded filters which allows brands and businesses to extend their reach through “branded” filters.
Finished reading? Check out PicYou!