We Are the World, Part II

We announced today the results of some research we recently did with Gfk (formerly the Roper Organization) about Americans and how well they’re doing saving their memories.
Sam Allen Radio
The answer is, not so well. It turns out 85% of Americans–even young Americans–want not just their grandchildren to see their old photos, but their GREAT grandchildren. The trouble with that is color photos just won’t last that long. Our collective memory is fading away before our very eyes.

So this morning I talked to some radio stations about all this–an interesting experience for me, to say the least. I felt like singing We Are The World or something! Lucky for America, I didn’t.  (Note cheesy photograph.)

Three things that really surprised me in the research (a random-digit-dialed telephone survey of about 1,000 people):

  • People know that photos won’t last.
    75% of American adults know photos won’t last forever–they’ll change color or fade away.
  • Many photos won’t survive long enough to fade away.
    54% of Americans have already lost old photos–to a move, to fire, to floods, or even to kids.
  • Kids and pets are 4x as likely to damage your photos as fire.
    And I have kids–I should have known!

We learned a lot from talking to these consumers (we always do) and we’ll be sharing more of it later. Until then,

Happy preserving,

A great photo – that could have been greater

I thought I would take a moment to pass on a great photo related story from our PepCom experience.  But first, let me recommend eating at the Extra Virgin in the West Village – Wade was so impressed with the Gazpacho that he took a photo of it.

Anyway, I was speaking with a nationally renowned photographer – to protect the innocent let’s call him “George” – about a famous photograph of some construction workers high above the Manhattan skyline atop the World Trade Center.  This photo, titled “Moon over Manhattan” has been around for decades and if you close your eyes and think, you will know the one I am speaking of.  Yeah, it’s “that” kind of moon, not the celestial kind.  At any rate, one of the features of the photo that gives it such authenticity, besides the anatomical humor, is the fine trace of an airliner flying at altitude trailing a wisp of silver in the failing light.  Only it isn’t an airplane, or a comet.  It’s a scratch.

That’s right, the original image was damaged, but the overall picture was such a stupendous example of timing & quality (and humor) that it went on to be seen time and again all over the world.  You can find it by searching “Moon over Manhattan” on Google Images.  Too bad ScanCafe wasn’t around then; we could have fixed that for the photographer (or the mooner) for about a quarter.  We even could have even completely removed the offending party with a bit of Photoshop for a few bucks.

Things we liked at PepCom

ScanCafe took a bite out of the Big Apple at the Fall PepCom event.  The purpose was to bring a bunch of creative consumer focused companies together in one place to present ideas for the upcoming Holiday season (what, already?) to a bunch of national reporters.  A good idea, really, it allows for both companies and press to make a single trip to a single spot.

Didn’t hurt that they had some good grub and lots of booze (for the press – yours truly had only water to drink).

The coolest thing we saw at PepCom was the service from Cucku – yeah, that really is the name, an old Marine like me thought it a bit too close for comfort, but there you have it.  Cucku has created an innovative way to provide backup services for your irreplaceable files (such as your heirloom photos) using a distributed, peer to peer infrastructure.  You should check them out if you are looking for a neat way to backup your systems which you should be doing.

Second place?  Had to be the sweet vacuum from Black & Decker that folds flat to get under the couch.  Yes, I am talking about vacuum cleaners – but it’s ok because it’s from Black & Decker.  Right?

Work with a documentary filmmaker – free

Create a slideshow with a documentary filmmaker

We’re very excited to bring you a special offer! We’ve heard from many customers that they wanted to make a presentation or slideshow using their scanned photos.

So, we’ve made special arrangements with a leading San Francisco-area documentary filmmaker to have her produce customer slideshows.

She will interview you (by phone) to understand you and your goals for the project, and you will forward scanned images, text, and sound files. She will then produce an approximately 3-minute, professional-quality slideshow – at no cost to you. We’ll even feature the finished slideshows on our website.

About the filmmaker

Hannah Guggenheim is a leading cinematographer/editor in the Bay Area, whose films are noted for their artistic qualities and social conscience. She has an MFA from San Francisco State’s Film Production Program, including work for PBS and TurnHere.

Hannah’s most recent project – the documentary film “Benji and Judah” – was admitted to the Mill Valley Film Festival, showing in early October. The film is a compelling portrait of the human spirit, as it intimately focuses on the struggles and triumphs of identical twins born with Spina Bifida.

How to qualify

Because of the special nature of this opportunity, we can only extend it to the 10 customers with largest orders between now and September 30, 2008 (with a minimum of 1,000 paid scans). Slideshows should be completed by the first week of November. We will automatically contact all eligible customers.  Tell your story!

Get Started

ScanCafe Garners $5.5M for Expansion and Improvements

We have completed a tremendous amount of work in the last two years building this company from a simple idea into the world’s greatest analog to digital conversion service.  We literally started in a garage in Encinitas, California (right by the beach I might add, “Surf’s Up!”) in the summer of 2006 and here we sit with 5,000 sq ft of Class A office space in Burlingame, CA and 22,000 sq ft of Class A office space in Bangalore, India.  We have grown from 4 very focused friends to 675 incredibly dedicated professionals.

During this rapid maturity we constantly have listened to our customers.  At each stage of growth, we resoundingly heard “Hey, nice job.  Now get it done faster.  And can you add some services.  And while you are at it, can you improve your gallery review process a bit?  Oh yeah, what about the 4 dozen VHS tapes of my 1987 mullet?  Can you convert those?”  So, in order to give the deserving public what it wanted, and to do so timely, I decided that the time had come to leverage the wonderful world of high finance.

We raised $5.5 million in both Venture Capital funding and good old fashioned debt that will allow us to really throw ScanCafe into high gear.  It is important to note that all the really hard things to do – build up the operations, hire the people, buy the equipment, etc. – have already been done.  We really wanted to prove the model before going down the road of bringing on financing partners.  So the good news is that this money will go to adding services, adding capacity to further reduce turn time and to improve the user interface experience.  I will make sure that we do all we can to continue to make the ScanCafe experience an outstanding one.  As usual, keep the comments/feedback coming.