Timelines, Inc Launches 'Photogram' iPhone App

Photogram launches! It’s an exciting day for us – our iPhone app Photogram launched!

What an awesome job by our tech group – Geoff Buesing, Scott McMillin and Zach Zolton – to put together something that’s simple, stylish and rock solid. I’m always amazed at the work that they do, and Photogram shines because of them.

As with any product creation, development and launch, there’s seemingly a thousand internal and external points of input, people, happenings and decisions along the way that help to shape what the product is. I won’t try to recount them all, but I thought I’d touch on a few.

Inspiration for Photogram

The inspiration for Photogram actually has its origins in our first product, Lifesnapz. Lifesnapz enables families and other trusted groups to record and share events using photos, videos, descriptions, tags, maps and timelines. A Lifesnapz user can chronicle his or her life on an event by event basis, and with just one click weave these events into timelines for different people and types of events. Lifesnapz is a site with a ton of cool functionality, and over the course of 2+ years what we observed is that users overwhelmingly like to do three simple things: share, receive and comment on multiple photos about, and from, the people important to them. So we decided to peel this functionality away (I can remember the meeting when Brian Hand suggested this concept) and enable people to do this with their smartphones (starting with the iPhone), as these are more and more becoming the go-to camera for everyday use. From that decision, we began framing out Photogram with one primary requirement- that it be simple to use.

Visual Design

The design of the Photogram apps gets a ton of well-deserved, very positive compliments. The app’s look and feel is of a finely-tuned machine from a bygone era – an era when elegant craftsmanship and attention to the smallest detail were strong elements in most mechanical devices. (And I've been told that it has style elements reminiscent of steampunk...). This design perfectly supports what our app is all about: helping people capture special moments and deliver an experience that feels handcrafted and personalized to their recipients. This is all the work of Scott McMillin. I give him a lot of credit for sticking with and continuously developing the app’s persona, as there were moments when he could’ve easily backed down on some of the elements or scrapped the concept altogether. I hope that he posts something about the origination and evolution of Photogram’s design.

Input and Suggestions

We had a big group of beta testers and friends and colleagues who provided us with invaluable input throughout the development process. A standing ovation goes to this special set of people who were incredibly generous with their time and thoughts: Amy Dice, Brian Bradley, Dan Cummings, Howard Skolnick, Roma Gallagher, Jessica Richardson, Derek Key, Chris Robinson, Kathleen Taggersell, Margaret Reynolds, Patrick Flanagan, Jean Matthews, Fritz Hurst, Hesky Kutscher, Kelly Markson, Melissa Anderson, Lisa Jillson, Dawn Baskin and Kelly Martin. (I probably missed someone- please let me know!) Their feedback was critical in helping us focus on what to do (and just as important, what not to do).

Artist Partners

A casual, re-connecting meeting initiated by Connie Chang, a former colleague of mine at A.T. Kearney, helped us spark the concept of promoting and featuring artists and their works within Photogram. What seems so obvious now, was not so prior to that meeting. Connie, previously unbeknownst to me, is an accomplished artist, and she is also one of our inaugural artist partners. You can check out her work here.

In addition to Connie, we more than a dozen other artists and designers who are supporting our launch through their partnership with us. Their willingness to partner with us on a new concept like Photogram is really quite inspiring. And their creativity and talent provide a richness and diversity to Photogram that we couldn’t have achieved on our own. Please support our artist partners - you can see the complete list of our launch artist partners here. More artists to come in future weeks and months.

Promotion

We’ve been fortunate to have the PR talents of TriplePoint, in particular Joe Ziemer, Sam Dalsimer and Ed Zitron, to help us navigate the launch process and spread the news of Photogram’s arrival. They’ve been fantastic and have been instrumental in connecting us with people at Apple and numerous journalists and bloggers, including Robert Scoble of Scobleizer.com fame, Drake Martinet of The Wall Street Journal’s AllThingsD.com (article and video), Greg Kumparak of TechCrunch, Brad Spirrison of Appolicious and CoolMomTech.

Additionally, a big thanks to the Chicago tech community, specifically Fred Hoch and Dorothy Radke at the Illinois Technology Association and Maria Katris and Matt Moog at Built In Chicago, all of whom have been very generous in helping to promote our progress and launch.