How to Save the US Economy – The Photo App Industry

An Open Letter to President Barack Obama

Cc:  Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank

Bcc:  Speaker of the House John Boehner, Kevin Rose, Shawn Fanning, Douglas Leone, Marc Andreessen

Dear Mr. President,

I write you at a time of great challenge for our nation and our economy as we face stubbornly high unemployment, sluggish growth, and an ongoing debt overhang.

If I may, I believe I can offer a different perspective, that of the bold visionaries who help fund our technology sector. We provide the risk capital that invents the future. We are not afraid of creative destruction and the melting down of fundamental industries that once employed tens of millions of Americans and grounded our democracy in a strong middle class. (We also don’t know many people from what we call “legacy” industries.)

I offer you a clear path to America’s future greatness through the support of a transformative and massive new industry: Photo editing and sharing apps for mobile devices.

Billions of people have cells phones, most of those cell phones have cameras, and it is clear that people’s need to edit these photos and send them to their friends and family will be one of the driving engines of our economy in the next century.

These mobile digital photos have created a range of new problems to be solved. Many of these photos are not appropriately centered and need to cropped or re-sized. Some need to be sent to friends or uploaded to various social sites. And finally and most importantly, many need to be made black & white or sepia or have other effects added so that they look kind of cool.

These challenges are daunting, but Americans have never been ones to shy away from great challenges and this is an opportunity for you to call us to the greatness you offered when you had those inspirational “HOPE” posters in your 2008 campaign.


One can see entirely new sub-industries and job specialties arising to support these many activities. Photo colorists, Uploaders, Sepiaologists, Photo Stream Systems Engineers, and Croptologists, to name a few. These are the kind of technologically advanced, high paying jobs that America should be pursuing.

Whereas we once talked about General Motors, Chrysler, Kodak, US Steel, and General Electric as bulwarks of American industry, we can now see their successors in firms like Instagram, DailyBooth, Path, Color Labs, Mobli, picplz, Piictu, blipsnips, Photo365, Hipstamatic, Luminance, 360 Panorama, Snapseed, Filterstorm, MonoPhix, Pano, Juxtaposer, Grungetastic, pic Grunger, SketchMee, picfx, Diptic, Postagram, Postcardontherun, Shakeitphoto, and Magic Shutter – and I’m sure I’m leaving out many other great companies.

I know it’s hard for you to envision this brighter future in dark days of stubborn unemployment, but I am able to. I ask you to call our nation to action in this area. Direct your Marine guard to lock Congress in their chambers until they pass a $400 billion dollar for training, seed funding, and government support for mobile phone photo apps. We could set off an unprecedented wave of innovation in this country and provide tens of millions of jobs. Kennedy took us to the moon, you can help take our picture. If you would like my advice or assistance, the best way to reach me is via Twitter @vc1212.


Don Wenzer


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