In 2002, when Internet companies were collapsing right and left, we decided to start SmugMug—a safe, beautiful home for our photos. We were two passionate photographers who happened to be father and son going up against the likes of Microsoft, Yahoo!, Canon, and Kodak—but we did it anyway. We were too excited about the future of photography and technology to be reasoned with.
Passion became our business model. Digital cameras began outselling film cameras by 2003, and within three years of launching, we became trustees for the precious photos of 50,000 customers. Meanwhile, many of our competitors—the sharing sites of trusted brands—had all but disappeared.