Straight Talking with Photobucket CEO Tom Munro

Did you miss Tom Munro’s live interview with Inc.com on Wednesday, October 26? Tom sat down in the hot seat to field questions from Inc.com viewers to talk about the future of online phone and video storage management and how he and the Photobucket team are always updating the user experience to address and anticipate users’ needs and to make sure each experience is optimal.

For those of you not familiar with the Inc.com interview series, every Wednesday Inc does a live chat with CEOs to discuss their business and allow viewers to ask questions of CEOs. In addition to talking about the industry as a whole, Tom recapped some of the recent Photobucket stats and they are truly unbelievable – if we do say so ourselves. We host 9 billion photos – the nearest dedicated photo sharing competitor is Flickr who hosts 5 million photos to put it in perspective. We serve 3 billion photos a day and receive 65 million unique visitors to our Web site each month. A big thank you to our users who are just as passionate about photos as we are!

For those of you that missed the chat, we have summarized Tom’s interview and included a few highlights below:

How did you reinvigorate the culture at Photobucket?

This was certainly my #1 challenge – culture is always hard to change and it takes dramatic effort and action. I changed about half the team in order to reinvigorate our culture and made sure that every employee understood the Photobucket vision and what we want to convey around the user experience. We are all very passionate about what we do and truly have the desire to drive Photobucket to the next level.

Where do you see photo hosting in 5 years?

Right now, a huge number of photos are being uploaded to Facebook each day. But what’s important to note is that most people don’t upload ALL of their photos to Facebook, it’s only the few they want to share with everyone. And Facebook isn’t the only social network where people are uploading photos. Google+ and other sites are starting to become more popular. The common theme here is that users don’t have one place where all their photos reside and that is what Photobucket is trying to resolve. We are the place to store and have a record of ALL your memories through photos and videos.

How do you differentiate from Flickr?

We want photo storing and sharing to be free to a majority of our users – so that we can be the place where it’s easy and free to store all of your photos and videos.

Are there any challenges with Photobucket’s business model?

Really the most challenging part is balancing the user experience and the ads. The ads are what drive revenue for our site and allow us to keep accounts free, but I have had to pull down some ads in the past that have hurt our user experience. Our first goal is create a great user experience and to keep the site mainly free.

Remember, these are just the highlights from the interview – make sure to watch the whole video when you have a moment. You can hear more about why Tom thinks he should really be a scientist and how he can speak fluent Japanese. We also have many exciting products coming out over the next few months, so make sure to check back soon. We are confident our users will be really excited!

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