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Ted Murphy

Dogfish Head Brewery

Great Beer

I love beer. It is delicious and apparently good for you (or at least that is what I tell myself). Nothing is better than drinking an ice cold beer on my dock at the end of a long week. Perhaps my favorite microbrewery right now is Sam Calagione’s Dogfish Head Brewery. Dogfish Head grabbed my attention when I tasted their eccentric 60 minute IPA years ago, but they earned my faithful dedication when I had the rare 120 minute IPA. With 18% alcohol by volume, one bottle of 120 minute and you are….”relaxed”.

dogfish_head_sam_calagioneGreat Entreprenuer

The microbrewery’s humble origins can be traced back to 1995, when Calagione founded the company in Milton, Delaware. Calagione entered the brewing industry after imbibing the craft beers he was serving at a bar in New York City. The richly nuanced flavors inspired him to pursue his own microbrewery. The company’s line-up featured seasonal varieties, including Punkin Ale, a sweet brown ale with hints of pumpkin, and Chicory Stout, which is an amalgam of Mexican cocoa, licorice, St. John’s Wort and finely roasted chicory.

Calagione’s innovative mind has remained the backbone of thecompany. He refuses to monitor the actions of Dogfish Head’s brewing rivals; instead, all brews are personally concocted, and Calagione forces the competition to constantly catch up with their clever blends. He spends his time “roaming” in industries outside of beer to get inspiration. His company seeks artistic overlap, and forges collaborations with anyone who shares their creative interests. They have formed an alliance with The Grateful Dead, which subsequently culminated in a themed beer known as American Beauty. Like most of their beer, this pale ale also packs a vicious punch.

The company earned widespread notoriety with the inception of their India Pale Ale line in 2001. The first beer introduced in this series was Dogfish’s 90 Minute IPA. Outside of the 120 Minute IPA, it delivers one of the most full-bodied experiences you will find. The name of the product refers to the length of time it is boiled for hops infusion. A lighter variety appeared in 2003, known as the 60 Minute IPA, which was my first introduction to Dogfish.

The success of these beers facilitated a national expansion for the brand. As a result, their manufacturing output increased by massive proportions. From a dream… to a micro brewing powerhouse. They now brew 75,000 barrels of beer annually with a loyal following of craft beer lovers.

Silvercar Wants to Take the Suckiness out of Car Rental

silvercar_logoEver rented a car from the airport and waited forever in a long line only to get the cheap leftovers? Yeah, we’ve all been there and said some things we shouldn’t have to the poor attendant at the car rental counter.

After repeatedly experiencing this same frustration, Todd Belveal and Bill Diffenderffer were inspired to create a hassle-free, customer-centric alternative. Together, with a small group of industry and technology experts, they launched Silvercar in March 2012 and never looked back. Disruption is the name of the game, and Silvercar is leading innovation in the airport car rental industry, harnessing technology to simplify the process and abolish the “take-what’s-left” notion for good.

A4 Awesomeness

From reservation to return, Silvercar has re-imagined the airport car rental process to ensure the best customer experience. Take their fleet of premium cars, for instance, made up of only one make and model – a silver Audi A4. This is very smart because it benefits both the company and customers, simplifying the process of stocking inventory and preventing the variations typically found in rental pricing and features.

Not completely won over yet? Don’t worry, you will be. To rent a Silvercar, all you have to do is download their app (available for iPhone and Android devices), create a reservation, update your profile and walk to your car. Think about it, you could do the first three tasks while sitting in the airplane on the tarmac, waiting for the disembark announcement. There’s no counter or lines so, once you’ve retrieved your baggage, just walk out the door and drive off in style. Best of all, everything is wireless and paperless because your smartphone does all of the legwork – from unlocking and assessing your Silvercar to receiving your electronic receipt.

And since Silvercar is all about the customer, they made sure not to skimp on complementary features. When you rent a Silvercar, you can expect the following luxuries to come standard:

  • Navigation system

  • SiriusXM satellite radio

  • Wi-fi hotspot

  • Bluetooth pairing

  • Audi quattro all-wheel drive

  • Leather seats

  • Roadside safety assistance

  • Toll tracking – Silvercar remotely searches for toll fees associated with your Audi A4 and bills them to your account.

Gone are the days of having to scramble to fill up your rental’s tank before you drop it off or pay double to have the rental company take care of fueling. As soon as your Silvercar enters the return area, they use fuel sensors to calculate the exact amount of gas in your tank. The company only charges customers for the fuel used during the rental period. Not only that, but they calculate their fuel charge at the local premium fuel rate, plus a flat $5 fill-up fee.

silvercar_foundersBorn in Texas

Based in Austin, Texas and under CEO Luke Schneider’s leadership, Silvercar has four Texas airport locations at Austin Bergstrom International, Dallas/Fort Worth International, Dallas Love Field and, its newest addition, William P. Hobby in Houston. After selling out of their inventory during SXSW, the company decided to keep a large Texas presence; however, they are expecting to be in seven different markets by the end of 2013. So far, no details have been released regarding what those seven markets are, but, I would love to see them expand to SFO or LAX (I’m itching to try Silvercar out during my business trips).


The privately held startup has grown immensely thanks to funding from some of the world’s most influential investors, led by Austin Ventures. As of July 2013, the startup has amassed $16.5M in total funding, which will help fund the company’s rapid expansion during the remainder of the year.

Silvercar has great potential. Although, those looking for a larger vehicle might not be willing to sacrifice space for simplicity and unbeatable features, so it’s definitely a program tailored for a specific type of traveler. However, as soon as the company expands outside of Texas and more people learn of its streamlined benefits, it will only be a matter of time before travelers come to expect it at every airport – hell, I’m ready for it to be at every airport! Stay tuned and make sure to follow Silvercar on Twitter @silvercar to receive updates on location announcements and promotional codes for discounted rentals.

The History of Starbucks

For the past few years, I have had a love-hate relationship with Starbucks. I love their coffee – LOVE. I hate how expensive and addictive it is. Nonetheless, I find myself repeatedly going back for my venti iced vanilla latte after brief stints of swearing it off. Starbucks has a $50 Billion market cap, did $13 billion in sales in 2012, has over 149,000 employees, over 4 million followers on Twitter and over 34 million likes on Facebook. I have been amazed by what they have been able to accomplish, so I decided to take a brief look at their history and their prospects for the future.


Starbucks was founded in 1971 by three business partners that had met during college. From 1971 to 1976, the company had one location in Seattle. At first, they specialized in whole bean coffees, but later moved to espresso drinks and other beverages. By 1986, the company had expanded to six locations in the Seattle area. In 1987, the three founders sold the company to Howard Schultz, a former employee who remains at the helm today (though there were some other CEOs over the years). The company also opened its first stores outside Seattle in 1987, with the 11 locations initially selling only coffee by the pound. By 1989 there were 46 stores across the Northwest and Midwest in 1989 and Starbucks was roasting over 2,000,000 pounds of coffee a year. The first Starbucks location outside North America opened in Tokyo, Japan, in 1996.

Over the last 40 years, the company has expanded to over 20,000 stores in 62 countries around the globe – that is an average of two store openings per day… astonishing.


There is a reason why Starbucks is the largest coffee house chain in the world. The main attraction is the addictive whole-bean coffees – lets be honest, they sell a drug… albeit a legal one. But Starbucks is more than coffee; customers can grab a sandwich, a glass of tea or a fruity summer beverage when they stop by. I am personally a fan of their spinach feta wrap and their protein bistro box. Starbucks also wants to be the “Second Place” for their guests; the first place they choose to go beyond their home. They were starbucks_stockamong the first chains to offer free WiFi and power outlets to their customers, something others have tried to replicate. The company is also dedicated to several philanthropic causes, donating funds to help causes near to the company’s heart. Starbucks provides premium benefits to their employees, which they call “partners.” Full-time and part-time employees are eligible for health insurance benefits, stock purchasing and 401K plans, as well as free coffee and discounts on merchandise.


The future of Starbucks is bright and the stock has been on a tear for 5 years (this chart compares Starbucks to McDonalds). The company recently celebrated its 40th anniversary with Howard Schultz leading the way. Starbucks is currently transitioning and creating a new image, starting with the recent release of a new company logo. Business analysts predict even higher profits and strong growth for the company. While sales in the specialty coffee market are decreasing, Starbucks is increasing sales and profits. Over the last quarter, the company increased sales by at least 6% across the board in both the United States and international sales figures.

DARPA Atlas : The Robots are Coming

For more than fifty years the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been quietly developing new technologies for military defense. As an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense, DARPA has remained (mostly) under the radar for those interested in robotics, but that recently changed when DARPA announced the creation of Atlas, a six-foot humanoid robot.

Atlas is very mobile, designed to navigate through rough outdoor terrain. The bipedal robot can walk, leaving the “arms” free to manipulate its environment. Reminiscent of “The Terminator” without his skin, Atlas has hands that are articulated and sensitive enough to use human tools with sufficient strength and coordination to climb. Currently Atlas requires access to a power supply to remain functional. A flexible tether is used to keep the robot plugged in to run the components which include a laser range finder and stereo cameras for “eyes”.


Despite its alarming appearance, the primary purpose of Atlas is to test situations that would be considered too dangerous for humans to navigate (at least for now). Several copies of the robot have been provided to finalists in the DARPA Robotics Challenge which is designed to help create and evolve machines that can cope with disasters and conditions that are hazardous such as nuclear plant accidents. The seven teams that have made it to this point have been given the task of programming Atlas to be able to accomplish activities such as drive a vehicle, break through a flat surface or open and close a valve.

Atlas was developed by Boston Dynamics, an engineering company specializing in robotics and software that emulates human activity. The company has released several fascinating robots included one that climbs vertical surfaces and a chemical robot that changes shape, allowing it to move through tight spaces. Other products simulate human movement and are used to train law enforcement or evaluate equipment such as body armor.

Robots are just one small part of what DARPA is developing. One of their projects is to create a “fighting network” to improve the effectiveness and adaptability of the military. The Strategic Technology Office is also actively pursuing communications networks, electronic warfare, surveillance and reconnaissance technologies.

Skynet, anyone?

My Father, Hyperloop & Execution

The pursuit of faster travel has always been at the forefront of human desire. From horse to car, train to plane – anything that can reliably get us from point A to point B in less time has the potential to dramatically impact our world. Faster travel increases global commerce, reduces economic friction and engenders richer lives for all of us by exposing us to new ideas and cultures.

Last week the Internet was abuzz about Elon Musk and his forthcoming Hyperloop concept. When I saw it my jaw dropped.

H-O-L-Y Shit.

I was stunned. Why? Because it is something I have been hearing about this idea since I was a little kid. My father envisioned a train that would “float on air” and travel hundreds of miles per hour between distant locations. I have the image on the below left as well as the image at top hanging in my home office on the wall. These images, hand painted in the 1960s, are a constant reminder of my father’s creativity and vision. They are one of my most prized possessions. For more on that read this post from a few years ago.


What my dad understood way back then was that in order for a train to reach maximum speed the entire thing would need to be enclosed in a frictionless tube. He also told me that the “cars” could either be connected or independent, since the entire thing would be powered by thousands of linear motors, rather than a single engine.

I have seen many train designs that have made me think of my father over the years, but when I read about Hyperloop I choked up a bit. I said to myself out-loud “H-O-L-Y Shit. Elon is going to build it and I am going to take my dad for a ride!”

tom_murphyVision vs. Execution

Many visionaries have ideas, but we often don’t have the resources necessary to execute the master plan. The successful visionaries figure that out. My father wound up scaling down his idea and eventually selling the company for a nice win – knowing he was missing the big opportunity. He knew he could see the future, but he also knew that it wasn’t going to be attainable any time soon. His challenge was three fold :

  1. He wouldn’t be able to raise the capital needed to build out the infrastructure.
  2. The technology available made the solution too expensive (or didn’t exist).
  3. There wasn’t a perceived value or need.

Fifty years later, Musk is in a totally different situation.

  1. He has the track record required to raise huge amounts of money.
  2. The technology to build out the infrastructure exists and is relatively inexpensive.
  3. Most importantly – Our world now needs a solution like this in order to survive long term.

The global population has doubled from 3 to 6 billion people since the 1960s and will be at 8 billion by 2020. Our airspace and roads are increasingly congested and inefficient. The pollution we are generating is not sustainable for our planet. We need a reliable, high speed transportation that is eco-friendly and inexpensive enough for the masses. Hyperloop could very well be the answer.

Timing is Everything

elon_muskOne of the most common mistakes that entrepreneurs make is that they are often too early for the market (something I have been guilty of a few times myself). The financial, technological and consumer components that are required for ultimate success aren’t all in place. I believe Musk innately understands this concept and is able to time his entrepreneurial endeavors perfectly. He is always an early pioneer, but not so early that he needs to wait decades for things to fall into place.

He did it with PayPal, then Tesla and SpaceX. None of those companies were the first at what they do, but they timed the market right and did it better than their competitors.

Does Musk have it right again? If I had to place a bet I would say yes. Hyperloop is a long time coming – I just hope it is done fast enough for me to take my father for a ride.

Mattermark Wants to Help VCs Pick Winning Startups

In order for VCs to compete for deals, they have to actively prospect people, companies and trends well before events like Y Combinator’s Demo Day. Fortunately, many VCs are able to parse through data using software to quantify signals of growing and potentially lucrative startups. One such software company is Mattermark. The company was founded this past June by Danielle Morrill, who previously founded Referly, an online service that offered simple tools for collecting, sharing and tracking links across the web. After Referly shut down and became Mattermark, Morrill’s husband Kevin Morrill and business partner Andy Sparks joined her as co-founders – a great pivot in my opinion.

mattermarkMattermark provides an early-warning system in order to identify and win deals. The software provides VCs with the ability to access data from Twitter, news sites, SEC filings, LinkedIn, AngelList, Crunchbase, and the company’s own proprietary Startup Index in order to spot potential opportunities and track existing startups.For example, Mattermark can identify a startup that is receiving a lot of organic Twitter mentions for early-stage investors.

Currently, Mattermark quantifies the growth signals of 150,000+ private companies and allows for downloadable custom reports, real-time updates, specific filtering, and easy organization and tracking of companies by stage, vertical and geography. The software also can be used to research the background of a potential investment or generate sales leads for clients. Right now, the paid pro account provides full access to all of the aforementioned features, while the free subscription provides a weekly newsletter and access to all company leaderboards. In the future, Mattermark hopes to build custom applications for certain firms.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Mattermark has received $1 million in seed funding. The company is backed by Andreessen Horowitz, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Ignition Partners, 500 Startups, Jeff Lawson (CEO of Twilio), Dave McClure (founding partner of 500 Startups) Elliot Loh, Eileen Burbidge, Ullas Naik, Michael Liou, Damien Tanner, Matt Monahan, and Carter Rabasa. Fun fact: Andreessen Horowitz, Ignition and NEA all use the application internally. Since the company is so new I foresee a lot more financial backing over the next year. If the VCs see value in the tool they will be likely to reinvest. It’s only a matter of time before the software helps a VC firm discover the next Instagram or Facebook.

I interviewed Danielle Morrill, CEO & Cofounder:

What was your goal in creating Mattermark?

To create a company that is the equivalent of Bloomberg for startups; providing investors with the tools to discover, research and track startups. Additionally we feel investing in private companies is becoming more democratized and want to support new angels, high net worth individuals and others who are exploring alternative investments for the first time.


What is one assumption that you made when you started that turned out to be completely wrong?

We expected the internal processes and tools of our customers would be much more sophisticated than they actually are today. Most of the time we are working with people who have happily relied on spreadsheets in their firms, sometimes for decades. It’s easy to forget when working in a small technology startup that many more established companies have vastly different business processes. We approach it like anthropologists now, instead of trying to change everything we are more interested in understanding what works and learning why things are the way they are. It is fascinating.

What problem would you like to solve for VCs that you haven’t yet?

We are very early, having launched just 4 weeks ago. The most important problem we want to solve is saving VCs and other startup investors time when they are sourcing new investment opportunities. If an investor does one deal because of information they found in Mattermark each year then the tool is already paying for itself.

In what creative ways are VCs using the data you provide them?

I can’t share that yet, but hopefully we will be able to offer some whitepapers in the future. Startups are relatively long term investments, so it may take until we see some wins before we can tell these stories.

You seem to be a bit of a startup junkie. What draws you to them? 

It’s funny you say that, because I feel like it is impossible to know about even 5% of the startup companies out there. I’m drawn to the ability to shape something that didn’t exist before. Not just the product but the company itself, the work environment, team, culture, processes. I’ve also loved working in big companies, but I think in startups you can do in a month what in other companies can take years. I love the creative process, and making it my actual work instead of just a hobby is the most incredible opportunity in life.

Native Advertising Was Born in 2006

Screen shot 2013-07-18 at 1.10.07 PMThere has been an incredible amount of buzz around “native advertising” as of late. Many agencies, brands and social networks are touting their concepts for sponsored posts as something new and disruptive. The reality is that the mainstream is just now starting to join a revolution that began with the launch of PayPerPost some seven years ago. That development team (now IZEA) and it’s network of bloggers were the real disruptors. They were the pioneers, the futurists… the visionaries. I want to also thank the people and the brands that took the leap of faith in the early years (even if most of them never wanted to go on record with the press).

I am elated that native advertising is becoming more mainstream everyday, but lets be clear…

Before Forbes was being praised (2013) for their adoption of sponsored blog posts they skewered me personally (2006) for creating the first marketplace that did the same thing. Forbes was not alone. I was attacked by Shel Israel, Jason Calcanis, Robert Scoble and a host of publications from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal and WIRED. I was “the devil” for monetizing the content stream and called “the most evil person in the room” by Mike Arrington during a keynote at MESH.

ap-samsung-sponsored-tweetNearly seven years after the launch of PayPerPost and four years after the launch of SponsoredTweets the Associated Press launched their very first sponsored tweet. Advertisers can now buy sponsored stories on Facebook and sponsored posts on the biggest blogs on the web including Gawker (who also attacked), and Buzzfeed to name a few. Is this new thinking? Hardly. Does it still have the opportunity to be disruptive as hell? You bet your ass it does.

We are still in the nascency of native advertising. The past seven years were all about evangelism, education and acceptance among brands, influencers and mainstream publishers. I consider 2006-2012 to be my warmup mile in a long marathon. It is time to increase the pace and lengthen my stride.

The Two Flavors of Native Advertising

Native advertising comes in many forms, some of them questionable as to being anything different than a display ad. There are two flavors of native advertising, each with their own advantages and disadvantages  The common thread between the two is their placement within the content, be that in a blog, a Twitter feed or YouTube video.

Promoted Content
This form of native advertising injects an advertiser crafted message directly into your stream. Think of this as the promoted tweet you may have seen from a major brand on Twitter. You may or may not follow the advertiser, but you see their tweet anyway. This is very simliar to what Facebook does with their promoted stories.

Sponsored Influence
This form of native advertising also appears in the content stream, but it is created by an individual publisher or influencer on behalf of the brand. The Influencer lends their voice and their personal relationship with their audience to the ad placement. One is only privy to the sponsored content if they follow the influencer who has partnered with the brand.


What Native is Missing

Both sides of the native grid have huge potential, but the big money is ultimately in Sponsored Influence. Why? Because Influencers (or publishers) can charge a premium for the creation of custom content and integrating a branded message directly into their stream. Promoted content is priced largely based on CPMs or CPCs which will continue to be a race to the bottom.

The problem is that everyone is scratching their heads trying to figure out how to achieve scale, including AOL CEO Tim Armstrong. It is a very, very complex issue that few companies can tackle because they live in a world of banner ads and CPMs. Getting out of that mindset isn’t easy which is why it has taken so long for agencies and media companies to realize that there is any opportunity here to begin with.

The Next Disruptor

IZEA was born in the world of native advertising – dare I say, we created it. We have watched as the advertising and media worlds have slowly adapted to our way of thinking. There is now an abundance of opportunity in this space, but most people don’t understand how to capture it. They haven’t done what we have done. They are focused on replicating what they have seen, rather than creating something that is a new approach altogether.

In the backrooms of the IZEA offices, amid piles of schematics and scribbles, a new product has been slowly coming to life since October of last year. It is the most ambitious undertaking I have ever been a part of and it will once again cause shockwaves of disruption in our industry.

Game on.

The Rules for Raising Money Have Changed

greenberg_traurig_logoOn July 10, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted rule amendments that eliminate the 80-year old prohibition on general solicitation and general advertising in Rule 506 and Rule 144A transactions under the Securities Act of 193. This announcement has created a huge ripple in the investment community and will lead to a wealth of new opportunities for startups seeking capital. The short story – you will soon be able to advertise the fact that you are raising money.

spencer_feldmanI pinged IZEA‘s corporate counsel, Spencer Feldman of Greenberg Traurig about the change in policy. Spencer concentrates his practice in the areas of initial public offerings, follow-on offerings, shelf takedowns, confidentially marketed offerings, registered directs, PIPEs and other private financings. He is a leading mind in finance law and has been selected for inclusion in the 2012 New York Metro edition of Super Lawyers, Securities & Corporate Finance section. Our interview below:

Does this mean that anyone can openly advertise that they are raising money for their company?

First, let me tell you that these new SEC rules represent a significant evolution of the longstanding principle of the SEC’s Securities Act that a sale of common stock or any other security has to be made either to the general public through a registered public offering or to selected “accredited investors” through a private placement. Under the new rules, a private unregistered offering can soon include general solicitation and advertising so long as the actual sale of the stock is restricted only to “accredited investors” under new Rule 506(c) (whom the company has reasonably verified).

As to your question, yes, anyone can openly advertise that they are raising money for their company, but no company will be able to rely on Rule 506 if any of its executive officers, directors, promoters, placement agents or any principal stockholder is a felon or “bad actor.” This term is defined in the new rules.

What type of marketing activities are permitted? Can I put an ad in the paper that says I am raising $10M, call me if you want to invest?

Permitted marketing activities would include solicitation of potential investors and advertising through websites, social media, newspapers, television and radio. Yes, while the ad you suggest covers the gist of the new rules, companies need to be mindful that the anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws still apply to misleading advertising and the SEC has announced stepped-up monitoring in this new area (they have created a Microcap Fraud Task Force). There are also proposed new rules to require disclaimers in sale materials, submission of offering materials to the SEC and enhanced Form D disclosures.

 Can anyone invest in these offerings?

As I mentioned before, the actual investors in the private placement must be “accredited investors” under new Rule 506(c). It is the company’s responsibility to reasonably verify through a number of acceptable methods that the investors, in fact, reach this so-called sophistication level. However, to be clear, merely offering stock to someone who is not accredited will not negatively affect the exemption.

Are there different rules for public and private companies?

No – the rules relate to private placements by both publicly-traded and privately-held companies.

I have seen many blog posts talking about this as if the rules are already in effect. Is that true?

Actually, the rules are NOT in effect yet. The new rules take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, which could be as early as this week. I would expect the rules to be effective in September sometime.

In your opinion is this a good thing or a bad thing?

I think there is no question that the new rules should facilitate much broader access to the capital markets for a wide variety of companies, both public and private, but especially for small-caps. Also, remember, elimination of the ban on general solicitation and advertising opens the door for the growth of the crowdfunding industry, which is the SEC’s next rulemaking initiative.

The opinions expressed in this blog post are his own and should not be relied upon by companies or their potential investors without consultation with appropriate counsel.

Orlando’s Own Lean Domain Search Acquired by Automattic

automattic-logoOrlando based Lean Domain Search, a domain search platform, has been acquired by Automattic, the parent company of Founder Matt Mazur launched the service on Hacker News in January 2012. At Automattic, Mazur will help the team to make it “even easier for users to find and register great domain names for their websites and blogs.”

The terms of the deal were not disclosed. The site will continue to run and now be offered completely free.

Congratulations to Matt! I love seeing Orlando entrepreneurs succeed!

1.5 Billion Photos Taken Every Day

The Growth of Digital Photography

Over the past two decades, owning a digital camera has shifted from being a rare luxury to an essential commodity for most Americans. Whether you are using a point and shoot, SLR or simply a camera phone chances are you take at least one photo per day on average.

cameraAn engineer for Kodak, Steven Sasson, actually invented the first digital camera back in 1975. Despite being far more basic than the digital cameras today, it was much too expensive to be made available on the commercial market. The first Kodak digital cameras did not reach the market until 1990, and they still held a price tag of about $13,000.

Within a few years, other companies released their digital cameras, often boasting that they could hold 5-10 photos at one time. At this point, they were still much too expensive for most Americans. Digital cameras that were considered “cheap” were still priced upwards of $600 and produced very low quality images. During the last half of the 1990s, digital photography gained technological momentum, and competing companies gradually lowered their prices.

My First Digital Camera

I purchased my first digital camera in 1999. It was a Nikon Coolpix E950, it had a retail price of $899 and took 1.9 megapixel photos. I had a 8 megabyte compact flash card, which allowed me to store about 21 photos in JPEG mode (less than a roll of film) or one (yes, 1) photo as a TIFF. Below is one of the first photos I took with my E950, compared to a photo I took with my Canon Rebel T3i a few months ago.

1999_photo 2013_photo

The Death of Film

As a child I remember developing film in a dark room with my father. He always had a fascination with all things related to photography and motion pictures. At the same time, he was also an early adopter and bread that same spirit into me. Once I took my first digital photo I knew there was no going back.

As digital camera technology advanced and prices dropped, people like me bought fewer traditional film cameras. Photo enthusiasts were drawn to the ease and convenience of snapping several photographs without needing to buy and develop additional rolls of film. Early in the new millenium, digital camera sales finally overtook film camera sales for the first time. Nowadays, digital photography is the standard and photography classes are teaching technology that focuses on enhancing digital photos.

While the United States is still a top consumer of digital cameras, Western Europe and Japan are also large consumers gaining momentum. Warren Struhl, founder of Polaroid Fotobar, claims that roughly 1.5 billion digital photographs are taken every day. Over 300 million photos are uploaded to Facebook everyday alone.

Most Popular Cameras in the Flickr Community


Camera Brands used in the Flickr Community


A Missed Opportunity

While Kodak was an early pioneer in digital photography technology their dependence on the sale of film and film cameras caused them to lose the arms race in the digital era. Kodak is no longer the dominant camera company and had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early 2012. During the new millennium, Canon cameras experienced a rapid increase in popularity, producing several of the world’s best-selling digital cameras (including the one I carry every day). Nikon, Sony, and Panasonic are also producing excellent SLRs. Even the little camera in your iPhone is capable of producing some pretty amazing shots.

Thinking back on the amazing advances over the past 20 years, one can only imagine what digital photography will be like in the next 20 years. My hope is that 3D photography advances at the same rate as digital photography has.