Those with a certain entrepreneurial-bent (and some web development talent) have the opportunity to turn ideas into money-making products in short-order, with minimal upfront costs. This is what accounts for the over 500,000 products in the Apple "Appstore" and tens of thousands of other "apps" created and sold on a daily basis.
One such application is Photo Party Upload - The Event Photography App, created by a Los Angeles-based events business who saw a need, and decided to fill it with an iPad based solution for event photographers and the marketing industry. Photo Party Upload allows event photographers to wirelessly transfer photos from their camera to their iPad. Guests can then seamlessly upload branded photos from the iPad to Facebook, Twitter, or email allowing for instand social media integration.
But in my mind, what separates Photo Party Upload from the hundreds of thousands of other apps, is an innovative revenue stream that has gotten the product funded, and distributed.
The base revenue stream asks event photographers to sign up and get all features FREE for two weeks. After two weeks, pricing starts at 10 cents per upload.
Interesting, but not INTERESTING.
Their other revenue stream is a cost-sharing / crowd sourcing agreement with their customers.
CEO Brian Miller recently told me that as the product began to be used by photographers, the company started to get requests for certain features to be added. But each new feature cost the company money to develop and integrate into the product. And, as a start-up, they didn't have a lot of upfront capital to invest.
So, they started to ask their customers who wanted the features to pay for the development costs--cost-sharing and crowdsourcing worked, and photographers were more than happy to pay a small fee to get certain features--like adding a Facebook Like button, Surveys, a Disclaimer feature, the ability to sell prints/uploads through the app to individual guests, and the ability to change "via feature" on Facebook upload.
Part "angel funding" and part cost-offset, Photo Party Upload's cost-sharing and crowd sourcing agreements really seem to be paying off.