About a month ago, Shozu announced that their formerly free iPhone application would have a price hike. Intrigued, I plunked down the $4.99 needed to buy it, and gave it a whirl. It works well, allowing you to shoot photos or video, and upload them for sharing, immediately, to over 51 destinations. Moreover, it builds in a replication mechanism. For example, you can upload to Flickr, and it will automatically replicate the content on Facebook. Efficient on bandwidth, time, and your wallet! Shozu even functions as a kind of micro social media application, allowing comments to come back from your friends.
So I jumped at the opportunity to chat with Shozu Chairman and CEO Chris Wade. A serial entrepreneur Wade joined Shozu as Chairman toward the end of last year, and became CEO about 30 days ago.
Wade has made it a focus to find new ways to make money from Shozu. Historically, they’ve made money by licensing to handset manufacturers, a model he feels won’t scale well due to the small number of manufacturers. They’ve also tried ad models, which he feels are immature.
With the introduction of their $4.99 price point on June 4th, the company shifted its focus from the handset manufacturer to the end user. Wade likes the app store because not only can you make money, but it’s also an instant source of feedback on the product. Plus, he says that charging for the application “ensures the survivability of Shozu”, and that they will continue to update it. In this environment, he doesn’t believe that the model of funding via VC’s is viable any more. Focusing on the end user means that they have to “worry about customer support, and worry about the evolution of the product”, rather than the next funding round.
Wade also provided some interesting insight into who we share with and how. Shozu users can upload to 51 destinations on the web, but the average is just 3.5. And the #1 destination? Not Flickr, not Facebook, not MySpace…. but email. Sharing with the world is eclipsed by simply sharing with friends and family.