In-Image Text Tagging: The Backstory

I ran my first half marathon in 2008. I was 14 and one day old.

I had come off of my first two seasons of cross country and track, lost a my baby fat, and it was the farthest I had ever run in my life at the time. I was really proud of my accomplishment, despite barely being able to walk around school the next few days.

I wanted photos of it because even though my mom did come to see me (of course!) she couldn’t be everywhere at once on a 13.1 mile race course. This is when I learned that for the bargain price of about $40 in 2008, I could pay this company to be able to download the 6 or 8 photos of me that they took at this large race. You would look yourself and your photos up by race bib number on their website after the race, and proceed to be [what felt like] extorted to get a copy of largely unflattering photos of yourself accomplishing something you were proud of.

Fast forward a few years, I’m in college taking a course on Technology Venture Finance. For this class we had to create a full business plan for an idea. Well, my idea was to use all the people like my mom who came out to the race route to see the one person they knew, in order to crowd-source photos of all participants. The problem with that is, how do people find the photos of themselves. No one is reasonably going to manually flip through thousands of photos to find a half dozen that might be of them, and are largely unflattering (flattering running photos are about 1/500, but they are gold when found). Enter technology.

There are a lot of smaller, local track clubs and races who can’t afford to have that big national company come photograph their races, but they do take photos. You’re still left with the problem of sifting through every photo manually to find the images of you in the race. Enter SnapSpaces 🎉. We realize this feature may not be useful to people hosting a wedding. But it’s part of our journey and how we’ve arrived where we are today.

We offer this feature so that local track clubs, kennel clubs, triathlons, dance marathons– anyone hosting an event where participants have identifiable number bibs or clear name tags could be empowered to take a lot of photos and allow their guests to quickly and easily find themselves, download them, and share them on social media.

In recent years our local track club has started putting a watermark on all the photos they upload to social media, when they use a solution like SnapSpaces, they will eliminate the issue of engagement because people don’t want to flip through 800 photos looking for six of themselves. Because of their watermark, photos downloaded from their SnapSpaces and shared on social will raise awareness of them and their races. Win, win.

The first half, photo courtesy of mom.

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