Monday, February 11, 2008

Pixish - Stupid Is, As Stupid Does

Say you're a couple of guys who pride themselves on phrases in their bio's like "He cut his teeth at Web 0.1 companies like HotWired and Electric Minds, but didn’t learn" ( Derek Powazek, Official Title: Chief Idea Guy and “Wouldn't it be cool if…” Officer), or a coder who clearly had too much time on his hands, and when some genius missing a genetic pair said "hey, let's give away fun prizes for photo assignments", Mr. Dan Hodos, earned the title "Chief Code Guy and “Yeah, we can do that” Officer.

Who gave these guys VC money? The same thoughtful folks who gave David "that model was interesting, but didn't pan out" Norris (7/12/07, OnRequest - Realizing the Obvious)? Oh, I see, it appears that among them is Kim Garretson, Founder of Realist Venture Capital & Advisory Services, who lists in his profile that he's the "Embarrassed owner of"

Who are these people? They're beginning to sound like castaways on the island of misfit toys!

(Continued after the Jump)

Garretson, seemingly too lazy to dump more money in what he writes "As the site owner I've gotten lazy and too focused on helping other Web consumer media sites/companies...I think I want to go all-visual for the new LH and just invite communities like Pixish to contribute what they want." Wow. Way to go "all-visual!" What, pray tell, do I earn, if you choose my images? You get: "Once a month we will award a vintage rock photo from the about to launch"

Wow, let's see, a round-about site promotion - languishing (which now just points to an empty blog) posts from Realist VC needs on Pixish, which, in turn, gives away photos from an as-yet-un-launched "vintage" rock-and-roll backstage gallery. Is this what happens when people get their hands on URLs with complete words (or hip-sounding, a la Pixish) in them? Crazy though, when you Google "Realist Venture Capital", the only entry that comes up is Garretson's entry on Pixish! Drilling down, you see Garretson's entry on LinkedIn, where we learn that his specialty is "Positioning early stage companies for raising money and getting customers and distribution agreements." Yet, the sites his lists on his profile are all no-entry blogs, or single splash pages. He highlights " Founder of a a micro-venture capital fund looking at consumer lifestyle media, marketing and e-commerce deals."

Wait, is is April 1st? Come on, my calendar program must be off about 45 days, it must be. Is this a joke?

These round-robin sites must be the dot-bombs of Web 2.0, ripe to fail and wipe VC funds, right? Powazek outlines how Pixish came to be here, on his blog. We have the guy that gave to Powazek to fault for this silly flight of fancy.

Here are a sampling of the requests:
  • Fray's Geek Issue - Derek Powazek - Winners will be published in Fray issue 2. Winners will get a few copies of the book, credit and promotion on the website, and our eternal thanks.
  • A Leaf in the River Tattoo - Derek Powazek - The Details - I want your work on my body - I will paypal the winner $100 and email them a photo of their work on my arm upon completion.
  • Visual identity for a film weblog - James McNally - It's a Wordpress blog with a custom header that's ok but I'm hoping to have someone develop a better visual identity for the site. Winner: I'm willing to pay but am not sure what's fair. I could also provide some DVDs of films that I've reviewed and no longer need. Wow, used DVD's! Nice!
  • Design my blog header! - Heather Powazek Champ (that looks like a relation to Derek!) - winner gets 1 35mm Vivitar Utra Wide & Slim camera + 3 rolls of film..
  • Hmmm, sounds like someone couldn't get a taker on eBay and decided to give away their (used?) camera and some film!
I could go on, and on, and on. Instead, here are a few of the "prizes" listed for various items:

8 - "The winner will get a hearty pat on the back"; 9 - "The prize is priceless: My love and admiration. ... as soon as I have them printed up, I'll send you an Ant's Eye View t-shirt. They'll be way cool. But really, do prizes and goodies drive your craft? Are you in this game because you love to see a grown man smile?"; 11 - "You'll bring serenity, hope and joy to people who really need it. Isn't it great?"

Ok, where's Aston Kutcher?!? I must be getting Punk'd here.

I don't know that I'd even have seen this, if it hadn't been for fellow blogger Photopreneur's entry on them.

Next up? Pixish OnRequest, or Pixish CustomStock! Quick! Someone squat on those URL's! Yesterday Powazek was busy in NYC giving a talk, in part, about "Too many people see crowdsourcing as shorthand for “cheap, plentiful content.” It’s not—managing a community can be expensive and time-consuming." So, let's see, we'll pay them with our smiles-from-grown-men; love-and-admiration;t-shirts; used DVD's; and antiquated film consumer film cameras! It'll be like throwing peanuts to the zoo monkeys!

Somebody, stop the insanity!

Yes, Forrest, stupid is, as stupid does.

Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.


Anonymous said...


I used to have a fair amount of respect for Heather Champ and her hubbie Derek Powazek - from their blogs and the work they did starting JPG Magazine.

Now they've come to this?

I'm seriously boggled here.

Anonymous said...

Is it just my machine or are the pix superimposed on top of the text. Certainly makes visiting the blog more tiresome.

Anonymous said...

Heather is also a big shot at Flickr...This venture of theirs really sucks.

thechrisproject said...

How is Pixish much different from JPG Magazine, which apparently some commenters are totally okay with?

The people posting assignments on Pixish are NOT people that would be paying top dollar for work (or even a decent rate at all) so why worry at all about losing their "business"? This is a way for a bunch of like-minded amateur folk to provide each other with photos and illustrations.

Anonymous said...

A great site with lots of good info...BUT it gets awful tiring with the images appearing over text a majority of times. Please see if you can correct this in the future.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if Heather will contribute her own images to some of these Pixish assignments.

thechrisproject said...

I think is a great example of Pixish concept. Pixish is like a generalized Threadless. On threadless, the assignment is always the same: t-shirt designs. People submit them, people vote on them. The reward is actually decent, about $2500 in cash and t-shirt.

Pixish seems to want to be the generic version of it. But it's brand new and the rewards suck. Threadless has been going strong and seems to work well.

Anonymous said...

Pixish looks like the worst part of Craigslist--"Wanted-Student Photographer" etc

Anonymous said...

Whores.......25 cent whores.

Anonymous said...


JPG magazine was presented at first as something of an art magazine - showcasing talent of photobloggers and other photographers. I'm not sure what JPG has evolved into these days. Pixish is very different as its asking people to create images/illustrations for a specific assignment without being paid (unless they "win"). That's called spec work.

I'm not worried about losing "business" so much as I'm worried that clients (at any level of business) will start to want, expect and/or demand SPEC work.

Quality work costs money. You get what you pay for.

StMarc said...

Thank you for pointing out the folly of this. I posted an anecdote on an analogous topic on my blog:

Keep up the good work!


thechrisproject said...

Derek addressed this issue in a recent blog post. I'm not saying his answers are totally satisfactory, but I'm glad he's talking about them.

Anonymous said...

You're a genius. You search their membership for VC and then lambast them and those users without bothering reading (it's posted several times) that they're self-funded. BTW, great title of this blog post, in a self-describing kind of way.

And I'll safely assume that the assignment over there offering 1,000 euros won't be graced with any of your work.

Anonymous said...

> Anonymous said...
> Whores.......25 cent whores.

That'll be "publicity-seeking 25 cent whores" thank you :) I kinda like the site and yes, some of the "prizes" are a bit cheesy but there are some potentially interesting assignments there now including a logo-design for $1600.. If it gets my name out there and someone offers me an assignment then I'm happy. In the meantime I'll continue to sit by the phone and wait for a "real" client to hire me..

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