20 February 2015


Do you have the chops for working with me on a personal project? I’m looking for someone creative, resourceful, a little bit technical, and capable of being completely independent. Read carefully what follows before applying.

Elephant festival in Jaipur, India


I have taken 100,000 photos and written 200 stories, with many more on the back burner. Is there anything that could be done with them? The person I’d like to work with is expected to come up with creative answers – and execute on them – with me. I just don’t have the time to work on this on my own.


Here are some data points which made me – and should make you – ponder:

– $0.20 per year per photo is what uploading some photos on a stock photography website seven years ago (and none since) earned me on average, although the amount has been dwindling downwards in the last couple of years. Of course, I can’t claim that my 100,000 photos are all worthy of being sold, although you’d be surprised how I was able to sell the same photo multiple times by only flipping it… You can do the math and see the potential of merely considering the sale of photos on stock photography websites.

– all of my 100,000 photos are tagged (with EXIF and IPTC metadata), most of them are also rated (from zero to five stars), and they’re all already uploaded privately to my Google Drive

– cross-posting a tiny selection of my photos and stories on a new blog hosted on Blogger, as an experiment, generated some modest advertising revenue

– 350,000 people follow me on Google+ although only a tiny percentage actively engages with my content (about 10,000 passively view the content and 0.5 out of every 1,000 followers actively engages with it). Even without increasing participation, is there anything I could provide of more value to that audience, or any other online or offline audience?


I don’t necessarily need the money this project could generate but it could for instance fund photography or writing contests, or the printing of photo books or photo canvases to be given away. Of course, I wouldn’t be unhappy if the project garnered enough momentum to be self-sufficient, beyond generously rewarding your efforts and results. I’m however more interested in doing something extra out of those existing and future photos and stories, seeing them live, be transformed, reused in creative and interesting ways.

Job description

The list is not necessarily exhaustive and not everything is expected to be achieved. I’m counting on your creativity to come up with what “needs” to be done at the intersection of your own passion and my goals:


– creating a website or an app (exhibition-style, game, anything), or simply a storefront (preferably using existing photo storefronts or otherwise creating it from scratch)

– translating photo metadata into English (IPTC data are in French but you don’t necessarily need to speak French)

Processing photos:

– highlighting photos, grouping them by themes, post-processing them

Writing and being creative:

– adapting or transforming my 200 stories into new works e.g. designing mashups on Google+, creating an ad-based blog or website, printing photo books, canvases or cards

– helping me draft new stories or rewrite previous stories (in particular correcting grammatical errors)

– trying out cross-posting on various platforms, possibly adapting formats

Selling and marketing:

– proactively selling some of my content online or offline

– experimenting with different ways of increasing traffic and sales

– suggesting high-quality but still cost-efficient giveaways based out of my content e.g. photo books and canvases

Branching out:

– partnering with other photographers and writers on concrete projects

– launching a thematic exhibition (by country, style, etc.) or partnering with existing ones, in various countries (with an obvious bias towards southeast Asia)

– connecting this project with another of mine regarding cultural photo-tours (high-end tours in an exotic country to both be enthralled by the cultural guiding and learn how to go from automatic to manual mode on one's camera)

What you would get from me

A unique work experience – it may or may not be for you. People working for me either appreciate my demanding style or hate it. Beware, I have no tolerance for slack behaviour, even if this is a personal project. But I’ll be actively mentoring you, giving you plenty of feedback, and will be treating you as a sparring partner. Again watch out: the pace is going to be quick and intense, and that’s perhaps no surprise that I work at Google. I’m a perfectionist and that will drive you crazy if you’re not like me. I take things seriously so you have to find your fun in working on this project – and be able to recharge. One more thing: my humour is lame, but you’ll probably laugh because it’s so lame.


Most importantly, you need to understand and embrace the goals I’m trying to achieve, as well as truly appreciate the content I produce. Without passion, I can do nothing for you. In addition, you need to:

– be able to work completely autonomously and move forward even without clear direction 

– have excellent English writing skills (correct grammar, absence of typos)

– be able to code in HTML, JavaScript, possibly also in PHP (I scripted my metadata tagging code in PHP) 

– have post-processing skills (Photoshop or Lightroom)

– suggest ideas which are both creative and feasible

– propose a ”reasonable” compensation structure (see below)

– ideally live in or near Zürich, Switzerland (but working remotely is also possible)

– ideally have access to a good Internet connection (for manipulating large volumes of photos)


That’s up to you to suggest but I would expect it to depend on your time commitment or on the actual results that you’ll get. For instance, I could pay you a salary if you’re fully dedicated on this project for a period of time we’d agree upon. Alternatively, you may wish to be bold and be compensated merely upon getting results e.g. percentage on the gross margin of all sales and ad revenue on the first few months post launch. Be creative and we’ll negotiate.

How to apply

Send me an email at hiring@seb247.com with a link to a well-structured Google document (please give me commenting rights) explaining:

– what you understood of the goals of this project

– why you’re interested in working on it

– the ideas you have in mind and how you plan to implement them (I do expect a clear plan with timelines and realistic projections)

– the time you are capable of committing, when you’d be able to start and in which timezone you’re located in

– a summary and brief examples of your coding abilities and photo post-processing skills

– your background only as relevant to the project

– how you’d like to be compensated

The deadline to apply is set on 31st March, 2015 (update: 31st March, 2019), at midnight GMT, after which I’ll possibly conduct interviews with a shortlist of candidates. To make it more fun, I’ll automatically exclude the last application I receive before the deadline. I also reserve the right not to select anyone, nor to reply to your application (even if one of my clones probably will). And no need to be upset if you’re not selected, I have a bunch of other projects in store for which I’m equally happy to pay for them to be launched.

PS: my clones are unfortunately not eligible to be considered for this role, they lack a little bit of that human creative touch.