Flag's Kickstarter to build the world's best photo printing facility

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/08/25/flags-kickstarter-to-build-t.html

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Link leads me to a 404 page

Joel, I love a lot that you do, but I’m disappointed you’re working with Flag.

I’m one of the backers of their first campaign, which is now about 2 years late with providing the rewards they promised.

Sam and the Flag team have consistently over-promised and under-delivered, and now they want another half-million to “complete” the job? Puh-lease.

Anyone considering backing this campaign, I’d encourage you to read the slew of unhappy comments on their first campaign.


Dang, that makes me really reconsider, thanks for your comment, I hadn’t even thought to check the original. Two years is a long time, even for Kickstarter.

Reading some of the comments, am I to understand that every photo has to go through the mobile app and have GPS data? So my DSLR shots need to go through several additional steps? Blech.


That’s fair. I’m an original backer of Flag, too, and I only recently got my first set of prints. (Which are great.) As a backer, I haven’t liked the cadence of updates nor the delays. I’m trying to help them fix that.

Like a lot of Kickstarted companies, I think they got in over their heads, not only by biting off a huge project but also underestimating (and under-raising) the amount of capital they would need to service the first goals, especially considering the foreseeable but still unaccountable SNAFUs that come with a new business with a new process.

I also believe there is a lot to recommend in the model, and I think the upsides just as a user of the platform (at full steam) are great: I would easily use 20 high-quality free prints a month.

I don’t think they’re really expecting existing backers to be involved in the new Kickstarter, and I think you have every right to be skeptical considering the slow deployment and the nature of Kickstarted businesses in general. They obviously haven’t nailed everything, but I respect their pluck in trying to keep going and to ask for the actual resources they need to do things right moving forward and to address the over-promises of the first round. (Like getting the Android app deployed, even though they under-budgeted for it by at least 3x, by my reckoning.)

If you want to email me (joel@scircumstances.com) with the email address you used I can talk to the production people and track down your prints. And thanks for saying nice things about me even when you’re frustrated. :slight_smile:


There’s a couple of reasons for that workflow. The first is just that the iOS app is the main development track now, so things like account-based web uploads would be a distraction. (Although an obvious future feature.) The other is that the ad-based model relies in part on lat/long data similar to how online display ads do. In a fully realized future version of the platform, I could see both of those things being optional, but right now the development pipeline is very focused on one funnel. Perfectly reasonable if that’s not a funnel you want to use, though!

HI Joel!

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So as one of the millions of Android users it’s not for me, got it. Best of luck.


account-based web uploads would be a distraction.

This is the world we live in, where general-purpose web-based services are “distractions” from walled-garden apps. Sigh.


I like the upfront mention that this post is for your client, but what is this, a press release? An advertorial? A paid Boing Boing ad? A favor to an erstwhile Boing Boing editor?

The comany sounds interesting, but as I’ve just learned from the replies and, curiously, not from the OP, as a non-iOS user the product is completely unusable by me. That’s kind of a big deal to omit as it applies to lots of people, not just me.


A favor to me, I guess! I suppose I could have put more details in the post, but I wasn’t trying to replicate the Kickstarter page, either.

An Android app is planned for December, FWIW. (It has been long-delayed, and like any project like this could be delayed again.) iOS-only (or app-only) isn’t the long-term plan, but you’ve got to start somewhere.


A distraction after a platform decision has been made, to be sure. In this business model, though, I don’t think the “walled garden” nature of the iOS App Store is a benefit nor hindrance. Ultimately it’s a scale-based business, so any and all funnels into the service itself would eventually be useful.

What form does the advertising take? Is it printed on the photograph? What are the terms and conditions regarding rights to use the photographs? Does use of the service allow the photographs to be used in advertisements or elsewhere?

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The ads are on the back of the prints. The photos (and the images themselves obviously) are yours and are not shared with advertisers or relicensed or anything like that.

Thank you. What is the data retention policy? How long are the images/photographs stored? How long is the personal information and location data stored? With what organizations could it be shared? I’m assuming that they’ll need that data stored in order to back up this claim:

If an advertiser wants to reach women, in Chicago, who’ve been to New York in the last 12 months we can tell them how many people fit that description and enable them to send an ad tailored to that group specifically.

How is this tracking information protected?


All great questions and ones I don’t know off-hand. (And wouldn’t want to guess.) Let me see if I can get the people who actually touch this data to answer your questions!

I’m the CEO and Founder of Flag. Thanks for the questions. I’ll attempt to give some decent answers.

  • As a startup in beta our policies and tools are evolving. We may adapt in order to do the right thing and some of the things we intend to do we can’t do at the moment.

  • Security is at the core of what we do. We don’t share user data, straight to ‘anonymized’ with advertisers. We’re a black-box and advertisers can target groups (i.e. Women over 40 in Chicago) but aren’t given that information. What you tell us stays internal.

  • We plan to make it possible for you to see the data we hold and correct it. We also will soon offer the ability to opt out of tracking 100% and pay for prints outright.

  • We will hold data as long as it’s relevant in crafting a profile and the person wants to use our free service. For different information there’s the possibility it may expire or be erased by us sooner that that.

  • Currently only our CTO has access to user data. I’m the CEO and I can’t see anything. We treat customer data as sacrosanct internally.

  • Data protection follows best practices and we intend to improve in time. Everything is encrypted end-to-end and we have also taken steps to secure things beyond that internally. Photos are incredibly precious and as we grow we know our data will be a target. It’s an area of ongoing R&D.

Thanks once again for asking.

Sam (sam@tryflag.com)


I still get a 404 page not found when i try to see the boingboing post on this ]:

Hey, while we have your ear, have you seen this chart?

Consider increasing your user base from the falling 38% market share.