Dear Me

30 06 2011

Sometimes the best ideas just happen. Right there in a bar (think: Southwest Airlines). In a dorm (think: Facebook). Or in the kitchen.

And not one calorie of food was involved.

Such is the story behind Dear Photograph, the instantly viral blog that has captured the attention of media and users alike. Why? Because it tugs at every possible heart string. Love. Nostalgia. Grief. Guilt.

The central premise (and I could never have written a better tagline in a million years): Take a picture of a picture from the past in the present. If the 21-year-old founder of this delightful photo blog hasn’t yet registered this one, he had better walk, no run, to the nearest trademark attorney. This is priceless.

So priceless that I assigned my MBA Marketing students with the task of developing a marketing plan for it.

Founder Taylor Jones is being courted and wooed by all manner of companies who also sense he is onto something special here. Books. TV show. Heck, I can see limitless merchandising opportunities here. Calendars. Coffee mugs. T-shirts.

The best part? It is all user-generated content, and once you upload it to his site, he gets unrestricted use of it. Sheer genius.

Maybe it’s the fact that I am over 50 that this idea resonated so well. Dear Photograph is time travel of the first degree, for it allows folks, albeit by careful positioning, to go back in time. To see themselves. To see loved ones. To see how far everyone (and everything) has come along.

The one thing I want my students to realize is that this could have been them. One of my recent lectures was on home-based businesses. If this isn’t one of those, I don’t know what it is. It also shows them and the world that not all of the good ideas are taken yet. Sometimes they just happen serendipitously, like Jones did while looking at old pictures with his family. Right there in the kitchen.

Dear Photograph is just the thing I need to start digging through the thousands of old photo prints I have laying around in boxes. I can’t wait to see the way our house looked 20 years ago. I can’t wait to see my much-younger parents admiring their son’s new home. And I can’t wait to see my grandparents again. Even if I cannot match up an old pic to a current scene in the viewfinder, Dear Photograph will have caused me to reconnect with the past. With who I was. With whose I was. And the way we were.

Even if all I’ve got is a photograph.

Dr “Picture Perfect” Gerlich


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