Twitpic founder to share his site's story

By Leah Betancourt - email

CHARLESTON, SC (WTOC) - It's a classic scenario that drives web developers to build a project. Find a solution to a problem you're trying to fix.

That's exactly what the Noah Everett, founder of the Twitter photosharing site Twitpic Inc., did when he launched the site in February 2008.

"Originally, Twitpic was a weekend project. I spent a weekend building it to solve my own need. I wanted to share my own photos on Twitter and there was no way to do that at the time," he told WTOC.

For about 15 months, Everett was running Twitpic himself on nights and weekends outside of his full-time job. It was that year that Twitpic's growth exploded. The photosharing site hit worldwide mainstream exposure when Twitpic user Janis Krums posted a breaking news photo of US Airways flight 1549 landing in the Hudson River in January 2009.

Everett quit his full-time job to run the site. He and four other employees, which include his parents, make up his company. He said Twitpic hit $1.5 million in advertising revenue in 2009 and that the site is growing by 35,000 new users every day.

He moved to Charleston from Tulsa, Okla., in April 2009, although he is originally from North Carolina. Everett's parents will be joining him in Charleston to help him run his company.

Everett will be in Savannah the first week in November. He'll be the keynote speaker at the second annual Geekend conference, where he will share the story of Twitpic. The conference runs Nov. 4-6.

"I'm a firm believer that we all have something we were made to do; we are passionate about doing," he said. "Sometimes, people take a safe route when it comes to career paths and do something they think, 'OK I can do this over x amount of years, and it will pay pretty well and be secure.' They're not really pursuing their passion and it kind of stifles them. So I'd hope to encourage them to pursue what you really want to do and pursue your passion and I believe the money will follow."

Everett hopes to encourage people who want to get into the tech sector or startups. He said Twitpic never had to take loans or funding to keep itself going. He stressed that people don't need to get large amounts of funding and have all these resources in order to start a web-based business or startup.

"It doesn't take all this money or manpower to build something that's useful. Just go out there, start something and see where it goes," he said.

Success didn't always come to Everett. He recalled starting several websites before Twitpic, including one that he spent several years working on, which flopped.

"No matter what, I always enjoyed building something. I always enjoyed putting something out there and having the creativity of doing that," he said. "I always say, focus less on being the entreprener and focus more on just going out and doing something."

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