Startup Two Pitch: Pic Story

2 minute read


Make awesome photo stories, share them with anybody!


The inspiration for this comes from my frustration with Google Photos albums. Here’s a silly example album if you’ve never used the app before.

The album feature is really cool in theory: you can use it to select photos that you’ve taken and turn them into an album. You can drag images around into a custom layout, add captions, and add blocks of text in between groupings of photos. At the end you get a shareable link that you can send out to family and friends. It’s more accessible than a Facebook album, and more visually appealing than just stacking the photos one on top of the other

The problem with the product is twofold:

  1. The UI is … like, really bad. It suffers from the same affliction that most Google products of the 20-teens suffer from: 300 people built the damn thing. When you’ve got that many people in a company that big all trying to collectively produce one product, the “process” that naturally ensues will often end up squashing, scribbling out, and smoothing over anything that was remotely interesting about the product in the first place. Perversely, certain types of bad ideas are very good at surviving that kind of process, and end up being incorporated into the final product because there’s too much institutional risk to fixing them.

  2. The albums that you create have this Material UI blandness to them. There’s little opportunity for personality or expression at all: you get one single font, one single text layout, one single text color. A few photo layout possibilities: either side-by-side, or one on top of the other, or centered. That’s it. Colors? Backgrounds? Animations? Alternative alignments? Nope. No second scoop of ice cream for you. You’re lucky to even get one in the first place.

And thus, we arrive at this awesome-in-theory thing which I simply can’t happily use. I fight all the time with the mobile UI to do basic things, and I’m always nervous that experimenting with a layout or dragging something around is going to wreck things in a way that I won’t be able to fix. And not only that, once I’m finished fighting with the UI, my final product ends up being flavorless and uninspiring.

So I want to make it better!


The MVP (minimum viable product) for the app will let you do the following:

  • Sign up for an account
  • Upload photos
  • Make photo story albums for those photos
  • Add photos to those albums with a variety of custom, easy-to-use layouts
  • Add text in between photos, with options for customizing style and layout
  • Get a shareable link for the stories that you can send to anyone freely

And that’s it! I hope in the end to have something which:

  1. Is way easier to use than Google Photo albums
  2. Produces more interesting and vibrant albums than Google Photo albums
  3. Has some “anti-FAANG” appeal. The market for smaller apps from smaller companies is ripe.
  4. Makes me some money! 😅