LiveMosaic was Matt’s private family website start up business. It is an honor to know that I was the inspiration for his business. Since Summer was born I have maintained a family website for stories and pictures. In 2003, I started a self hosted WordPress blog. Matt liked that I did it. I never realized how much he liked it until he started talking about making a business out of it. He felt that everyone should be able to have a website like the one I made for our family, that it should be easy to use, that it should be private and the content protected, and that everyone should have their own domain name. I think it was 2007 that he started thinking about it and it was the fall of 2008 that it went online.
He started out with a few people helping him, including a developer, and he searched out advice. The strategy was to invest a little money himself and bootstrap his way through. Since 2008, LiveMosaic took the place of any hobby he might have had. He worked hard on it and eventually became the sole person working on the project. From the beginning he had a very slow trickle of customers which increased slowly to about one new customer a week. He was obsessive about customer service and he was always looking for the feature that would be the break through to getting more customers. With background uploading (which didn’t really exist at the time) and true high definition video before YouTube had it, LiveMosaic was a really high quality product. Unfortunately, I never felt like it got beyond a niche market and that apparently, no one really wanted what we wanted in a family website.
I considered myself an investor and primary support so that Matt could pursue his dream. When I think back about the experience of having a family business a lot of thoughts flood up, but really no strong emotional nostalgia for the business. I think maybe I was good at supporting Matt but not such a good business person. I know I hoped that a steady increase in the number of customers would eventually mean financial stability even if it wasn’t a money maker. Running the business did not cost that much anyway, except in time. But I also tend to have a strong sense that if no one is going the direction that you want them to, then the direction you want to go is probably not the right one. I think this was definitely the case by the end of 2010 when Matt started to think about selling LiveMosaic as a service for photographer websites.
I always thought LiveMosaic was an awesome product. There is such a heap of trash on the internet, that I will always make it a point to support sites that are high quality and have an aesthetic like what we had with LiveMosaic. I’m sure I have many more thoughts to post about LiveMosaic, but I wanted to give a simple overview of what Matt did. It was such a large part of his life for several years. Just for a moment, I wonder where it would be now if he were still alive, as it comes to five years since it went online.