In March, the internet’s collective jaw dropped when social game maker Zynga dropped a cool $200 million to acquire OMGPop — the makers of Draw Something, a cute little iPhone Pictionary-type game that went from zero-to-100 million users in the span of a few short weeks.
Then Facebook went and bought Instagram, another iPhone app (just recently made available on the Android platform) which lets you take your ugly pictures, make them look intentionally ugly (they would use different adjectives like maybe “personal”) in the style of a $20 plastic Holga camera. Instagram has been an iPhone staple for just over two years now, and also has a user base of over 30 million people. The price is a cool $1 billion.
Two apps, in the span of a couple of weeks, capitalize on two truths. Truth number one: Most of us are pretty terrible artists. Truth number two: The lack of any artistic skill whatsoever won’t stop anyone from trying. Nothing makes a bad photograph look tolerable faster than blowing out the levels, throwing the contrast out of whack, and adding sepia tones. And I’m not the world’s finest illustrator, but when the collective canvas is a finger stylus on a 3.5 inch screen, my stick figures are just as good as anyone else’s.