How to Stay Ahead of the Curve

Photo Entrepeneurship 101

Wayne Gretzky, best hockey player of all time said:

Don’t skate to the puck. Skate to where the puck is going to be.

Some ideas.

Study trends

Cindy Nguyen x HAPTICLABS

First, study trends.

Some trends I see:

  1. More people using phones for everything (young high schoolers call it a phone, not a “smartphone”)
  2. Advertising is becoming more sneaky, and part of our everyday device s
  3. Luxury and high-end goods are gaining in popularity
  4. Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook are taking over the world and constantly growing.
  5. Middle class is dying: society is being split into the poor and the very rich.

Human nature

We love “unique” and exclusive stuff.

Things that will never change about human beings:

  1. Enough is never enough: We will always want a bigger house, a more expensive car, more exotic clothes, and want to travel more.
  2. If we have a choice, we will always want more money.
  3. We love FREE: we will easily give up privacy for more free shit, and more convenience.

Predict the future by building the future

For myself, Cindy and I are building ERIC KIM FORUM: because I hate Facebook and Instagram (ok, not hate, but I prefer having more control and freedom).

We believe in community building and having a positive outlet. Honestly, social media is all this stupid popularity contest. The forum is more open to assignments like STREET CLUB.

Be the change.

Prototyping HAPTICLABS master cover

So therefore, I cannot complain about how much Instagram and Facebook sucks, without actually making a difference or building something. Thanks to Cindy for building the forum (all the credit goes to her).


Exclusive music video by Jay-Z on TIDAL (not available on YouTube)

JAY-Z and Kanye are smart, they see that nobody buys CDs anymore. They are focused on streaming, which is already the present world, and the trend will continue.

A random idea anyone can steal: make a paid subscription “streaming” service for photographers, digital photo books, videos, and educational resources.


Bangkok, Shot on digital medium format Fujifilm GFX

My prediction: in the future, everyone will either have an iPhone or a very expensive high-end digital medium format (or large format) camera with 100+ megapixels or something like that.

Human nature: we want to differentiate ourselves from others. What better way to show off, to show that you own a $10,000 DIGITAL MEDIUM FORMAT CAMERA than being an iPhone shooter?

I already see it now. You can buy a very good iPhone for only $400 (iPhone SE has the iPhone 6s camera, and only costs $400). Leica camera is doing well, because they branded themselves as luxury goods. You don’t buy a Leica camera, you buy “men’s jewelry” to wear it like a $10,000 necklace at a camera exhibition or party.

ANOTHER IDEA anyone can steal: start teaching digital medium format workshops, or blogging on digital medium format photography. Right now, adoption of digital medium format is still low. But camera companies like Fujifilm, Hasselblad, and Pentax are investing into DMF photography.

Downtown LA, 2016 #pentax645z

Personally, I’ll probably get a DMF camera soon. I follow my “two camera rule”– I can afford to buy two digital medium format cameras for around $10,000. Might be a good investment for myself in the future as a “photography influencer.”

The truth: you can charge a lot more money for a digital medium format photography workshop/experience, instead of an iPhone workshop. Even Apple are giving free “photo walks.” How can you compete with that?



Another idea you can take from me.

More photographers are entering the world. Anyone with an iPhone is a photographer, including your mom.

Therefore, there is a huge influx of people who wanna learn how to take better photos.

Bangkok. 2017

Education is a huge market for you to enter.

Don’t charge for information. Rather, charge a lot of money for curated experiences. Tourism will never go away. Never will travel. Never will experience. Experiences never die.


Made with iPad and Procreate app

Ok, iPad is gonna take over personal computing.

You can buy a fucking amazing iPad for only $330, seriously, brand new.

What kind of shitty PC can compete with that?

I’m typing this on an iPad. Seriously, they are awesome. 99% of folks do not need a laptop. Honestly even my mom can do 99% of her stuff on her phone.

There will be a point that everyone on planet Earth will own an iPad. Why? We still like having big screens when we are at hone, relaxing on the couch, and consuming entertainment via video games or movies. Entertainment will never die, but continue to rise. Especially when we get replaced with robots, and we will have all these free leisure time to kill.

**Idea: How can you build a photo platform, service, or education resource for the iPad?*

Lightroom on iPad will be big.

VSCO is awesome. I recommend their paid subscription service. Their presets are the best, that simulate the look of film. Their minimalist design user interface is unparalleled. And anyone can afford $10 a month for a service.



Make custom bespoke, high end, custom tailored stuff for photographers. Custom straps, bags, or anything leather that looks cool.

This is what Cindy is doing with HAPTIC: making artful tools to differentiate you from the herd.


Anything you can make that can make other feel more unique is good.

For example, I will not buy a BMW 3 series, because everyone and their uncle drives one. I want a unique car. An old school Lamborghini (Porsche is so saturated). Or maybe just buy another 1991 Sentra SE-R and throw in a SR20VE engine and turbocharge it with 400+ horsepower. Or another old school 1990 Mazda Miata.

We want to be different (with the stuff we own)


I, as an irrational human, like to differentiate myself by not doing what the herd does.


Even now, I think Leica cameras are lame. Why? Everyone owns one. The film Leica MP cameras are cooler. This is why shooting film is cool, Because you can differentiate Yourself from phone or digital photographers. For inspiration buy FILM NOTES and see Japan Camera Hunter and CameraFilmPhoto.


heART by Annette Kim x HAPTICPRESS

Anyways, these are just some random ideas I have.

To me, I like to stay ahead of the curve because it is less boring, and more fun.

Street Notes by Cindy x Haptic

To be honest, I don’t need no more money. It’s nice, but not necessary.

I want to innovate for the sake of it, and I also wanna innovate to help more human beings.

dark skies over tokyo by eric kim and haptic industries

To innovate more, be more open. Open source all your stuff. Trust me, you will win.




ERIC KIM x HENRI NECK STRAP  by HAPTIC INDUSTRIES // Portrait by Benjamin Thompson

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Table of Contents

Learn how to make a living from your passion:

Photography Business 101

How to Make Money with Photography

Photography Marketing 101


How to Hustle.

Entrepreneurial Principles

How to be a Full-time Photographer

Photography Blogging

How to Teach Photography

Social Media

How to Save Money