All of us in California, indeed millions across the country, were gripped by those horrific images of the raging fires in Southern California.
And in the midst of the tragedy, when we had a chance to hear from the victims fleeing their homes, they were usually asked what they grabbed as they were evacuating. Over and over again, we heard the same answer: photographs.
The tragedy though is shining a bright light on the world of external, digital storage and companies like EMC , Seagate and many others. And it's also putting online and digital photography into the center ring, especially as that sector of technology enters into what is typically its hottest quarter: the holiday shopping quarter. And with Shutterfly poised to report its earnings after the bell Tuesday, it gives us an opportunity to take a look at the company.
"Over the last five years we have experienced over 100% compound annual growth rate in terms of revenue and these markets that we are addressing in terms of social expressing, they are enormous," says Jeffrey Housenbold, the company's CEO.
That doesn't mean that Shutterfly's future is as rosy as its past. Quite the contrary: some on the Street wondering just how bright the company's prospects really are. My friend Herb Greenberg wrote last month that company founder Jim Clark (Silicon Graphics, Netscape) recently quit the board, and while he hasn't sold any shares in the company, he did say that what had been a technology company had become much more of a manufacturing company instead.