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Solo Creator of Photopea Takes on Adobe Photoshop Giant


Successful products in the tech space are quite often created by large teams from big players in the market. Every once in a while we see some of those outliers who prove it’s totally possible to compete with tech giants with small teams and little to no resources. In today’s episode of Establishing Your Empire we’re joined by Ivan Kutskir who is the creator of Photopea which is a browser-based image manipulation app that brings features available on programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator to every device for free. Throughout the episode, we dive deep into Ivan’s app, his journey of building it, and some lessons he learned.

Ivan was born in Ukraine and graduated from Charles University in Prague. Ivan had a background in programming from a very early age, and his idea for Photopea has a long history as well. We start the discussion with what inspired him to start developing this application and the problems Ivan wanted to solve with it. Once Photopea gained enough traction, Ivan decided that he wouldn’t be looking for corporate jobs and would continue developing Photopea. We dive into the considerations that went into that decision and the growth that came after.

Every app needs a fair bit of marketing to attract users. We dive deep into how Ivan utilized different social media platforms to spread the word about his app. Since Reddit was one of the platforms he utilized the most, Ivan shares some advice for app makers to take advantage of Reddit to market their apps. As Photopea grew over the years, it has gained a fair bit of interest among investors as well. Ivan shares his thoughts on the investment offers he has received and why he prefers to keep the business under his control. Wrapping up the episode, we talk about what Ivan has in mind for the future of Photopea.

Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | YouTube | Pandora

“Stick with your vision and keep working on stuff… someone else is going to do it if you don’t… Use your imagination more and more. It’s not just about being an entrepreneur, it’s about being a gritty, dynamic person that survives chaos.”

Key Topics Discussed:

  1. Business and Money: The conversation begins with a discussion about the influence and challenges of money in business settings. It emphasizes the need to be aware of financial dynamics and their impact on business objectives and problems.
  2. Strategic Partnerships and Community Building: The speakers delve into the concept of creating an “information pack” in business, focusing on the importance of strategic partnerships, community engagement, and the role of investors and advisors in scaling a business.
  3. Business Goals and Revenue Generation: The dialogue touches upon the balance between focusing on future goals and the necessity of revenue generation in business ventures. The importance of having clear, achievable goals is highlighted.
  4. Team Dynamics in Startups: The discussion shifts to the significance of assembling the right team or “pack” in startups, stressing the need for diverse skills, clear communication, and aligned expectations among team members.
  5. Educational Transformation through Technology: There is a significant focus on the transformation of education through AI and blockchain, discussing personalized learning experiences and the potential for these technologies to revolutionize the educational landscape.
  6. Personal Entrepreneurial Journeys: The speakers share their personal backgrounds and experiences, providing various perspectives on entrepreneurial journeys and the lessons learned along the way.
  7. Equity and Startup Partnerships: The conversation explores the complex topic of equity distribution in startups, addressing the challenges of aligning contributions and expectations in partnerships.
  8. Blockchain Technology Potential: The potential applications of blockchain technology are discussed, particularly in education, emphasizing the need for innovative applications beyond its current usage.
  9. Writing and Publishing a Book: Michael Devellano shares insights into his process of writing and publishing a book, including challenges, strategies, and the importance of marketing and promotion.
  10. Advice to Younger Individuals and Entrepreneurs: The speakers provide personal advice for younger individuals and budding entrepreneurs, focusing on perseverance, vision, risk-taking, and the importance of learning from failures.
  11. Future Plans and Aspirations: Devellano talks about his future plans, particularly in the fields of AI and education, with a strong desire to provide mass-customized education and contribute positively to these sectors.
  12. Reflections on Personal Motivations and Legacy: The episode concludes with reflections on personal motivations for writing and contributing ideas, along with thoughts on the legacy and impact one hopes to leave, especially in entrepreneurial and technological spaces.

Devellano’s perspectives provide a blend of practical advice, personal anecdotes, and forward-looking ideas, particularly around technology and education. The conversation is engaging, informative, and offers valuable takeaways for anyone interested in entrepreneurship, technology, and personal growth.

[00:34] Introducing Photopea – We start the conversation with a brief look at Ivan’s app, Photopea, the idea behind it, and the story of developing and growing it.

[08:14] Building a Career – How the gradual and steady growth of Photopea led Ivan to create a full-time career out of it.

[12:50] Technology – We dive deep into how Ivan has maximized the performance while reducing operating costs by taking advantage of the client-side web technologies.

[15:00] Marketing Strategy – How Ivan utilized social media to make his app popular and some of the learnings from the process.

[18:35] Tech Support – We dive into some of the strategies Ivan uses to provide Photopea users with tech support and documentation with minimal resources and effort from the developer.

[25:00] Investors – Ivan shares his thoughts on the interest among investors and venture capital firms about his app.

[29:14] Advice for Youngsters – Ivan shares his advice for you people who want to get into the technology space and start projects that grow big.

[33:00] Growth & Future Plans – Ivan talks about the gradual growth of Photopea and the future plans Ivan has for the app.

[37:05] Protecting the App – Ivan shares with us some of the measures he takes to ensure his proprietary code is safe from counterfeiting. 

[40:02] Continuous Updates – Why Ivan keeps adding new features and how user feedback is integrated into the process of introducing new features.


Connect with Ivan: twitter.com/ivankutskir

Photopea: www.photopea.com

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