Square One Show: with Dave & Jess

CEO of Wirestock.io Mikayel Khachatryan on Creating for Creatives

October 15, 2019 David & Jessica Lewis
Square One Show: with Dave & Jess
CEO of Wirestock.io Mikayel Khachatryan on Creating for Creatives
Square One Show: Explore. Dream. Discover Your S +
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Show Notes Transcript

Today our guest is from across the world in Armenia! His name is Mikayel Khachatryan, CEO of Wirestock.io, a stock agency where you can upload to ONE place - and sell your photos on multiple content marketplaces like Shutterstock, Adobe Stock and more. 

After uploading my own stock photos to multiple places and realizing how cumbersome and time consuming it was, I thought, "There has GOT to be a better way."  I kept looking - but didn't see the solution i was looking for - until... someone from Wirestock contact me about their platform.

I could upload my photos to ONE place - quick and simple - and they would keyword and tag them and send them all to major stock agencies. This saved me hours of time and the hassle of keywording each photo.

They were quick to respond to my questions, and I was immediately impressed with the company!  Someone had found a simple solution to one of my pain points.

So I reached out, and the CEO, Mikayel agreed to be on our show today, and we're so happy he did. You'll hear his background and story behind Wirestock,io; how he is helping creatives create, and saving time doing so.

Connect with Mikayel on LinkedIn
Visit Wirestock.io


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Find all the episodes at: www.SquareOneShow.com

Have a question? Send it to jessica@squareoneshow.com

Need a voiceover? Jessica's Voiceover site www.JessicaLewisVoice.com

Thanks for listening!!

Speaker 1:

That. That was kind of the aha moment where I was that, okay, maybe this, this group is not that large, but it's definitely evolving and they absolutely love our product and they see why it's helpful, how they can help us.

Speaker 2:

This is the square one show today. Our guest comes from clear across the world in Armenia. His name is Mick. Hi, Elka Tatian, CEO of wire stock. That IO, it's a stock agency where you can upload to one place and sell your photos on multiple content places like Shutterstock, Adobe stock, and much more. Well, I found them after uploading my own stock photos to multiple places and realized how cumbersome and time consuming it was and thought there has got to be a better way than this. So I kept looking, but I didn't see the solution I was looking for until someone from wire stock contacted me about their platform. Now I could upload my photos to one place quick and simple and they would keyword and tag them and send them to all the major stock agencies. This saved me hours of my time and the hassle of key-wording each photo. It just takes so much brain power to to that well, they were quick to respond to my questions and I was very impressed with what they were doing and how they were problem solving and how nice they weren't. Someone had found a simple solution to one of my pain points. Isn't that what we're trying to do? Right. So I was telling Dave, we really need to have them on our show. I think they have a great story behind what they're doing. And I reached out in this CEO, Mikhail got back to me right away and said, yes, I'd love to be on your show. So in today's episode you'll get to hear more about Mikhail, his background and how they're providing solutions and helping creatives create and they can save time doing all the administrative stuff.

Speaker 1:

Here's our conversation with Mikhail.

Speaker 3:

So, so what is your background then? Um, as it more like technology or,

Speaker 1:

yeah, I was more as I was, I w I always had, um, I was always passionate about mathematics and statistics. So, um, when I was to go into school, uh, I sort of had this focus on statistics and mathematics and then I got into finance, uh, and started, uh, yeah, my career in finance more specifically like, um, trading, um, and, and portfolio management and things like that. And then I realized it was too kind of a boring and creative for my personality. Um, so I got into technology more and like, ah, product development very early on in my career. So,

Speaker 3:

so you have that kind of creative and scientific brain at the same time going,

Speaker 1:

yeah, like business technology, like a, like scientific, statistical mind in a way.

Speaker 4:

Well, it's fascinating looking back at your story and knowing that you have kind of that creative brain and mathematic brain and you ended up starting wire stock. It completely makes sense, right for that.

Speaker 1:

The time, the, when we, um, the time when we got into, um, stock photography specifically cause we were like, like I said, we, we, I mean we always loved like shooting photos and um, you know, creating content when we were traveling and college. But like when we got into the business side of stock photography specifically is when, um, man, um, my, one of my co founders, uh, had this, uh, social dating application back in the day. Um, we had to buy a lot of stock content, uh, like we used to buy, like, so we were promoting like offline, uh, sort of they dates and dating, uh, with our app. This was a few years ago and we, uh, we had to, uh, use stock, you know, stock content. So we used to buy a lot of like, uh, images of happy couples and, and awesome.

Speaker 4:

So you had experience using the end of the photography world standard customers who come from,

Speaker 1:

yeah, I mean we saw tremendous value, uh, in, in this kind of, um, this kind of content that you just click on a few buttons and you have a piece of content that you can use and your, uh, ad banner immediately and just a matter of seconds. And uh, keep in mind this was, this was 2016 and 15, and we didn't have this free image download sites back in the day. Or even if we did, there were like super low quality. So stock photography back then was like a no brainer. You had to use it if you wanted to do effective marketing fast.

Speaker 4:

So I know that the prices of stock photography are going way down. Um, even, you know, 25 cents here, 10 cents there for someone to use a stock photo. So how as a creative, how do we take our time and we create these beautiful images, share them with the world. How does that work supporting our family doing that or doesn't it, do we need to find another job or how do we be creative, um, make an income family-wise too support ourselves.

Speaker 1:

Um, we are promote it and promote our service as an opportunity to earn extra side income doing things that, uh, you as a creative person, love. We don't, uh, view it as a, um, as, as a main source of income for anyone at least that scale. Right? I mean, some people may be able to achieve it if they, you know, open up studios and do it like full time and focus on it. But I think for most of, for most of us, stock photography can just be a good way to earn, um, like extra income, uh, doing things that you, that you were going to do anyway. Um, Oh, so yeah, so like, uh, and that's why, that's why it's important to have a service like wire stock that at least takes away all this admin kind of work away. And so you can just like, okay, I have this content. I was going to, I mean, I wanted to shoot some Christmas photos and how would my family, uh, what not? And then you just have this content and we'd a few clicks, you're able to list it on, on this a marketplaces and you are able to earn income where, where the return on investment is more reasonable as opposed to doing it the old way with all this websites and all this forms. And then that case return on investment is just poor. So that's our vision actually.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. And what part of your business would you say you're most passionate about? Are you, um, trying to provide that service or is it the, the quality of the images or the art or what, like what is driving you, uh, every day when you go in to build this business?

Speaker 1:

I think the culture of our company and our team is one of more problem solving, uh, with a touch of creativeness. So we ourselves are all, uh, we'd like to think of ourselves as problem solvers. So when, when we come to work, we, um, sorta come to work with the mission, solving a real problem and helping people achieve something that they would otherwise not be able to achieve. So we, um, we, uh, have a very strong technical team, uh, engineering wise, uh, half of our team are, you know, have backgrounds in engine engineering and we like to, we don't, um, mind being challenged with, you know, sort of like difficult tech problems and we like to solve them at the same time. We absolutely love seeing amazing content and, and uh, and, and creating content ourselves for fun. So it's, it's, it's a combination of this two things.

Speaker 4:

Oh, I love that you're so focused on your customers, you're not focused on how are we doing, what is this company giving us? It sounds like you're very customer focused and it sounds like you have a really strong culture where all of you are on the same page about that. Can you talk a little bit more about what that looks like in your workplace? I mean, it sounds like you're very hard workers, but

Speaker 1:

maybe like to have a little fun and be creative too. Yeah. Yeah. Um, it's, it's an interesting culture of like collaboration and a strong, like constant communication. So we would try to be as transparent as possible. Um, and when, whenever one of us comes up with an idea or comes across a problem that one of our customers has reported, we immediately immediately share it and we like, Oh, we have this problem. I ha I had this other customer report the same issue. You know, let's have a meeting, you know, and discuss it. And cause we think that, uh, if we can solve a problem for one person that can apply to thousands of people, you know, worldwide.

Speaker 3:

Um, speaking of culture, you have lived in quite a few different cultures. Uh, you grew up in Armenia, you're in Malta sometimes too, and you went to school in the States. Right? So how has the living in each of those different cultures influenced, uh, influenced how you operate today and how you look at growing the business?

Speaker 1:

I think it's helped me allow, first of all, like living in the U S helped me understand that, you know, my culture and, uh, better and where I was coming from much, much better. And then, um, like you mentioned, I lived in Europe for, you know, quite some time and I got them sort of familiar with that perspective and culture and lifestyle as well. And then it just helps you communicate so much better and, and uh, and understand people and things that they're going through on a daily basis. On just another level. Um, I'll just give you an example. I personally think like when you're building a product, uh, like a consumer product, um, like wires stuck, you have to live your customer's life in a way. You have to be able to picture yourself, uh, living their life. You know, sort of like what happens when they wake up in the morning. What happens when you go to a restaurant, you know, when they meet with their friends. Being able to picture and envision this things, it's absolutely crucial. W regardless of whether you're building a photography platform or a or a tech C app or whatever it is, and when you have this perspective of different lifestyles and different cultures, uh, you can first of all communicate much, much better. And second of all, like understand problems on a global scale from, from this global perspective. Uh, and, and it comes sort of would have price, uh, when you live into too many places that you sometimes find yourself in a situation where you don't fully belong to none of this places. But I think overall it's, it's, it's, it's a really good thing.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. I think that's pretty awesome that you have that global perspective. And you can cause your, your company is a global company, right. So, um, you reaching people in all those different cultures. So to be able to communicate yeah. Effectively with each of them is huge. Yeah. So where do you see things going for the future for wire stock or really for any of this collaboration culture, you know, where do you think see things going in the next few years?

Speaker 1:

Our vision for a wire stock, I'll start with that essentially. Um, we want wire still be a place where photographers, uh, are able to burn, uh, in different, in multiple ways. Uh, we started with the most basic kind of monetization channels, which is stock photography, but we want to expand this and in the future we want to add like a brand projects and other things like that as well as, as well as like provide photographers with some, uh, real gigs, um, that we can get from different platforms. Um, and, and our vision is, uh, we want, we don't want to be, we don't want to work with ah, and buyers how closely we want. We want to be working with large platforms. You know, like stock photography platforms. Um, we can work with this with similar ones and under[inaudible] areas and other industries and bringing as much work a as possible for, for photographers, video great rappers and illustrators and automate and automate the admin at work as much as possible. Uh, that's sort of our vision to create this, like want show one stop shop for photography monetization. That's kind of our vision. Uh, and in terms of vision overall, in terms of the future of my vision of the future of content in general, uh, it's very similar to what I just said. I think creators have to, has, should only be, uh, focused on creation and on, on the creative aspects of the work because there's so much that you have to think of and take care of, um, for you to worry about this other business stuff, right? Business administrative, repetitive calls, emails, all this stuff. Uh, so I think it goes beyond photography. It can actually apply to, uh, you know, podcasts and YouTube, you know, content, you know, other forms of content. You know, I think there will be tools evolving in the future that will a and eliminate extra work and we'll help people focus on, on the creative aspects of work. So that's how I see it personally.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, that's amazing. I think being able to see how collaboration in the future is going to be more seamless as well. It will be interesting. I see a lot of people, a lot of creatives working in their own little pods, you know, and how do you connect with a client and let's say there's three creatives that have three very distinct things that they do that yeah. That are able to bring that one client, three different creatives together in a way that's, that's cohesive. That's great for the end client.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So like one thing, one idea we had with our stove, we were thinking, okay, so to create like awesome know commercial content, uh, you usually, I mean often need, uh, models in your photo shoot or whatever it might be. And um, usually are two in traditional ways that you have to hire model and you have to pay them. Uh, and then you take the royalties, you know, from, from you, from the licensing. But this will, one idea we had is that you could basically, uh, collaborate in a way that the copyright or the rights to own the ownership rights of content as sort of divided between, you know, targeted for the M and E model and maybe there's an editor or someone or manager and then whenever the shoot is done and you can just like split up the ownership rights and then when there are royalties or payments, it's kind of split up between people. And that kind of can, if you can create a[inaudible] an easy to use a tool for that. Yeah. I think, um, I think it could be very powerful. Yes. Much, much easier. Yeah.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. Cause there's a lot of people, there's a lot of amazing creatives that I've met who are fantastic at what they do, but they may not be a great business person and so they suffer because of that and their art is amazing. But how do they get in front of people and collaborate with other people and get paid for their time? So, yeah, I definitely see that

Speaker 1:

that's something that we want to experiment with for sure. This idea of simplifying or making collaboration easier to like legally and technically, um, easier.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. Cause legally right now there's still that pain point of having to fill out the release forms and it's this same information that you're filling out and you have to get them to sign it. And how do you do that easily? Yeah. Getting your clients to sign off on something and taking a picture on your phone of the thing they signed and, and uploading it and yeah,

Speaker 1:

yeah, yeah, yeah. That's something that it's actually on our roadmap. That's something we wanna uh, a feature that we're working on right now. His, we want to, we want to like, um, make this, uh, monitored release creation, just completely digital. So we want to digitalize the old process so you, you don't have to physically print your form and then like, uh,[inaudible] have your models sign it and then they make a mistake and they like, Oh, you make a mistake here. I have to print it out again. I do think currently the wire stoke experience we think is the most painful element and that's what we, we're going to focus on next is like this digitalization aspect of it. You know, it can be with your phone, with your desktop computer.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. Well good luck with that. I'm excited about seeing that, seeing that. Well I have another question for you. What is this like behind the scenes for you personally going through this whole process? I mean, are you working all the time or how do you find time to kind of feed your feed yourself? Cause there's a lot of creativity that you love. How do you give back to yourself and stay healthy that way?

Speaker 1:

Uh, you know, me and my co founders were also friends. Uh, you know, so we hang out together. So I think we've sort of evolved into this immersive state of like work and life kind of immersing together, you know, with our families and friends. So like a wire stock is just part of our life, you know, that's how we view it. And we don't treat it as, as a, as like a, this sounded kind of like tedious, uh, work that's separated, you know, from our life. And we just treated like something that we have, we just have fun doing. Um, because otherwise, honestly it wouldn't be possible. I don't[inaudible] I don't know if this makes sense at all. Um, but,

Speaker 3:

Oh yeah, yeah, no, it's, it's your passion so it doesn't feel like work as much as what it sounds like. It's what you guys love to do and you get to do it together with people you enjoy doing it with. Although it can be more difficult in some ways when you're doing it with friends, cause there's, how do you guys manage that when there's those tough decisions that have to be made and like how do you come to agreement and some of those things?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's, it's very, very like a teamwork based. So we like, like pretty democratic, if you will. So we just kind of, there's a, there's um, disagreement and between any of us we just, you know, put it on the table and we just vote on it. And, uh, that, that's how decisions are made. We try to make sure that no decision, um, it's sort of like against somebody's kind of opinion completely or like the way they see it. Yeah. So it kind of can create problems in the future. But so far, uh, you know, thank God we've been, we've been handling it pretty well.

Speaker 4:

It sounds like when you said, when you mentioned earlier about transparency, being able to be transparent with each other and say, well, I may not agree with that, but I trust you guys and I'm going to go ahead with it and hope for the best.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, exactly. Like, like, uh, like I have the position of the CEO, but, uh, I still think that kind of major decisions, uh, are better to be discussed, um, with, with, you know, with our team. Cause you get so many, so many insights and opinions and like it can affect you positively. Um, and then did you just make the decision and you go with it? You know, you ha you have to make so many decisions, like honestly, like we should we do this or that, you know, we should, we, should we do a project a or project B, you know, almost always it's better. It's always better to choose one and not do both. So it's always better to go with project a or project B, not both. Um, cause then you just spread yourself stain and you'd do both pretty poorly. Um, but did you just make a decision and you live with it, uh, and you didn't hopefully do it quick enough so then you can rebound and do something else if you make mistake. So

Speaker 4:

is there something you could share, maybe a mistake or a hardship that you've been through that you could share that, how you got through that?

Speaker 1:

Like, uh, at first? Yeah. Uh, so it goes back to what we discussed about, you know, this easy submission thing. Uh, so we went through some phases, uh, of the product development with Dwyer's dog. So when we first started, our idea actually was that we, we're going to create a tool for existing stock photographers. So I mean w we were thinking we would build something that existing photographers with portfolios of like thousands and tens of thousands of photos would use. So our hope was that they would switch over their portfolios to wire, still can start licensing through wire stock. But, uh, when we, when we first started the, we built the initial version, I started doing workshops here in Malta. And the feedback I kept getting was that, you know, what, we don't need your service. We already have, you know, we have been handling this for years. You know, we have some of them, I had already hired people that we're doing this, you know, submission thing for them. Ah, some, some of them, you know, had just, yeah. You know, work their way of using some tools, some other like, uh, efficiency tools. Yeah. Long story short, you know, the feedback we got was that we don't need you. And so it was, it was a painful moment of realizing, okay, you just built something that nobody needs. And then, yeah. And then I realized at some point, I kind of looked back, uh, one of these workshops I did and I was like, wait a minute. There was this guy who actually was pretty excited and he uploaded some photos and some of his photos actually sold. And so who is this guy? You know? And I started kind of going back to his story and kind of analyzing his behavior and is kind of like customer persona. And what I realized was that this guy was, he had an account on Unsplash or pixels, I'm not sure. He told me he had tried using, uh, you know, stock photography sites I knew, didn't like it or didn't think it was efficient enough and, and he was the one who actually loved our products. So I was like, okay, if we could a makes one person happy with our product, maybe there are other, uh, are more people that would love our product. So that's when we switched to, uh, you know, other sort of communities and other sort of like demographic and generational kind of, you know, groups of people and communities. And started talking to them and realized, okay, these people are way more receptive of what they are talking about. You know, and that's that that was kind of the aha moment for us that, okay, maybe this, this group is not that large, but it's definitely evolving and they absolutely love our product and they see why it's helpful and how it can help us. But that moment, that initial moment of kind of a little bit of panic and a little bit of disappointment and frustration was, was it a, was it something to really overcome the, you know, early on. So

Speaker 3:

what'd you, what'd you say you're more of an optimistic person or when you faced that situation, did you still have that hope and looked at the bright side, or were, was it devastating?

Speaker 1:

Uh, I, yeah, I really try to improve and to be able to sort of, um, I tend to like, and I tend to overreact a two problems to be honest with you. Uh, you know, and sometimes go into this, um, you know, few days of like down mood and kind of like situation. But I always, I always tend to come back with new ideas. Um, and I like just to get it like a piece of paper and pen and just start drawing things and kind of coming up with new ideas and things like that. So, but whenever I come up with something, I'm always optimistic. Oh this is going to work for sure. You know, when you have co founders who are super optimistic cause cause honestly that's one that's one advice that I would give to entrepreneurs is that, uh, like always try to find co founders that are at least not like pessimistic that especially the technical, the engineering people. If uh, you know, if if you get this kind of like pessimistic, you know, like a pragmatic physician from them, then it can really drag you down. And I'm happy not about that. So yeah. That's huge.

Speaker 4:

Awesome. Well, Mikhail, thank you so much for your time. I loved all of the things that you were talking about and really talking about kind of the human felt very human aspect of your business. You know, it's not just out there trying to make money, but you're out there trying to solve problems and you love your customers and you're learning from it. And I love that. I love that.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for, for like all these questions. I mean you guys, I mean Jessica, it's so like you're the first person, uh, in our community that I'm talking in such detail, you know, I mean, uh, I would say is doing a podcast. I had some calls with some customers but never did this kind of detail like talking about our vision. So this is big time.

Speaker 4:

Oh, that's great. Yeah. Well, and I think sharing, sharing your story and sharing your heart behind what you're doing is so important that I think people need to understand, well, where is this going? Where is wire stock leading us? And so I really appreciate your time and I just love the heart behind it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we've come a long way. I mean, when we first started, we just had like, honestly it was just our portfolio of the images that we shot ourselves and then now we're getting a new marketplaces, you know, that are trying, that are, that want to work with us, uh, you know, outside of the main kind of big marketplaces and we're adding them on every, every new channel that we add. We feel like we are adding value for our community and we just, it just pumps us up and keeps us going.

Speaker 4:

Well, good. I hope you keep going because I'm loving, I'm loving the solutions that you're providing.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much. Honestly, it's big time.

Speaker 4:

If people are interested, where can they go to find wire stock? Where can they go to find you and connect with you?

Speaker 1:

Uh, I would say a link. I use LinkedIn a lot. Uh, and then my, you know, so it's[inaudible] out.[inaudible] I have a hard to pronounce Armenian last night. Me, kyle@twirestock.io. So M I K a Y E L Ed's wires, dog.io. I am usually quick to respond. Uh, and, uh, my LinkedIn page, I O I'm also active there and um, yeah. Um, if any of our community members or your listeners, well to connect and to find out more and I would be happy, uh, connect and tell our stories. So,

Speaker 2:

and the website is wire stock.io.

Speaker 1:

The website is[inaudible] dot. IO is free to use. You can submit your content and start earning, uh, without having to pay any subscriptions or anything and you get paid for every download. We work with all majors, thought content, market faces, um, and uh, and you want to swap into[inaudible]. So, Hey, thank you. Appreciate it. And we appreciate your time. Yeah. Thanks for uh, having me today and uh, you guys are awesome. Wish you good luck. So, and you as well, right?

Speaker 2:

Explore, dream, discover. That's what we're all about here. Sharing people's stories and engaging with each other. We hope you found this conversation helpful and encouraging. What we'd love to keep in touch, we just created a Facebook group where you can connect on a more personal level. It's called the square one lounge. You can find it by going to our website, square one show.com. Just look at the top and click on the lounge. Well, until next time, this is David and Jessica Lewis. Enjoy your week.

Speaker 5:

[inaudible].