Mikael Cho, Unsplash // Taking On Giants, Life Design + Focused Experimentation


📸 Who is Mikael Cho?

Mikael Cho is the co-founder and CEO of Unsplash. The world’s leading image asset platform that boasts 100 million image downloads & 20 billion views per month.

Unsplash is used more than Flickr, Getty, and Shutterstock combined.

Let us know what you think on Twitter: @bzaidi & @mikaelcho


🧠 What You’ll Learn From This Convo:

– how Mikael built Unsplash from a series of failed experiments
– balancing focus with experimentation
– how to create a growth flywheel
– why good ideas are still undervalued
– how to create a “superpower org chart” & find undiscovered talent
– how to get a large scale advertising business off the ground


⏳Time Stamps (YouTube)

00:00:00 Intro
00:02:15 What is Unsplash?
00:06:00 Scale
00:09:07 Failed Experiments + A Side Project
00:09:58 Starting Crew
00:13:29 When Side, Becomes Main
00:17:03 Selling Crew to Andrew Wilkinson (Dribbble)
00:18:25 Balancing Experimentation + Focus
00:20:46 Competing With Adobe + Shutterstock
00:22:38 Creator Economy’s Middle Class
00:25:20 Develop A New Advertising Model
00:28:12 Unsplash= Internet Real Estate Company
00:31:34 Simplifying Product
00:34:35 Aligning Your Team
00:36:52 Product Design Changes That Surprised Mikael
00:39:22 “Wow” Moments
00:41:29 Unsplash Growth Flywheel
00:43:39 API + Partnerships
00:44:44 Future of Unsplash
00:46:01 Mikael’s Business Philosophy
00:48:12 Validate With No Code
00:49:24 Ideas vs Execution
00:53:10 Knowing When to Stop A Project
00:56:01 Recruiting Key Employees
01:00:17 Finding Undiscovered Talent
01:02:15 Superpower Org Chart
01:06:47 Life Design Philosophy
01:11:06 Incorporating Physical Health into Company Culture
01:15:26 “Inbox Zero is a Waste of Time”
01:18:54 “Text Edit is One of the Greatest Apps Ever Made”
01:21:08 Writing Like You’re Texting A Friend
01:24:35 Proactive Actions
01:31:16 Wrap-Up


⏳Time Stamps (Podcast)

00:00:00 Intro
00:02:32 What is Unsplash?
00:06:17 Scale
00:09:24 Failed Experiments + A Side Project
00:10:15 Starting Crew
00:13:46 When Side, Becomes Main
00:17:20 Selling Crew to Andrew Wilkinson (Dribbble)
00:18:42 Balancing Experimentation + Focus
00:21:03 Competing With Adobe + Shutterstock
00:22:55 Creator Economy’s Middle Class
00:25:37 Develop A New Advertising Model
00:28:29 Unsplash = Internet Real Estate Company
00:31:51 Simplifying Product
00:34:52 Aligning Your Team
00:37:09 Product Design Changes That Surprised Mikael
00:39:39 “Wow” Moments
00:41:46 Unsplash Growth Flywheel
00:43:56 API + Partnerships
00:45:01 Future of Unsplash
00:46:18 Mikael’s Business Philosophy
00:48:29 Validate With No Code
00:49:41 Ideas vs Execution
00:53:27 Knowing When to Stop A Project
00:56:18 Recruiting Key Employees
01:00:24 Finding Undiscovered Talent
01:02:32 Superpower Org Chart
01:07:04 Life Design Philosophy
01:11:23 Incorporating Physical Health into Company Culture
01:15:43 “Inbox Zero is a Waste of Time”
01:19:11 “Text Edit is One of the Greatest Apps Ever Made”
01:21:25 Writing Like You’re Texting A Friend
01:24:52 Proactive Actions
01:31:33 Wrap-Up

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