Ivan Kutskir is the only person responsible for creating Photopea, a powerful free picture editor with 10 million monthly visits and 1.5 million hours of usage. He started a computer science bachelor’s program in 2009 and used adverts to market his games. In 2012, he built a website to show PSD files, which developed into a full graphics editor. He has worked on Photopea since earning his master’s degree in 2017.
Ivan is the only person responsible for creating Photopea, a powerful free picture editor. With 10 million monthly visits and 1.5 million hours of usage, Photopea earns $100,000 each month in advertising income.
What are you currently working on and who are you?
Hello, I’m Ivan Kutskir. I was born in Ukraine in 1990. I moved to the Czech Republic in 2002, and as of 2009, I’ve lived in Prague.
The advanced picture editor Photopea was made by myself. On Photopea, I work alone and perform “everything”:)
What is your background, and how did you come up with this idea?
I started a computer science bachelor’s program in 2009. I’ve always loved the internet, and I was doing games, experiments, and other things. As my major source of revenue when I was in school ($100 to $400 per month), I used adverts to market my games.
I had the idea to build a website to show PSD files in 2012, therefore I did. I wanted to provide a list of layers and let the user choose which ones to show or conceal. The PSD viewer’s initial iteration was released in 2013. It developed into a full graphics editor after countless hours of work. While I was still in school, my leisure time was spent playing Photopea.
I have just worked on Photopea since earning my master’s degree in 2017.
How did you turn a concept into a finished product?
I opened my laptop and started coding right away. I only did it for fun; I had no intention of or expectation of profit. I didn’t analyze the market or “validate” any business theories.
On the other hand, if you develop a replacement for a widely used commercial product, people will unquestionably give you millions of money whether you want them to or not. And I was sure I could make almost any program I wanted. I wasn’t sure, though, if I wanted to spend some of my life making such a thing.
Everything just happened naturally as I finished one feature after another and helped one user after another, not knowing what would come next or what my overall objective was.
What marketing techniques did you use to grow your company?
I used to “spam” mentions to Photopea over the internet. Under every article mentioning Photoshop alternatives, I left a comment promoting Photopea. I contributed to Reddit, Hacker News, and other websites. 90% of my comments and posts were marked as promotional and removed. A further issue was that when I asked random YouTubers to evaluate Photopea, 90% of them ignored me and 10% requested cash, which I was unable to pay at the moment.
Contrarily, many people wrote reviews of Photopea “spontaneously” (without getting in touch with me), and as a result, Photopea has become more well-known over the past eight years as a result.
It was a “well-known” tactic when I started using adverts to finance my games in 2006. For businesses like Google, Facebook, and others, this is the main source of income. The majority of Photopea’s income comes from adverts.
What are you doing right now? What are your long-term goals?
Ten million people visit Photopea.com each month. Every month, 1.5 million hours of Photopea are utilized. I can make about 6 cents from advertisements for every hour a person spends on Photopea.com, which enables me to make about $100,000 each month from ads.
In the past two years, I’ve worked with a variety of programmers. I want to build a team that can “do everything” without me, but that day is still far off.
In the future, I want to expand Photopea’s features and improve the ones that are already there. I considered making a sophisticated vector graphics editor or a video editor. Though it would take years, I am aware that I could do all of it on my own.
I want to be able to do ten muscle-ups in a row; I can currently do one.
What have you discovered to be your most significant lessons since establishing Photopea?
If someone offers you 10 or 100 or even 1,000 times more money than you have ever made in your life, don’t sell your work. You shouldn’t get the cash unless you have a specific goal for them.
Do not be afraid to attempt new things. You can be ten times more productive if you do something you enjoy than if you do something you don’t.
Never let anybody tell you if an idea is good or bad, especially if you have thought about it for days, weeks, or even months while they have only thought about it for 30 seconds. The only way to find out is to try.
What were the toughest obstacles you overcame? What were your biggest mistakes?
The creation of new Photopea features regularly presented me with major challenges. There are several things that I worked on for a long period without success before giving up, and that time had nothing to do with Photopea.
I’m not aware of any serious mistakes. It’s possible that Photopea might be much more developed, well-liked, or successful if I had done something else, but it’s hard to say.
I can’t look for a partner in company or investment because of fear. Owning one would make me feel pretty uncomfortable. I understand that this “fear” is unfounded and might cost me a lot of possibilities.
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