Kelly Thompson became COO of iStockphoto in September 2008, a few months before Founder & CEO Bruce Livingstone left the company.
In his new position Kelly is responsible for the future of the world´s - in absolute numbers - economically most successful microstock agency, which employs a staff of 115 in Calgary (including contractors and the Berlin office) and additionally 110 image inspectors around the globe, in total about 225 people.
Recently I spoke to Kelly and asked him: what is the future focus of iStockphoto under the COO Kelly Thompson?
"I´m a pretty technical guy: I have a computer science degree with a specialty in UI design and worked at a major enterprise search company for a long time, so you´ll see a focus on that for me.
Bruce left the company in brilliant shape with the content we have: I might be biased, but I think we have some of the best content on the planet, micro or not - as Vetta attests to.
Pump [Audio] Artists Getting Pumped: Pump doesn't have a forum so this seems to be the only venue for discussion. I received a letter today notifying me that Getty would now be taking 65% of the licensing rights for Pump Artists. I realize that Getty does do a lot of work, but the actual independent creator of the stuff they sell getting only 35% is f#!king ridiculous. If they were paying for my studio time or equipment that would be different. It seem they are again taking advantage of the quantity of artists that are desperate to make a buck. Thread in the iStockaudio forum. In and since 2007 the split was 50/50. - Jo Ann has more details over there.
This is my last communication as CEO of iStockphoto and SVP Consumer at Getty Images. It's been a difficult decision, but it’s the right moment to move on. I need more time with my family, and time to figure out what I'm going to do next. Anybody who knows me, knows I'm a bit of a workaholic. So I'm finally going to make some time for myself and the people in my life.
Bruce Livingstone sat on one of my panels during the CEPIC congress 2008 in Malta where iStock also organized an iStockalypse event. It was a great experience for everyone in the audience to listen to him. Finally he now has the time to care more about his family. Sooner or later we will see him acting again, in another new venture.
After several delays, iStockphoto will launch the beta version of its audio iStockaudio site on Wednesday. Professionals won't be able to participate if they belong to organizations that require them to only distribute their content on a royalty basis.
Over 10,000 audio clips will be available, Livingstone said.
He said a lot of video customers have asked for audio so he expects interest there, but also from new customers.
Adding video support with iStockvideo came from
frequent requests by customers, and proved an immediate hit. "In late
2006, we launched video and in two years, it's become a substantial
part of our revenue," Livingstone said.
Ryan, first off, congratulations to the good news for AudioMicro. Before founding AudioMicro, which started officially in May 2008, you were formerly the VP of Finance for WireImage. How did you get into the music and especially the microstock audio business?
As a finance professional at WireImage, I analyzed the photography marketplace (crunching numbers, reviewing financial statements of the public photography companies, and reading outlets like StockPhotoTalk) and in late 2004/early 2005 it became clear to me that the micro stock model was the future of photography licensing.
When Getty announced that they were acquiring WireImage, I needed to make a career decision. I had always wanted to try and build a micro stock photography site, but it seemed like a very saturated market. I wondered what outlets, other than photography, the micro stock model could be applied to - video, flash animations, fonts, vectors, and music all came to mind. I chose to move into the music market because it was the largest market that had yet to be swept up by the micro stock licensing phenomenon.
Question: "Beyond that, will you still look for other niches to get into?"
Answer: "We have a couple of pretty game-changing things that we can’t really talk about yet... . I think they stand to fundamentally change the stock industry; not to sound too over-the-top, but some of the things we´re introducing could change the stock industry as much as microstock did in the early days."
Article by Australia´s smartcompany in the "Lunch with an entrepreneur" series. Interview by James Thomson as MP3 file (5.8 MB/17 min.).