The Inspiration Behind Yuri Arcurs
This time, I’d like to introduce the best selling photographer of the World. Yuri Arcurs, who started shooting pretty recently while being a university student and just after a few years made it to the top in terms of sold photos. The quality and themes merged in one strong symbol that just works. Yuri’s portfolio at Pixmac is selling really well and I hope we will sell even more for Yuri over time.
Is your content complete? What themes are not yet covered by Yuri?
My content is by no means complete. I am specifically and foremost a lifestyle people shooter and I have around 200 still life images in my collection for example. But there are tons of things I have not been able to shoot yet. I don’t have time enough to do all the ideas on my list.
Are ‘people’ still the best selling content? Where do you look for ideas?
No, people are not the best selling content. Right now graphic animational images sell a lot better. When it comes to inspiration, I prefer books. I look through tons and tons of books every year. Last year I spent 24,000 USD on books, but this is an expense which I do not regret because these books are like a fountain of inspiration for me.
Can you imagine yourself in 2 years?
I imagine myself being a wiser and more handsome version of my younger self.
What’s so bad about exclusivity?
Exclusivity isn’t bad in itself. It’s actually a very good idea if your productivity isn’t that high, but at my level it makes much more sense to be non-exclusive. I have an overhead of about 200,000 USD per month and with this amount of money involved, it becomes risky placing all your eggs in one basket. To the lay man or the single individual producer it certainly makes sense, but for me it would involve a huge financial risk.
People working with you are either ‘employees’ or ‘friends’ ? How’s the atmosphere while working with Yuri?
I don’t think you should ever mix your personal life with your business life, and because of this I never hire friends or family for important work positions. You can hire them for small things, but never for positions in which you have to set demands, deadlines or be a boss to them. It only causes problems in the long run. We keep a friendly atmosphere at work, but I believe that I, as an employer, have learned to be fairly strict over the years. I was less strict when younger and I was of the faulty belief that being a good boss was also being a good friend and being popular. Growing wiser I have learned that being a good boss is very far from this, and it is my experience that employees will actually feel very insecure in their job position with a boss who is too friendly and who does not set demands. Over the years, I’ve realised that being a rather firm leader will contribute to the best possible working environment for everybody. What is a compliment coming from somebody that is always kind?
Vita: Hmm, nice thoughts! I’m actually in the phase of trying to be friendly, but you’re right it might turn against you in time. On the other hand I hope there’s a way how to be a nice boss while making employees feeling safe. The other thing is that there’s no situation such as being safe. Everything changes and nobody is ever safe.
What stock agencies inspire you? Who are the innovative leaders?
IS is one of the agencies who are doing very good at the moment, but they do not inspire me. They have a very good feeling of the market and they have excellent resources and knowledge about the industry. Their shortcomings are foremost found in their management of contributor relations as well as usability issues, server downtime and speed, and very old programming on their website. But these are problems I see with all other agencies as well. I admire Pixmac for their excellent SEO efforts which are quite astonishing. Very few people know enough about this to comment on it, but SEO is a very complex issue, and I truly admire them for their efforts in this area. DT and SS are good at this too. Other than the above, I also admire FT for their efforts in pushing up prices. But when I launch my own site in about 6 months from now I’ll probably be facing some of the same problems I see with the online agencies right now…we’ll just have to wait and see about that.
Is there anything that we should change/improve at Pixmac? Are you happy with our sales?
Pixmac is actually doing very well. When dealing with as many agencies as I do, one thing that comes close to heart is transparency in finances and sales reports. We would like to see more transparency in these areas – especially in sales. Also, we could see Pixmac tweaking their default search algorithm a little bit, because it seems to display images that are not always most relevant. If Pixmac was as good at tweaking their algorithm as they are on the SEO front, it would look great first time you searched. Other than that they should just keep going the way they are – keep up the good spirit and keep improving.
How’s the progress with your own site?
Way too slow. Three programmers and two designers are working on the site full time, but it is a very slow process. We are setting up a new outsourcing department to manage customer relations and are training and recruiting extra staff currently. We should be ready to launch the site in 4-6 months. Many people are wondering whether we plan to start a stock agency of our own, but I can assure them that this is not the case. My intention in regards to this project is to launch a great site selling only my images and unfortunately not to start an agency.
Vita: I understand. Recently I discussed some ideas with Jean-Marie from CandyBox Photo. I actually do have a few ideas that we can do to make big producers happier. Just give me some time to think about it…
You got burgled and something really valuable was taken? I understand ‘The Bridge bag’ was found?
I was very positively surprised at the joint effort of so many people in trying to find the bag. I had no idea that posting something like that on my Facebook page would result in an online riot roaming the streets of Italy and other places in the search of a single brown bag. I am really grateful of all the fans’ amazing and mind blowing efforts, and I can tell you that the bag was actually located in a shop in Italy and is now on the way to Denmark. Fortunately, I had backups of almost everything, so I’m happy to say that I did not lose anything irreplaceable except that bag – which, as it turns out, is no longer irreplaceable.
Vita: Thank you Yuri. The search relevancy at Pixmac is not yet perfect and you’re right that we’ve been focusing mainly on driving sales by SEO force to get traction in the early stages of Pixmac. The positive thing is that we already have the right traction and since last part of 2010 we work intensively on improving the relevancy and overal user experience. Piece by piece. I’d like to assure you that the contributor part is also going to get a major overhaul in upcoming weeks/months. All that means the future might be really nice for both!