Being Bold.

About a year ago, I emailed my investors and told them we were refocusing our company in a new direction… one reply really stood out.

“I have learned that acting from your heart and being bold about it sets the stage for greatness.” George Zachary

While pivots tend to have a negative association, our current company wasn’t failing and by many measures it was very successful. COLOURlovers had more than 2 million registered users, was a 5x Webby Awards nominee for Best Community, doing $500k in annual revenue and had organic year over year growth…

But, I never intended to build COLOURlovers, it was a weekend project that didn’t die when monday rolled around. Over the past 7 years it has connected with tens of thousands of people on a deep level… largely I believe because we made being creative super simple and accessible. I’m very passionate about the community we created and that empowerment of creativity we enabled, but if I’m honest, wearing the King of Color crown never fit right.

I’ve had the pleasure of being invited to speak at color conferences & workshops, but my talks are never directly about color and more about creativity. I run the worlds largest color website & community… and I’m not all that passionate about color. What I am and have always been passionate about is the creative process and using technology to enhance that process for millions of people. Again, if I’m honest, what we were doing was touching on my passion but I felt we could do more. I felt we could really make a dent in the universe.

What we are now building with Creative Market is by far a bolder vision that without being cliche, I believe can truly change an industry.

We launched the marketplace 6 months ago and the response has been awesome. Not just in the personal feedback we get from our sellers & buyers, but for our company too. We’ve had an evolution purpose internally and it’s been rejuvenating. The revenue numbers help with inspiration too!

But what we’ve launched and the story we’ve told to date is just a piece of the bold vision we are pursuing. This week we announced our platform and along with it a big part of the rest of our story., in itself is doing things to improve, evolve and enhance the stock media & digital content market. We’ve simplified licensing for buyers, gave sellers the most fair cut of sales compared to our competitors and brought all the different types of content we buy under one roof and enjoyable experience. But, in an always-online world where every piece of creative software has an asset that can make somebody’s life easier, what we are doing with a platform will change everything.

I try not to make bold predictions about the future, but I’m confident that not so long from now every app & creative software will have a living breathing marketplace built right into it… and we’re working hard to cement ourselves into the foundation of this in-app commerce evolution. It’s pretty crazy when you think about it; you fire up word or pages and the first thing you are presented with is an assortment of template types to help you get started… because starting with a blank canvas is always the hardest part. But those templates are limited and stagnant. You can import images & clipart into your work with a similarly stale library that was packaged and shipped with your app years ago.

As a designer, the broken creative process in Photoshop has always been very painful. You leave the app to go hunting across the web for images, fonts, actions, brushes, etc. often finding shady sources with unclear licenses. We asked 1,000+ members of Creative Market who use Creative Suite how much they spend each year on assets they use and on average they spend $150/yr. Multiply that by the 40M customers Adobe has and there is a big $6B annual opportunity without an App-Store equivalent. So we just launched it.

The Creative Market Photoshop Extension

But the real story behind this extension launch isn’t just what this means for Photoshop, but the platform that is powering this extension… the idea that this fluid in-app commerce can exist for all kinds of creative software.

Existing stock media companies are largely that, media companies that saw most of their technological evolution happen when they put their CDs online 10 years ago. Creative Market is a tech company in its DNA and we’re revealing the beginnings of what is coming.

Making big changes & announcing your plans to the world can be a scary process, but I do believe George’s words and am acting from the heart, being bold and chasing for greatness.

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