Thursday I was in Tokyo (again) to meet with the execs from iStockphoto who were in town for the launch of iStockphoto Japan. If you remember from this post entitled Where can you get good images? — and this one called iStockkphoto.com: quality photos for the rest of us — I'm a raging, inexorable thunderlizard evangelist (what?) for iStockphoto. iStock is run by some seriously cool people, and over the years they’ve cultivated a loyal community of photographers, artists, and customers across the globe. Many of them, like Guy and me, have become big fans. iStockphoto in fact took a page right out of Kawasaki’s Art of the Start and have been kicking butt ever since (read their interview with Guy). Over a year ago Getty Images acquired iStockphoto for $50 million. This seems like an excellent fit since Getty Images is the leader in rights-managed stock (and high-end royalty free, etc.) and iStock is the leader in microstock with a vast community.
Meeting the iStockphoto execs in Tokyo at their local digs. (L-to-R) Me; Bruce, President & CEO; Garth, VP Business Development; Kelly, VP Marketing
I began using iStockphoto back when they didn’t have such a large catalog of images, but I was attracted to the easy of use of the site and the concept behind the microstock agency. Now they are up to over 1.8 million images (and growing). I was at the office of Getty Images Japan to meet the iStock executives from Calgary and discuss some ways we can help each other (more on that later). They are a great group of guys. They treated me to lunch in Harajuku at the funkiest Okonomiyaki place I have even seen and I was their guest at a blowout party on the top floor of the Mori Tower in Roppongi Hills with Getty Images and 500 creatives to kickoff the launch of iStock in Japan. The folks at iStock and Getty are extremely cool…and they know what they are doing. I was quite impressed.
Bruce and the guys show me their Canadian method for making Okonomiyaki.
See more photos from my time with Getty and iStock in Tokyo. There are many places to get photos these days, but I urge you to go over to iStockphoto and give them a try.
Below are three slides I'm using in a new presentation I just put together today; the two images are from iStockphoto.
(1) I'm often asked by young entrepreneurs in Japan how they can get customers. I'm also asked constantly by foreign students how they can get internships in Japan.
(2) My answers always start the same: You gotta get out! The idea of getting out there, taking a risk, and selling yourself (and your vision, etc.) is not something that comes naturally to most Japanese. The quote from the Kawasaki interview with the iStockphoto crew underscores my point: nothing comes to you — you have to go get it.
(3) Having a diverse, quality network has always been important for entrepreneurs, but in today's world it's absolutely critical. So get out there and "press the flesh." Go to parties, attend conferences, chat up the person preparing your coffee at the local Starbucks in the morning, whatever. We're only here on this planet once, and you just never know who you'll meet if you get out.
I met Juergen Sack, a German photographer living in Tokyo who contributes to iStock in his role as “Exclusive Photographer” for iStockphoto. I’ve used many of his images before so it was fun meeting the man behind the camera. Checkout some of his images here. You just never know who you'll run into...
• Interview with iStockphoto Founder and CEO Bruce Livingstone
• Interview: Bruce Livingstone, CEO, istockphoto.com
• iStockphoto CEO on Getty Images acquisition: Exclusive interview on one year anniversary