Andy Yang: The team you'll build is the company you'll build

A convo with Andy Yang, CEO of 500px, a global online photography community where users share and licence amazing photos.

Andy discusses company culture, user listening and more - listen on Soundcloud

I chatted with Andy about:

  • What his focus was entering 500px as a non co-founding CEO — mainly, solidifying the organization’s culture and determining what metrics to focus on to achieve business goals.

In terms of what I wanted to achieve from a business standpoint, was to position us for the next round of funding.

Again, that wasn’t the end goal, but to really get the metrics in order — to start to implement OKRs. Our top-level OKRs or KPIs were really centered around the community.

  • How his past working in Silicon Valley has influenced his current role

Initially when we were expanding our community, we thought, “How can we get our photos everywhere?”

Again, that translated into getting our photographers more exposure for their work, and to ultimately help them commercialize their work. As well, it will help us grow our user base and grow our brand.

  • How he listens to customer feedback of the 500px online community (a whopping 8 million users)

You have to take data, and start to infer insights from that data. As any startup will tell you, you have to be data-informed, if not data-driven

But for a creative community… you have to listen, you have to have that intuition from listening to your customers and distilling common themes.

  • How crucial it is to build a strong company culture, especially at an early stage

The team you’ll build is the company you’ll build. And so, a lot of tech blogs will talk about culture, there is a process to it.

Number one, it’s an introspective process. So as a CEO or as a founder, the company is going to magnify your strengths and your weaknesses, and so the best thing you can do is be very self-aware, and to write and to codify those strengths and weaknesses, and start to distill those into people or characters that you like or want to work with that you value.

BONUS: Andy participates in our SaaS Speedround —he has to answer our SaaS-related questions in under 50 seconds — does he make the cut?

Have a listen and find out for yourself!

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