Discover One Amazing Creator Everyday #Creator23
Today’s story about the creator who is one of the best examples of a generalist individual thriving in this ever-changing world.
A developer, designer, photographer, co-founder, CTO and lifelong learner who has always believed in giving back to the community by providing value to society and inspiring others to join him on this journey.
Q. How many countries have you travelled till date?
A. I used to travel before, mostly in Asia. But not much in the last 3–4yrs because pretty much going back and forth between the US and Malaysia. But, when you refer to Instagram, I have beautiful photos there. If you come from the Maldives, you can take tons of beautiful photos. This location is very, very beautiful.
I think, growing up, living in Maldives I have realized that these are the best beaches in the world. We thought everybody else had the same beaches and we took it more for granted until you got out of the country and you realize, oh shit you have one of the best beaches as well.
And, photography started from there. Wherever I go, I do that. In the last couple of years, mostly in Europe, Korea, the US, San Fransisco. I won’t say, I have travelled much, If you look at my Instagram, this is the same fact that I am updating one photo a year now.
This is what you get when you belong to the startup world.
I have also visited India a few times because our Iconscout team is from there. I have travelled to Bengaluru. And, few of the hill stations. I have made tons of friends there. Back in school, all of the teachers were from India. I am very familiar with the Indian culture and all.
Q. Who is behind clicking beautiful images on Instagram?
A. I myself click all the pictures. I used to work for Red Bull as a photographer, I have been also involved in editing, lightroom, photoshop. Previously, wherever I go, I used to carry my camera but now I use the phone.
I got curious about photography by looking and exploring different peoples works and from there I started engaging myself with this. Photography helps in easing our mind. You need something to relax your mind, especially when you are hustling hard in the startup world.
Q. How did you acquire your first 1000 users?
A. The story goes like this, I was in product design and at that time we were doing a marketplace for home service, things like cleanup, laundry, and all. At those time, we were looking at bringing cartoons, graphics. Bringing motion to these is hard.
When Airbnb released a player for Android & IOS with an existing format. I and my friends thought maybe this is something to check out. And, we were like, what if we have this sort of files because when you look at any sort of files that are being generated like JSON, GIF and all of. And, you have the whole file. This was so niche from day one we were like, let’s create something around it.
And, within the next 8 hrs, we created a small website over the weekend and we thought to ping the Airbnb guys but we asked a few of our animator friends, hey here is the format, can you showcase your works here? And, at that time, we had no idea whether this animation idea is going to work out or not. Because, there wasn’t any web player, it was only for android and IOS. So, we did a bit of research and figured out that hey there is another library. But, we did the initial task of collecting things over the web. And a few of our friends gave us 10 files we put that on the website and we were like anybody can submit it and we will look through it. And, this weekend thing went for 2 years, we kept adding other things. At those time, we didn’t even have a login system.
When you submit something, just put your file, Twitter handles, the name and a description and that’s it. And on the backside, we did approval. That’s how we reached 1000+ users count. At that time, I was not like, hey can we build this community out of nothing.
After doing much study about the market and playing around with it. We started understanding that at the end of the day it was becoming a collective resource for people who were using Lottie.
And, to answer your question, I think it’s a community and very organic effect where people kept contributing and being curious about it and like there is no login and registration, it’s just completely giving value to people. And another thing that we set back then for us was building around giving back to the community instead of building a private animation portfolio. We never knew this is going to be big at all but because of those decisions today lotify is one of the largest libraries of motion and animation on the planet, be JSON file, mp4, gif any format. It’s much like Unsplash, it’s for motion.
I loved that community coming and using and we get to see appreciations for our efforts.
Lottifiles: Revolution in Motion
Q. How did you come into Entrepreneurship?
A. I dropped out of school in my 10th grade, I never liked the way I and the whole society was being educated. I used to ask “Why don’t school teach about creating jobs rather than finding them?”. You first finish high school, go for graduation and start finding a job. If everyone will start finding a job then who will create it?
I used to watch a lot of content online like Ted-talks, also being from a design and development background it started intriguing me about things around, how to solve problems in simplicity with this knowledge base. I think entrepreneurship came to me by doing lots of experiments around the building and trying new things.
Back in the years, I started an agency to help people, brands in providing the solution with apps/website. We used to get shitty products and turned them into beautiful ones. That’s the entrepreneurship mindset I build over the year by looking at things and how things work.
Moving to Malesia also helped me in diving more into this world of entrepreneurship because there is a big culture of building startups. When you go outside and explore the whole new world and you see them as tons of opportunities are waiting for you. By meeting amazing folks, connecting with them taught you many things apart from design and development in order to how to provide value, how to find a problem and solution. And, that is where it began the journey of building startups.
Q. What do you look into someone while hiring for Lottifiles??
A. As a Co-founder, I have to look into every aspect of the company. What’s going on in operation, hiring, development, etc. Based on that we hire people by judging them on their thought process, their mindset about personal growth.
We look for one thing and that is if I leave tomorrow, is this thing still goes on and if you find someone who is with that mindset then you as a founder feel that’s the right thing you have built.
One of the way I have learnt from hiring people, marketing, design or development to validate someone is that when you look at someone’s past experiences, their works, they all are highly influenced by the company they were in.
When we start hiring, we give them a small task say someone is from a design background, so we give them our home page design and ask them to redesign it and based on those kinds of assessment we get to know more about them. And, ask them to share your process, thoughts, tools purely based on the knowledge they have. The same applies to other roles also.
Another thing we ask them to do is that, can you give us a brief about how do you want to experience your life in lotify? Because based on their brief we look at ourselves and see whether we will be able to give them that level of environment or not. Because, obviously it’s not their last job, they have a lot to explore and experience and we do not wanna ruin that for them.
Besides, you can validate someone based on the quality of questions they ask. Whether the people are coming are A players or not.
We believe culture is the most important part, people who are coming they are not only to work, they are coming here to grow.
Q. What’s the first three things you do in the morning?
A. My day start with waking up and the first 2–3 hrs are booked for me. If someone wants to schedule something, schedule it after 11 AM and afterwards.
The first three things are reading, writing, meditating. And sometimes, I also take a short break when I sit alone and think and reflect on myself.
Q. What are the three books that have influenced your life?
A. The first book is The Hard things about hard things, this is one of the amazing books about building a company. Another book is more around non-tech stuff like Harvard Business Review management books.
Radical Candor is another book, it’s more around feedback and all. And, the last one is Hyper-Growth Handbook, this book has helped me in moving in the right direction without this I would have somewhere else.
Q. What’s the one mistake you would like to share with every startup founder?
A. Take this as a journey rather than taking this as you are going to do this right or this is the right way of doing this, you will figure it out.
If you ask, what would I go back and change I won’t say anything because even hiring and firing and going through that journey. It makes who you are.
I would suggest, focus on giving value and creating the people around you that can lift you up and just take care of yourself. Take this as a journey, you are gonna mess up, you are gonna learn a lot of things but this journey will be the biggest learning in your life.
Q. What’s your favorite beach in the Maldives?
A. There are more than 2000 Island and they are all pretty much the same and each one of them is really beautiful. I am from Formula. If you have to visit, just pick one and enjoy it.
Q. Suppose there is a big whiteboard in front of you. What’s the first line you would like to write?
A. Be the learn it all guy.
Lotifiles: One of the largest collection of animation on the planet.
iconscout: Collection of over 3M+ design assets
Thanks for reading.
If you know anyone whose story must be shared like Nattu, let me know email@example.com.
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