Imagine a social networking site where you could chat with your friends online, share ideas, publish your art work as you get critiqued by you fellow followers and get the chance to sell your artwork online, that is exactly what Angelo Sotira together with Scott Jarkoff and Mathew Stephens created ten years ago when they launched DeviantArt Inc.
Based in Los Angeles, California, they launched on August 7, 2000 the online community which would showcase various forms of user-made artwork.
‘DeviantArt was started to service the community of artists who at the time we started didn’t have a place to congregate, share their work and publish what they were doing.’ Says Angelo.
DeviantArt aims to provide a place for any artist to exhibit and discuss works. The artwork showcased on the site is categorized in a comprehensive and well organized structure including, photography, digital art, traditional art, literature, Flash, filmmaking, skins for applications, and others, along with extensive downloadable resources such as tutorials. From when the site was launched, the categorizes have grown with more online users joining the community and requesting for more categorizes to be added where they would have a larger platform to upload their work and share it with other users.
‘We started with 12 categories of artworks. The whole point was to listen to what categories people want it created. We have listened and grown that from 12 to 2,400 individually launched categories.’
Getting around the site is fairly easy, DeviantArt has a mascot, ‘Fella’, a small robotic cat character that explains the site to first time users and it also offers a tour guide around the site to familiarize oneself with the community.
Exactly 10 years after it was started, the success of DeviantArt is overwhelming. The site consists of over 14.5 million members, and over 100 million submissions, and receives around 140,000 submissions per day. In addition, DeviantArt users submit over 1.4 million "favorites" and 1.5 million comments daily. Explore over 100 million original works of art. Angelo Sotira credits this success to the ability of him and his co-founders of the site to listen to exactly what their users want.
‘We believe that we do a better job of listening to the community better than any other company has. We have a department dedicated to listening. We listen and we absorb what the community would like...... And we are constantly in development. We are constantly in the feedback loop with the community listening’
Angelo believes that for the young entrepreneurs of today, they should use all resources available to them because when he started DeviantArt, technology was not as developed as it is today. He feels that the new crop of entrepreneurs has it a lot easier than he did and needs to do more with very little. He also feels that his generation built platforms while the new generation will be all about marketing, creating the most powerful generation of marketers the world has ever seen.
Written by Christine Maema