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Big Ideas: “Creators can move away from platforms and onto self-controlled areas that allow them to make the rules” with Hector Lopez, CEO of Instasize

Creators are going to take control of their content and start moving away from platforms and onto self-controlled areas that allow them to make the rules. Social networks are severely limiting the growth and discoverability of social creators. They won’t stop using platforms like Instagram, but they’ll also want another place where they can be discovered, […]

Creators are going to take control of their content and start moving away from platforms and onto self-controlled areas that allow them to make the rules.

Social networks are severely limiting the growth and discoverability of social creators. They won’t stop using platforms like Instagram, but they’ll also want another place where they can be discovered, searched and not be so reliant on algorithms.

For example, Instagram decides when to show your content and who gets to see it. If you want more people, including more of your own followers, to see what you post, then you have to pay Instagram through their Promoted Post ad product.


Ihad the pleasure of interviewing Hector Lopez, co-founder, and CEO of Instasize. College friends Hector Lopez, Eddy Homez and Omar Arambula started Instasize at 23-years old, creating an app to resize photos for Instagram.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

During college, my friend Eddy wanted to start a company. Seeing app development as the most natural path to creating a product, we created a toothbrush subscription service, which turned out to be a bust. We went back to the drawing board, looking for a problem to solve. One problem that stuck out to us was the need to resize photos from the rectangular format to square format for Instagram. So, we built an app called Instasize. To get customers, we went on Twitter and promoted the app to as many people as we could find.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

My career changed from being a 23-year-old med student studying for a physiology midterm to the CEO of Instasize with millions of users in just 12 months.

Can you tell us about your “Big Idea That Might Change The World”?

Creators are going to take control of their content and start moving away from platforms and onto self-controlled areas that allow them to make the rules.

Social networks are severely limiting the growth and discoverability of social creators. They won’t stop using platforms like Instagram, but they’ll also want another place where they can be discovered, searched and not be so reliant on algorithms.

For example, Instagram decides when to show your content and who gets to see it. If you want more people, including more of your own followers, to see what you post, then you have to pay Instagram through their Promoted Post ad product.

That’s where Instasize comes in.

In 2019, Instasize will begin providing features to help content creators capitalize on their brand, independent of the social platform.

How do you think this will change the world?

Social platforms have all the control. An influencer-to-be works hard to create content, build engagement on the platform and grow their follower base. Yet when that content is posted by the creator, the platform decides how many of the creator’s own followers get to see it. The platforms incentivize advertisers to tap into the platform whenever they want and engage with any amount of users they want as long as they are willing to pay.

Instasize is giving power back to content creators and influencer hopefuls by giving them tools, education and opportunities to grow their social followings independent of the different social platforms, whether that’s helping users create engaging content, or empowering and guiding users in monetizing their social platforms.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this idea that people should think more deeply about?

Platforms are huge and have endless amounts of money they can offer creators to not leave the platform. If this happens, then the vicious cycle of data extraction from casual users will continue until there is a shift of value.

Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this idea? Can you tell us that story?

We realized the problem when Instagram changed to an algorithmic feed. This change automatically created an attention fight between creators and advertisers. Look at your feed and realize how many ads are served to you. This is all the money that is getting between you and the reason you are even on this platform — to see the creators you follow.

What do you need to lead this idea to widespread adoption?

Creators need to see how much of a following and how much revenue they are missing because of the social platform algorithms. Then, they need to move their followers to other places that they control.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Stop over-analyzing. Whatever it is you want to do, just do it. Looking back at the Instasize origin story, we built the app in two days. We didn’t wait to analyze the launch or market fit. We jumped head first, got feedback, and iterated.
  2. Listen more, talk less. Everyone wants to be the hero and lead the team in the right direction. The problem with this thinking is egos can get in the way. At Instasize, we saw this becoming an issue and began addressing it at every level. We established that the goal of meetings and discussions are to push the company forward, and not to get personal wins.
  3. Hire fast. The needs of the business grow rapidly, and you need to hire fast to become successful. Early on, we found ourselves scrambling to find talented people to help us drive the company and app forward and luckily have learned that we should always be hiring because the best people show up at the most random times.
  4. Fire faster. Sometimes the organization can have people who aren’t committed or who aren’t pushing the company in the right direction. Kicking the problem down the road will only make the problem worse. Firing sucks, but so does moving a company in the wrong direction.
  5. Think bigger. Don’t ever get comfortable. As a small team with no funding, we learned this very fast. We took bets that, in hindsight, could’ve been detrimental, but we did it because our company goals became more aspirational, and we needed to evolve.

The future of work is a common theme. What can one do to “future proof” their career?

Become a systems thinker. The world is becoming more connected, and the reasons that drive a company forward are increasing in complexity. Those who can really identify and understand the systems in which their businesses operate and grow will become very valuable.

Based on the future trends in your industry, if you had a million dollars, what would you invest in?

I would take a short position on Facebook. The growth is unsustainable, and end users are becoming more aware of the data that is being shared, which cuts into their entire business model of advertisements.

Which principles or philosophies have guided your life? Your career?

My 8th-grade history teacher said the one thing that stuck with me the most: “If you aren’t educated in whatever you are doing, someone who is will take advantage of you.”

Can you share with our readers what you think are the most important “success habits” or “success mindsets”?

Be confident in yourself. If you display unwavering confidence in whatever you are pursuing, no one else will question it.

Some very well known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say?

We are building the future for creators. No funding to date. $14M in revenue. 500k subscribers. 50% profit margin. Competing against unprofitable companies with $50M — $90M in funding.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

I’m @hlopez_ on Twitter, but if you want to learn how to create visual content to grow your voice on the internet follow @instasize.official on Instagram.

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