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Mike Mattera, the Man Behind Witness

I had the pleasure of interviewing Mike Mattera (@witness), the co-founder of Wonder with his partner Matthew Squillace (@squa). Wonder is a Photo-Editing app that allows users to edit their photos with one click, with presets created by famous photographers and creatives. Wonder is the first of its kind where we allow users to edit […]

I had the pleasure of interviewing Mike Mattera (@witness), the co-founder of Wonder with his partner Matthew Squillace (@squa). Wonder is a Photo-Editing app that allows users to edit their photos with one click, with presets created by famous photographers and creatives. Wonder is the first of its kind where we allow users to edit their photos with professional edits by famous photographers, without using Lightroom or any other photo editing software.

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

I have been shooting photography for the past 4 years, and I have recently taken it more seriously in the past 2 years by starting my Instagram page @witness. Since then I have grown a huge community of photographers and inspired creatives by taking pictures and putting my custom edits on them. I found a deep passion with editing all types of pictures, whether they be Sunsets, Cityscapes, Portraits, or anything!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?

I used to provide my followers with Lightroom presets, but I would always get complaints about how people did not have Lightroom or couldn’t afford it plus purchasing presets on top of it. One day I was speaking to my friend Matthew Squillace who has grown many large online businesses himself regarding these Lightroom presets, and he told me I was not thinking big enough, and to come out with an iOS app and offer it free to my followers. The rest is history and Wonder was founded!

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

We had originally thought that it would be easier to develop an iOS app that had similar editing effects as Lightroom, but we were wrong. Even though Matthew Squillace has had experience developing iOS apps in the past, this one was more grueling considering the elaborate technology behind such a software. We learned patience is a virtue!

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

What makes our app stand out is for sure the ease of use of the application and the fact that you can leverage presets made by professionals for a fraction of the cost that you can with a Lightroom subscription and purchasing overpriced presets from photographers. With Wonder, you get the best of both worlds.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I recommend getting into an industry that you’re passionate about. For example, I have a passion for capturing and editing pictures, Matthew Squillace has a passion for mobile applications and business operations; it is difficult to burn out from something that you are so passionate about. It is also very important to have a work/social life balance; family, friends, and time well spent with your significant other all play very important roles in the life of an entrepreneur.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

We are always grateful for our followers and users who continuously drive us to put out the best content and mobile app experience on the iOS app store.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?  

We have used our success to improving the photo editing process and making it more affordable to the average user. No one is forced to buy anything since we have free collections, and even our premium collections are much more affordable than the average Lightroom preset.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” – Ansel Adams

I personally love this quote just because it goes to show the difference between a good photograph being taken, versus an amazing picture with elaborate edits. Editing a photograph is just as important as taking it, everything needs to be perfect for it to be a fantastic photograph.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why?

1. Listen to feedback from users

Feedback from users and trusted sources has been the best in terms of us updating the application and fine-tuning Wonder to become what it is today.

2. Maintain great processes for development

We were lucky to partner up with very talented developers who maintained detailed processes when developing our application. They were extremely on top of everything and it would have been much more difficult without them.

3. Preparation is more important than anything

When creating a mobile application, the time preparing everything is more important than what is to come after the release. Every page, keystroke, piece of content needs to be prepared and optimized prior to release. We realized that before as well with previous apps we have done together.

4. How long the application would take to make

Originally we wanted to have the app made in a shorter time period than it did, but there are always issues that come up that will delay the release of an app. We were not prepared for such delays, but did not want to sacrifice the quality of the app whatsoever, so we were very patient.

5. Importance of analytics

This is probably the most important thing I wish someone told us before starting our company. Analyzing the metrics of an application will show you exactly what your customers are thinking when using your app, and if you know how to read the analytics correctly, you can adjust certain parts of your product to lead to a better user experience.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement  that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

The movement that I would like to start is for sure stopping this stigma that you need insanely expensive camera equipment and editing tools to produce beautiful photographs. With Wonder, we are proving to everyone that you do not need to have thousands of dollars in equipment in order to create beautiful art, you just need your phone and a willingness to learn.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Readers can follow our company on social media by following @Wonder. You can also follow the two co-founders @Witness and @Squa

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

No problem! If you want to check out our app, here is the link, let us know what you think!

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