🏀 Baller Spotlight: Joel Flory, VSCO

Some quick thoughts on the CEO of VSCO

Background on VSCO

  • VSCO is one of the top apps in the world that enables people to edit and share photos

  • Latest reported numbers include 2M+ paying members, approaching $80M in revenue (TechCrunch)

  • Raised $90 million from Accel, Glynn Capital and others at an estimated $550 million valuation (Forbes)

  • Joel Flory, CEO - began career as wedding photographer and then built a business around that. He then linked with co-founder Greg and they decided they want to build a business “by creators, for creators”

Recent Podcast Interviews

My Take

I love listening to more unstructured interviews of CEOs who ideally are first time founders. I’ve been familiar with VSCO for a while as I’m leading a similar company for music creators but never really had the chance to hear or learn about Joel until I came across his episode This Week in Startups which I highly recommend.

I instantly vibed with Joel because you could tell he’s just an authentic, genuine dude who has learned a lot in his journey and is willing to share that.

A few things stood out at me throughout the different interviews:

  • He loves to learn and figured out how to transition into becoming an elite CEO by focusing on a few key things listed below

  • He’s a clear thinker who is humble and relatable

  • Some of the books that had a big impact on his journey include Essentialism, The Five Dysfunctions as a Team, and How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk

  • Hiring a Head of People sounds like it was a game-changing moment for them as they scaled into the later stages

  • He is a firm believer in the subscription business model as it aligns with the company mission in consistently delivering value to the customer (as am I)

  • He has a great outlook on life. While VSCO is a rocketship company, he still mentions several times that he focuses on himself (health, etc) and family (he’s a Dad, etc) above anything else which seems to have stemmed from some of his learnings around essentialism

Joel’s Focus as CEO

I believe this is my primary role as a CEO is to build the team and grow the team and organizational health is everything. And this was about three years ago that really made this transition as my focus as CEO been around building the team, the team dynamics, because ultimately, how we work is equally important to what we do (TwentyMinuteVC Podcast)

Four things he focuses on:

  1. Building the team

  2. Growing the team - how do I help develop the people here to be the best version of themselves

  3. Setting the vision - where are we going (leaves the “how” to the team)

  4. Telling the story - both internally and externally


So, yeah I’m rooting for VSCO and rooting for Joel. I’ve never had the chance to meet him but hope to one day. I love how intentional he is in thinking about his role as CEO (and more generally as a human in life) and hope to incorporate some of these learnings into my life too. I really encourage you to give one of his interviews a listen as then you’ll understand why I consider him a BALLER 🏀