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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Danny Postma, Founding father of HeadshotPro – Interview Sequence

Danny Postma is an indie hacker and is understood for being a serial entrepreneur, he’s additionally the Founding father of HeadshotPro. HeadshotPro generates AI headshots which are designed to seize a customers most photogenic qualities and reproduce them on a backdrop of the customers selecting, with good facial lighting that will take hours for an actual photographer to arrange underneath even essentially the most good circumstances.

You’re identified to be a serial entrepreneur, what was the primary enterprise that you just began?

Landingfolio was my first main undertaking. I began in 2015 once I was 21. On the time I used to be working as a contract Conversion Optimization Specialist and I used to be battling creating efficient touchdown web page designs for my purchasers. I created Landingfolio, a design gallery showcasing the best touchdown web page designs on the web, as a aspect undertaking to handle this.

I didn’t know the right way to program on the time, so I constructed it utilizing WordPress. This was a lot simpler than I anticipated. The web site nonetheless exists to today and will get 1000’s of tourists, however it’s onerous to monetize, so I made a decision to maneuver on to different initiatives.

When did you first develop into immersed on the earth of AI?

I first turned immersed on the earth of AI considerably by likelihood. Whereas engaged on my product Headlime, which was initially a non-AI instrument, a pal launched me to GPT-3. I used to be intrigued by GPT-3’s capabilities, so I made a decision to achieve out on to Greg Brockman, the CTO of OpenAI, to request entry. Fortuitously, I used to be in a position to get entry as a part of the primary batch of customers.

What was your first AI enterprise?

This introduction to GPT-3 marked the start of my journey into AI. It was form of a serendipitous transition from a non-AI product to an AI-based one. 

Whereas engaged on Landingfolio, I wrote an interactive e-book of 200 headlines, the place you might simply enter sure variables to have the headlines personalized to suit your personal use case. I realised this could truly be a extremely good software program instrument, so I turned it into a extremely easy copy spinner that did the changing for you and referred to as it Headlime. 

Across the identical time, GPT-3 was launched and as talked about above, I received entry actually early. I experimented with letting GPT-3 write the templates for Headlime—I used to be astounded by its potential to generate copy. This led to a pivotal second the place I noticed the potential of turning Headlime into an AI-powered copywriting instrument. 

It was a bit fortunate that I used to be already engaged on a copywriting instrument when a copywriting AI like GPT-3 got here into the image. I used to be one of many first individuals to implement GPT-3 in a manufacturing atmosphere, alongside Copy.AI and some different instruments.

May you share the genesis story behind HeadshotPro?

When steady diffusion AI was launched in September 2022, it opened up new prospects for me. Initially, I considered making a inventory photograph web site and developed one thing referred to as Inventory AI. Nonetheless, the standard wasn’t assembly expectations, and there was a priority about potential authorized points from huge firms like Getty Photos, identified for his or her intensive authorized assets to guard their picture rights.

This concern led me to pivot. I noticed Dreambooth was launching an AI service that might remodel faces, and realized I used to be engaged on one thing fairly related. I shortly developed and launched my product inside 30 hours, beating a competitor to market. ProfilePicture.AI, exploded on Twitter, producing important gross sales in only a week. It was a extremely shareable product, and I used to be lucky to rank properly in Google searches for profile photos.

Nonetheless, because the preliminary pleasure dwindled and gross sales started to lower, I knew I needed to pivot once more. That is once I began collaborating with David, a developer pal. We each have been engaged on AI-related initiatives, and I developed a Python mannequin that might manipulate photographs into completely different poses. This improvement led me to concentrate on creating headshots utilizing AI.

I launched Deep Company and HeadshotPro concurrently. Whereas Deep Company garnered numerous press consideration, it did not translate into gross sales. Alternatively, HeadshotPro was an on the spot hit. Seeing the demand for AI-generated headshots, I made a decision to focus extra on HeadshotPro. It was an sudden pivot, but it surely demonstrates the significance of staying versatile and reacting to what the market is telling you.

What are a number of the completely different machine studying and Generative AI algorithms which are used within the backend?

HeadshotPro would possibly look easy at first look, however we have now a large pipeline working within the backend to output nice headshots. Most of our rivals solely use Steady Diffusion, an open-source picture technology mannequin, together with DreamBooth, which trains by yourself photographs. 

That’s not how we do issues.

We deploy dozens of additional open-source and customized improvement fashions to 10x the output high quality. We’ve been working for a full 12 months now on our personal customized fashions. We’re getting actually near constantly producing AI photographs which are indistinguishable from actual photographs.

One other open-source mannequin we use is LLaVa, a Giant Language and Imaginative and prescient Assistant that you would be able to immediate to ask questions on photos. We use this, for instance, to filter unhealthy person uploads or take away headshot generations which are NSFW. One other mannequin we use is Codeformer, which helps take away AI-artifacts from faces and switch them into extra lifelike ones.

You began HeadshotPro as a solopreneur, what are a number of the challenges with transitioning to constructing a workforce?

Transitioning from being a solopreneur to constructing a workforce for HeadshotPro has been a big problem and a journey of private {and professional} progress. One of many main challenges I confronted was the worry of hiring. Initially, I used to be hesitant to scale the workforce due to the uncertainties concerned in managing individuals. This worry led me to automate as a lot as I might by myself, particularly in the course of the pre-AI occasions.

Nonetheless, as HeadshotPro grew, I noticed that I might not handle every part alone. The choices have been both to promote the enterprise, proceed as a solopreneur, or construct a workforce. I in the end determined that constructing a workforce was the fitting factor to do if I needed to scale the enterprise, regardless of how scary it was.

This resolution marked a big shift from my identification as a solopreneur and compelled me to acknowledge that I did not have all of the solutions. I understood that constructing a workforce would require a distinct mindset and would change the targets I had for my enterprise. It was not nearly working a enterprise anymore; it was about main a workforce of individuals to construct one thing collectively.

This shift introduced a mixture of pleasure and worry. I used to be open about my inexperience with all of the potential workforce members from the very first interview, setting the expectation that this was new territory for me and there is perhaps bumps alongside the highway. I began with contractors and part-time individuals who already had different purchasers, creating a security internet whereas I discovered the ropes of workforce administration.

Trying again, I ought to have began a workforce approach earlier. I now have a small workforce of unimaginable sensible and devoted individuals they usually do issues I might have by no means ever accomplished myself. It’s additionally approach much less lonely and way more enjoyable to share your wins collectively. 

AI headshot turbines are gaining popularity, how do you differentiate HeadshotPro in a crowded area?

Photograph high quality is our main differentiator from different AI headshot turbines. Our rivals depend on open-source fashions—which, to be frank, merely aren’t adequate for lifelike photograph generations. By making day by day iterations in direction of greater high quality headshots, we consider that inside a 12 months our headshots will probably be indistinguishable from actual photographs, additional growing the hole between us and different much less critical AI headshot turbines.

Lastly, we focus completely on skilled headshots. The majority of our rivals are transferring horizontally, providing issues like courting photographs and cute avatars, working their approach in direction of turning into a full-fledged photostudio. Whereas there may be clearly a marketplace for this, our workforce personally sees these detours away from skilled headshots as a distraction. Our sole focus is creating the very best high quality, skilled AI headshots. I don’t really feel our rivals share this single focus.

What are some ways in which your workforce is enhancing or optimizing the HeadshotPro expertise?

It’d sound cliche, however we actually are obsessive about the standard of our outcomes. Producing AI headshots which are indistinguishable from actual photographs is our finish purpose. If the mannequin improves by 1% every day, there’s no cause why we will’t attain that purpose, or get actually near it, by the top of this 12 months.

Except for iterative high quality enhancements, we’re engaged on bettering clothes technology. We really feel “digital attempt on” companies are going to begin drumming up extra curiosity in 2024, and we hope to parlay that tech into delivering higher outcomes for our company clients who typically request issues like matching fits for his or her worker’s headshots.

Then, in fact, our person expertise is at all times getting higher. Proper now we require 15-17 person enter photographs, as a result of that’s been the magic quantity for us in maximizing high quality. We’re engaged on various strategies to make issues just a little simpler for our clients, with out compromising the photograph high quality we work onerous to take care of.

What are another AI merchandise that you’re engaged on or contemplating launching?

I’ve constructed a ton of small AI merchandise:

  • Tattoos AI: An AI-powered tattoo generator.
  • Alice: A enjoyable AI social media experiment, exhibiting how AI can generate totally new idea and concepts that haven’t been seen earlier than.(https://www.thismodeldoesnotexist.co/)
  • Profile Image AI: A profile image generator, like a (a lot) much less skilled model of HeadshotPro.
  • Deep Company: Rent digital AI-generated fashions.
  • Meme Morph: Flip your self into your favourite memes.

There’s numerous enjoyable ones there, however I’m truly within the means of promoting most of those merchandise to completely concentrate on HeadshotPro. These initiatives haven’t received a lot consideration from me since HeadshotPro has taken off.

Thanks for the nice interview, readers who want to study extra ought to go to HeadshotPro.

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