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Interview with billionaire & Shutterstock founder Jon Oringer - 1 / 4: "I was convinced of the idea"



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Jon Oringer is the founder & managing director of Shutterstock, a stock photo agency based in New York. In the first part of the interview, he explains what a successful business start-up is necessary.

Jon Oringer Jon Oringer is from New York. He studied mathematics and computer science at Stony Brook University and earned a master's degree in computer science from Columbia University. 2003 he founded Shutterstock with the aim of offering royalty free images at affordable prices. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, he is Silicon Alley's first billionaire.


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Simone JansonSimone Janson, German Top20 blogger, Appearances in ARD, occasionally articles for WORLD, TIME, WIWO, t3n, W & V, makes Best of HR - Berufebilder.de & HR communication.

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How did you establish Shutterstock?

I've always been an IT enthusiast. At the age of five I did the first programming steps and then earned a few dollars with the repair of computers as a teenager.

With this business, however, I would not have gotten far, that was clear to me early. It was not too bad, because I had a lot of other ideas. Above all, I have always had the courage to start something new. Before Shutterstock I have already founded ten other companies - more or less successful.

And so Shutterstock came into existence?

When Shutterstock started, I was just finishing twenty and had developed a pop-up blocker. And noted:

No matter which way I wanted to approach new customers, I always needed image material, but had little budget. So it would have to go to others, I thought, and then the business idea Shutterstock grew up.

According to 10 company foundations: What motivated you to go through a project like Shutterstock?

Just like with the previous foundations, I was very convinced of my idea. Whether Shutterstock would be successful, of course, I did not know.

What I knew, however, was that I wanted to create something successful. If the whole thing had developed differently, I would probably have realized a new idea soon. Fortunately, the business was very good after six months and the demand for Shutterstock pictures was great right from the start.

Is this strong inner conviction responsible for the success of Shutterstock?

I try to constantly challenge myself. It is important not to step on the spot, but to develop more and more. Learning is a process of constant small changes. One makes mistakes, learns from them and then goes on.

The success of Shutterstock is ultimately the result of previous mistakes. And now I am constantly looking for opportunities for improvement Company, For example, I'm trying to figure out how to bring new developments to market faster, improve marketing, and so on.

How did the development of Shutterstock continue?

Already in the first year, I hired employees to help me with the technological development. I also worked with first external photographers.

You have to imagine, in the beginning I did everything myself, went through the streets of New York, searched for suitable motifs, edited and uploaded the pictures, and at the same time took over all other tasks.

As I knew on the one hand that I can no longer do it alone, but also that I was right with my idea and from Shutterstock what can be quite big.

Have there been setbacks in the company's development from which you have learned?

The ten previous companies I founded have all gone down in the sand, but something good has emerged, Shutterstock.

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  1. Start Ups can only be successful if you stick to 100%. Of course a little bit of luck and knowing the right people does not hurt either :)

    • Simone Janson

      Thanks for the comment, I see so synonymous. And one should be willing to learn from his mistakes, as the example shows.

  2. Sybille Hubig
    Sybille Hubig

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