Jon Oringer is Founder & Managing Director of Shutterstock, a stock photo agency based in New York. In the first part of the interview, he talks about what is needed for a successful start-up and how to find his first employees.
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.
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.
Who were the first employees you hired?
As a first step, I hired more programmers. Shutterstock is designed as a hub between artists who sell their works across the platform, and customers looking for new footage.
I knew I had to optimize and expand the marketplace, so that both sides would like to work with Shutterstock. Some of these first-time employees are still in the company - David Chester, our chief architect, and Dan McCormick, SVP Technology. Even today, we are very technology driven and, for example, continuously improve the search possibilities.
How is your company structured and what has changed over the course of time?
From the One-Man-Shop we have now grown into a company that is strong through 470 employees. We continue to employ a great many programmers with different focus areas to continually improve the technology behind Shutterstock and to develop new offerings that make finding the material easier and more exciting.
The structure has changed greatly with the growth of the company, and the most difficult was to keep the original culture in spite of its size and maintain effective communication structures.
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