Jon Oringer is the founder and CEO of Shutterstock, a stock photo agency based in New York. Finally, the fourth and last part of the interview is about networked work in global teams.
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.
In the last part of the interview, you have already mentioned that your employees are based in different countries: How does cooperation work in international teams?
Yes, we currently have offices in New York, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, San Mateo, London and Berlin. Many of our employees also work in the home office.
In practice, this depends on the individual position. For example, we have many employees in direct sales. They must be able to work from home, because they are in constant direct contact with the customers on the spot. And they also need only one Internet access, with which they can log into our system.
What tasks do your employees have in the various teams?
A large part of our employees work in sales and customer service. We have grown strongly internationally over the last ten years and Shutterstock is now online in 20 languages. With all the internationality, however, it is very important for us to provide our local customers with a team of native speakers who know the language and the market perfectly.
This is one reason why we still have our headquarters in New York and have not moved to Silicon Valley like so many other technology start-ups. In New York, such people are easier to find. Since October 2013 we also have an office in Berlin and are currently building a new team of IT- and Salesspezialisten.
Different places of work in different time zones - that sounds very complicated. How exactly can one imagine the communication?
Especially our management team is traveling a lot around the world. We email a lot. I myself get an average of 300 to 400 daily eMails. Unfortunately, information sometimes gets lost or misunderstood along the way.
The eMail can not replace a conversation and therefore call and skype in addition regularly or use Google Hangouts. The more digital DIE WELTThe more important the personal conversation becomes. And especially with a fast growing one Company Like ours, a lot of things happen in the corridor. The Flurfunk is still an important means of communication.
This can work well for individual employees. But what does it look like when a team is working on a joint project?
Right, we do not only work with the management, but also individual teams across national borders together in joint projects and with service providers. Here we use collaboration tools like Google Drive, so that everyone can see the current status at any time. This is also very handy because it is cloud-based and therefore available from anywhere, even mobile.
It also works for our product developers, where it's important to sit together and talk. Here, too, we have found a solution: Although they work from home, they are connected to their team throughout the day via the iPad robot. Almost as if they were sitting together in the office.
Does this also correspond to your personal way of working?
I find productivity does not depend on the place. Sometimes I'm productive in the office, but sometimes I'm very productive in places that I would not have expected.
It is also difficult to be productive regularly at a certain time. It is therefore important for me not to be tied to the place or time in order to be able to work.
Does not the agility suffice under so much communication effort? Would you say you are still as flexible as a start-up?
From the size of the company, we are not a start-up anymore, but grow very quickly, which has to be said very clearly. We have, however, been able to maintain the company culture of a start-up and will continue to try to avoid group structures.
We have an incredible amount of new offers and a team of creative minds who want to create something new. In my view, this is our success story, which we cherish and nurture.
What is the most important thing in your eyes to maintain a certain flexibility?
Courage and discipline! The courage to admit unusual ideas, try them out and perhaps also fail. And the discipline to maintain flexible structures. It takes far less effort to go the standard way or even to do its own thing than to involve others and their ideas.
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