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OPINION! Billionaire & Shutterstock founder Jon Oringer: HR & brainstorming via hackathon

jon oringer

Jon Oringer is the founder and CEO of Shutterstock, a stock photo agency based in New York. In the third part of the interview he talks about how to organize recruiting as well as innovation and brainstorming in teams.

Jon Oringer is from New York. He studied Mathematics and Computer Science at Stony Brook University and received his Masters in Computer Science from Columbia University. In 2003 he founded Shutterstock with the Objective to offer royalty-free imagery at affordable prices. He started with 30 of his own photos. Today it fimps Company as a global marketplace for visual content based in New York, has 250 employees, is listed on the stock exchange and sells over 30 million photos, illustrations, vector graphics and videos. According to Forbes and Bloomberg Business Week, he's Silicon Alley's first billionaire.

How do you find suitable employees?

At that time, as now, we are using many ways to find new talents. Online job exchanges, their own website and social platforms are all part of it.

But above all, we look around places where the kind of personalities we are looking for are bustling. Shutterstock employees know their field very well, that's one side.

Which places are that exactly?

Above all, we are looking for people who share the entrepreneurial spirit, who are creative and brave enough to develop crazy, unusual ideas. Such people can be found, for example, at StartUp events, technology and creative congresses around the globe.

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The advantage of the grown team is that I no longer have to go out alone. For example, at the beginning of September there was a Team at the Berlin Music Week, among other things to present our new music offering Shutterstock Music.

Employees with entrepreneurial spirit sound great - but do you also make sure that the composition in the team is right?

Of course, we think about who owns the strengths, and target employees with expertise in different areas.

A company of generalists who can do everything but nothing really well, that would probably not work. But we don't need whole blood specialists with blinkers either. Our employees are curious and always looking for inspiration.

What has changed because of the stock exchanges?

We have become even more flexible and agile. This is mainly due to the fact that we have gained more financial leeway through the exchanges and have attracted more customers and media attention.

How is the development of new ideas in the team?

To ensure that new ideas are constantly presented, tested and implemented, we cultivate a creative entrepreneurial culture. Once a year, for example, all employees participate in an 24 hour hackathon.

A jury of employees from different departments and photographers decides on the idea. The winner idea is then also implemented. The last Hackathon took place in July of this year and for the first time employees from seven offices and five time zones took part.

Are new products actually emerging from these events?

Ja clear. Over the years, many product innovations have emerged from the hackathons, such as Spectrum, a search tool that can be used to filter the color of the images and which should be accessible on the website this year.

The tech teams also have several small hackathons of their own per year, so-called “code rages”. This is primarily about code innovations and increasing efficiency.

How does work organization work in teams?

Overall, Shutterstock is a very agile company and we try to work in small groups as much as possible so that ideas are better shared. In addition, we test everything that happens on the website and make this data available to all employees. This is how they can develop new ideas and solutions every day.

For our company culture and our success, it is very important that every employee knows his ideas are welcome, because we want to make Shutterstock even better - for our customers and employees.

That sounds a bit spongy - how exactly are the processes in product development?

We are planning about two to three new projects per quarter. Product development and innovation are a very organic process in our company that runs completely transparently and brings together all product areas. It is only important that the results are measurable in the end.

Our management team sets a strategy every quarter, a specific topic that is important to us. These are mostly very general topics such as “new content types”, “globalization” or “direct sales”. On the basis of these specifications, the product development teams, which are responsible for various areas such as development, Design, Acquisition or quality control are responsible for their ideas for the respective area under the direction of a product manager and then present them to the entire company. Management only intervenes again if the ideas deviate too much from the specifications.

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3 responses to “OPINION! Billionaire & Shutterstock founder Jon Oringer: HR & brainstorming via hackathon ”

  1. Competencepartner says:

    Interview with billionaire & Shutterstock founder Jon Oringer - 3/4: brainstorming via hackathon:… #profession #education

  2. Simone Janson says:

    Interview with billionaire & Shutterstock founder Jon Oringer - 3/4: brainstorming via hackathon -

  3. Profession pictures says:

    Interview with billionaire & Shutterstock founder Jon Oringer - 3/4: brainstorming via hackathon -

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