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 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 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.
The advantage of the grown team is that I now no longer have to go out alone. At the beginning of September, for example, a team at Berlin Music Week, among others, was introduced to present our new music program 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.
One Company Generalists, who can do everything, but nothing really good, probably would not work. But we also do not need thoroughbred specialists with blinkers. Our employees are curious and always in search of 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?
Yes, of course. From the Hackathons over the years many product innovations have emerged like Spectrum, a search tool, with which one can filter according to the color of the pictures and this is to be accessible via the website this year.
In addition, the tech teams have several own, small hackathons a year, so-called "Code Rages". This is all about code innovations and increased 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 leadership team provides a quarterly strategy, a specific topic that matters to us. These are usually very general topics such as "New Content Types", "Globalization" or "Direct Sales". Based on these specifications, the product development teams responsible for various areas, such as development, design, acquisition, or quality control, then develop their ideas for the area under the direction of a product manager and ultimately present it to the entire company. Only if the ideas deviate too much from the guidelines, the management steps in again.
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