Jon Oringer is Founder and CEO of Shutterstock, a New York-based stock photography agency. Finally, the fourth and last part of the interview is about networked work in global teams.
Jon Oringer is from New York. He received his bachelor's degree in mathematics and computer science from Stony Brook University and his master's degree 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 the company is a global marketplace for visual content based in New York, has 000 Employees, is a public company and distributes over 30 million photos, illustrations, vectors and videos. According to Forbes and Bloomberg Businessweek, he is Silicon Alley's first billionaire.
- What do you do first when you start your working day - at home or in the office?
- How did you establish Shutterstock?
- The books on the subject (advertising)
- And so Shutterstock came into existence?
- According to 10 company foundations: What motivated you to go through a project like Shutterstock?
- Is this strong inner conviction responsible for the success of Shutterstock?
- What distinguishes your working style?
- Are there moments when you don't work?
- How many hours do you sleep per night?
- Have there been setbacks in the company's development from which you have learned?
- Who were the first people you hired?
- Then what about the development of Shutterstock?
- How is your company structured and what has changed over the course of time?
- How do you find suitable employees?
- Which places are that exactly?
- Employees with entrepreneurial spirit sound great - but do you also make sure that the composition in the team is right?
- What has changed because of the stock exchanges?
- How is the development of new ideas in the team?
- Are new products actually emerging from these events?
- How does work organization work in teams?
- That sounds a bit spongy - how exactly are the processes in product development?
- What is the collaboration like in your international teams?
- What tasks do your employees have in the various teams?
- Different places of work in different time zones - that sounds very complicated. How exactly can one imagine the communication?
- This can work well for individual employees. But what does it look like when a team is working on a joint project?
- Does this also correspond to your personal way of working?
- How - by which tools and methods - do you increase your productivity?
- Does not the agility suffice under so much communication effort? Would you say you are still as flexible as a start-up?
- What is the most important thing in your eyes to maintain a certain flexibility?
- Top books on the subject
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What do you do first when you start your working day - at home or in the office?
No question: eMails. Unfortunately, I have the smartphone right next to the bed, so I can always call or eMails can react. What is also next to the bed is a notepad for new ideas.
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.
The books on the subject (advertising)
With this Business but if I hadn't gotten far, that would have been early for me clear. But it wasn't too bad, because I had a lot of other ideas. Most importantly, I've always had that Courageto start something new. Before Shutterstock I founded ten other companies - more or less successfully.
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 use new customers I wanted to address, I needed image material again and again, but had only a small budget. That's how it should be for others, I thought, and that's how the Shutterstock business idea grew.
According to 10 company foundations: What motivated you to go through a project like Shutterstock?
Just like with the previous start-ups, I was very convinced of mine Idea. Of course, I didn't know if Shutterstock would be successful.
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 stand still, but to keep evolving. Things to Learn is a process of constant small changes. You make mistakes, learn from them and then move on.
Shutterstock's success is ultimately the result of previous mistakes. And even now I am constantly looking for ways to improve the company. For example, I'm trying to figure out how we can bring new developments to market faster, that Marketing can improve etc.
What distinguishes your working style?
I work very methodically fast and efficient. My work is an integral part of my life; I don't separate the work from the rest.
That's just part of having your own Company has. I don't know it any differently: It's probably because I've always done my own thing and never worked any other way.
Are there moments when you don't work?
Yes. For example, when I'm sleeping. I also take breaks and go to the gym several times a week, for example.
Or I go for a walk or take photos. Traveling is also something that really inspires my creativity.
How many hours do you sleep per night?
On average 7 hours a night. It would be fantastic to get by with less, but unfortunately I can't do that.
But when I notice that my productivity is declining, I do a power nap.
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 people you hired?
First of all, I hired more programmers. Shutterstock acts as a hub between artists sharing their works through the platform sell, and customers looking for new imagery.
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.
Then what about the development of Shutterstock?
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 that in the beginning I did everything myself, I walked the streets of New York looking for suitable motifs, edited the pictures and uploaded them and everyone else at the same time Tasks adopted.
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.
How is your company structured and what has changed over the course of time?
We have grown from a one-man shop to a company with over 470 employees. We still employ a large number of programmers with different specializations in order to Technology behind Shutterstock to continuously improve and develop new offerings that make finding images easier and more exciting.
How do you find suitable employees?
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 also brave enough to develop crazy, unusual ideas. Such people can be found, for example, at start-up events, technology and Creative-Conferences around the world.
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 which Power owns, and specifically hire 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 IPO and more customers and media are keen on us I aufmerksam became.
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.
The tech teams also have several small hackathons a year, so-called “code rages”. This is all 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 whenever 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. So they can come up with new ideas every day Solutions develop.
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 gives one every quarter Strategy propose a specific topic that is important 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, who are responsible for various areas such as development, design, acquisition or quality control, develop their ideas for the respective area under the direction of a product manager and then present them to the entire company. Management only intervenes if the ideas deviate too much from the specifications.
What is the collaboration like in your international teams?
We currently have offices in New York, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, San Mateo, London and Berlin with more planned. However, many of our employees also work from home.
In practice, of course, this depends on the individual position. For example, we have numerous employees in direct sales. They have to be able to work from home because they are in constant direct contact Contact stand by the customers on site. And they only need internet access to log into our System can log in.
What tasks do your employees have in the various teams?
Most of our employees work in Sales and customer service. We have grown rapidly internationally over the past ten years and Shutterstock is now online in 20 languages. Despite all the internationality, it is very important to us to provide our local customers with a team of native speakers who know the language and the market perfectly.
This is also a reason why we still have our headquarters in New York and have not relocated to Silicon Valley like so many other tech start-ups. It's easier to find people like that in New York. Since October 2013 we also have one Office in Berlin and are currently setting up a new team of IT and sales specialists here.
Different places of work in different time zones - that sounds very complicated. How exactly can one imagine the communication?
Our management team in particular travels an incredible amount all over the world Welt. We email a lot. I myself get an average of 300 to 400 a day eMails. Unfortunately, information sometimes gets lost or misunderstood along the way.
The eMail one can Conversation cannot replace it and that is why we also make regular calls and skype or use Google Hangouts. The more digital DIE WELT, the more important personal discussions become. And especially in a fast-growing company like ours, a lot of things happen in the hallway. The field radio 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?
That's right, not only the management but also individual teams work together across national borders on joint projects and with service providers. Here we use collaboration tools such as Google Drive so that everyone has the current information at all times Status can see. This is also very practical because it is cloud-based and therefore available from anywhere, even on mobile devices.
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.
How - by which tools and methods - do you increase your productivity?
My productivity not only depends on me, but also depends in large part on the skills and creativity of others People. That's why I took a very close look at who I was hiring.
The challenge is finding people who have the same entrepreneurial spirit and want to make a difference. Precisely because we are in one Industry work that offers a lot of inspiration with its artists and fascinating image material, but also requires your own creativity, a working atmosphere in which ideas can develop is important to me.
We work in different teams - for example for marketing or product development - that have to coordinate and network with each other. It is therefore always important to keep an overview of the projects on which the individual teams are working.
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 allow unusual ideas, to try them out and perhaps fail as a result. And the discipline to maintain flexible structures. It takes far less effort to go the standard route, or even do your own thing, than it does to involve others and their ideas.
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