Shutterstock founder and CEO Jon Oringer told the audience at The Next Web Conference in New York City on Wednesday how his company continues to innovate after going public and growing to hundreds of employees.
Oringer explained how Shutterstock facilitates internal projects like the learning platform Skillfeed. "We encourage everyone to be entrepreneurial," he said. "We do have big company vision, so you can't just do whatever you want ... [but] it's important that we have people that are constructively disruptive just like we were on day one."
Oringer said the company strives to maintain a culture of openness, listening, and innovation. He said he listens to employees and customers, and encourages them to contribute their own ideas.
"You need to constantly be listening and on the lookout for this stuff, and if you set up the organization and the culture right, these ideas will bubble up, and people will be talking about them and people should feel that they're free to talk about them," he said.
Oringer also emphasizes how important it is to remain scrappy like a startup when proposing new projects. In order to get approval from higher-ups, you should try to limit spending and resources as much as possible so that you diminish the amount of risk for the company.
"Try to rally up as many people as you can with as much information as you can to try to get it to appear in front of the right people in the organization who are the decision-makers to greenlight the project," he said.
During the session, Oringer also mentioned the challenges of expanding globally. When it comes to content on the company website, marketing materials, and customer service, he said, it's important to be able to communicate with audiences all over the world.
"We do it kind of well but we could do it a lot better. We have a lot of customers in Japan, but they don't quite get the local content that they always need, so we want to encourage all of our product teams to start thinking globally," he said. "It has to be every single person in the company thinking in 20 different languages."
The last challenge Oringer mentioned was Shutterstock's IPO. While he's happy the company is now public, he said, he looks back on the process as challenging and distracting from the company's true purpose.
"It's an amazing process, but it's a little bit of a distraction," he said. "It takes away from your everyday life at the company, and it takes a couple years. ...I'm glad we're through it because now we can concentrate on the product, concentrate on the customers, concentrate on the employees."