The serial entrepreneur, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Shutterstock feels that creativity is fluid and continuously evolving as technology provides additional means and tools to be more creative. Today, with numerous resources at public disposal, there is no reason why people cannot start working on their big ideas right away. If individuals run into any problems or questions, there are existing entrepreneurs and creators who can share their experience and advice whether it’s through social media, books, forums or online tutorials. If students need to learn how to code or design, they can easily and affordably enroll in a course for web design or participate in a coding class online. What truly differentiates successful individuals from the others is the willingness to learn, explore and take chances regardless of the desired outcomes.
In the case of Jon, he recognized his innate love for programming and the desire to establish himself in the industry with his own set of business ideas. Before incepting Shutterstock, he had founded ten other startups until he identified a business need for licensable images at affordable prices. In order to bridge this existing gap, Jon created the first global subscription-based image marketplace. Since Shutterstock was self-funded by Jon, he had the freedom to explore opportunities, take risks and rapidly scale new heights of success.
Shutterstock: A Creative Platform for High-Quality Assets, Tools & Services
Shutterstock is a global creative platform, empowering customers with compelling content, innovative tools, and valuable services that drive faster, more efficient content discovery and creation. Working with its growing community of over 400,000 contributors, Shutterstock adds over 1 million images each week, and currently has more than 200 million images and over 10 million video clips available.
In addition to the creative assets Shutterstock sells, the leading technology company also offer free editing tools to its creative customers, allowing them to create something unique and personalized for their company or brand. From Shutterstock Editor, people can also post directly to social media speeding up the whole process for the customers. Shutterstock also owns Bigstock, a value-oriented stock media agency; Shutterstock Custom, a custom content creation platform; Offset, a high-end image collection; PremiumBeat a curated royalty-free music library; and Rex Features, a premier source of editorial images for the world’s media.
Turning Initial Rejections into Triumphs
Jon started Shutterstock in 2003 with 30,000 of his own images and $10,000 where he carefully spent each dollar and worked hard to get a return from the start. This value of resources translated into a complex lifetime-value calculation which drives Shutterstock’s acquisition model to this day.
Jon’s journey from introducing the subscription model to the stock photography industry began when the only option to purchase stock images was to pay per image and individuals had to know where they wanted to use the image, for how long, in what countries, what formats, making the entire process complex and expensive. Jon understood that Shutterstock could only be successful if the marketplace had the network effect of both buyers and sellers. To kickstart the marketplace, he licensed 30,000 of his images on the platform to attract the first customers. From there, he opened the marketplace to other photographers, designers, and illustrators and soon the community grew up to more than 400,000 artists, videographers and musicians from all around the world.
Making a Mark in the World of Digital Imagery
Owing to the ever-evolving customer landscape, Jon along with his team focuses on developing their existing business, particularly fast-growing areas like the enterprise offerings as well as more editorial content. Shutterstock has also always distinguished itself by providing the highest quality customer service, fresh content and the best search experience, adding up to superior value for the customer. The company is continuing to build industry-leading technology to improve its offering by leveraging computer vision and AI technology.
Another pain point that Shutterstock recognized was the need for quick and easy editing tools. As the role of marketers and social media managers is expanding to include the creation of visual content needed to support their business, this new generation of digital marketers have little time to create compelling, beautiful visual content that accurately represents their brand and engages their target audience. For these busy, hybrid creative marketers and small business owners, Shutterstock introduced Editor, an online editing tool allowing users to quickly and easily create high-quality visual content to promote their product or business.
Keeping Pace with the Evolving Technology
The digital transformation and the evolution of technology have left Shutterstock customers, including those in the advertising, film, and media industries, with an ever-increasing need for more visual content. With a collection as vast as Shutterstock’s, the importance of being able to surface exactly what a customer needs with advanced search and discovery tools is essential to the company’s continued success. Its 15 years of experience has provided more than general knowledge and know-how, along with collected data on search and download patterns. Together with these deep insights, Jon and his skilled team has also grown better at identifying where they should be dedicating resources to the next big thing; machine-learning technology or new content offerings. All of this is shared with Shutterstock’s customers and contributors in a variety of ways to further inspire them as they work on projects.