Dear Shutterstock customers, contributors, employees, and stockholders,

It has been an amazing privilege to lead this great company for 16 years as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Thanks to our incredible team and the support of our loyal customers, contributors and stockholders, Shutterstock has grown into a premier player in our industry and reshaped how creative professionals get the content they need. Now, we’ve reached a pivotal juncture in our growth trajectory. I believe the time has come for me to transition my role from CEO to Executive Chairman of the Board and pave the way for Stan Pavlovsky, our current President and Chief Operating Officer, to become our next CEO. …

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May 19th, 2017

President Stanley, distinguished guests, faculty, staff, students, and families.

I am very grateful to be here today among such remarkable honorees.

Today, I want to share three lessons I learned here at Stony Brook, which have served me well throughout my entrepreneurial journey. I will be brief, because I know you are all ready to be graduates — and most important to me,, I’m so ready to be referred to as Dr. Oringer — so I know the quicker I finish this speech — the quicker we can both achieve our goals.

I started my college education here in 1993 — graduated in 1996. I lived in Roth Quad and majored in Computer Science and Math. I really had a great time and learned a ton. Thinking back on what I would have done if I were writing this speech as a student, 20 years ago — I would have probably started last night around 10pm, drank a lot of coffee, ordered a pizza, opened my laptop (which weighed like 12 lbs) — and then begin to freak out. Seriously, planning ahead was not my strength but the good news for me is that I was a quick learner. …

Most of the chatter around Apple’s September 7th iPhone event has been about the removal of the headphone jack. What I’m focused on (no pun intended) is the dual camera system which will change photography forever. If this sounds like another incremental improvement that won’t change much, bear with me here.

Up until now, the main difference between a camera with a proper lens (like a digital SLR, rangefinder, or compact camera) and the tiny flat ones that you would find in any smartphone is a feature of a photo called depth of field (referred to as DOF from here). An image taken with a tight DOF creates a more dramatic image. The DOF effect is created with the aperture on a conventional camera, The aperture controls the amount of light that comes through the lens to the sensor. A secondary effect of opening and closing the aperture is the amount of focus field you will create. Open the aperture and let more light in and you shorten the focus field. Close the aperture and let less light in, you lengthen the focus field. Below is an example of an image with low aperture setting. The subject of the photo is a microphone — and the background drums are out of focus. Our brains are programmed to look to a focused object to understand what the subject of the photo is. Generally a glass lens on a camera body that has some distance from the sensor is able to create this DOF because you focus on a specific point and the physics behind the glass will blur objects in front and behind that object. …

We’ve all heard the story: Brilliant founder raises millions of dollars in venture capital and attains new heights of wealth and success. While this has been true in a few exceptional cases, I’m fascinated by how often this narrative is portrayed in today’s media. It has become commonplace in the tech industry for companies to be considered successful (or on a path to success) only if they have the validation of raising millions by venture capitalists.

That’s why, when I get asked, “When is the right time to take on VC funding?” my answer — “In a lot of cases, never” — is often met with surprise.

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Jon Oringer

Founder & Executive Chairman 「@Shutterstock」. Serial Entrepreneur. Commercially rated helicopter pilot.

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