Jon Oringer, Founder, CEO and Chairman of Shutterstock Inc., was inducted into the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame in a special ceremony at Stony Brook’s annual Engineering Ball on April 25, 2019. In attendance were President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., CEAS Dean Fotis Sotiropoulos, Provost Michael Bernstein and Senior Vice President of Advancement Dexter Bailey.
The Hall of Fame was established to honor alumni who have demonstrated exceptional success in their field, and served as an inspiration to past and future innovators. Hall of Fame recipients are recognized for sustained and significant leadership in engineering, technology, entrepreneurship or innovation throughout their professional lives. Oringer received his BS ’96 in Computer Science and Mathematics and Honorary Doctor of Science ’17 from Stony Brook University.
Oringer is a programmer, photographer, and businessman, best known as the Founder and CEO of Shutterstock. He began learning computer programming in elementary school coding simple games and plug-ins for bulletin board systems. Oringer started selling his own software products while attending Stony Brook , inventing and selling thousands of copies of what Forbes describes as “one of the Web’s first pop-up blockers.”
While marketing his software through a mailing list, he realized that emails with photos were better received than emails without. He recognized the need for licensable images at an affordable cost and created Shutterstock, the first global subscription image marketplace, in 2003.
Funding Shutterstock entirely with his savings, he rented a 600-square-foot office in New York and initially handled all roles himself. Shutterstock went public in 2012 and is now a portfolio of brands serving businesses, marketing agencies and media organizations around the world.
“I never imagined that I would be back at Stony Brook 25 years later accepting an honor like this,” Oringer said as he accepted the honor. “Here at Stony Brook is where I first learned how important it would be to balance these three variables — risk, reward, and time — in an undergraduate class called operating systems. I had always wanted to start a company but, in that class I learned an important lesson that has stayed with me ever since.”
Oringer advised students that “the best time to take these calculated risks is now. Time increases risk. It gets harder and harder to take calculated risks over time. You will fail sometimes. You will learn things about yourself that will scare and inspire you simultaneously.”