Why Everyone We Hire Must Think Like a Growth Hacker



“What keeps you up at night?”

I get this question a lot these days. It comes from analysts, investors, journalists, our board, employees, and friends. The answer has become clearer over the years, and it has to do with the most important resource we have at Shutterstock. The answer to this question can be narrowed down to a single word: people.

Shutterstock has 407 employees, and we’re hiring.

Everybody at Shutterstock is essential to our growth, but lately, I’ve been focused on finding more growth hackers to help us build and launch products and businesses. These people come from many different backgrounds and can be GMs, engineers, marketers, or product owners, and we encourage everybody in the company to think like a growth hacker.

What are the qualities of a growth hacker?

  • Product and marketing are the same. Not only does the product have to be something that truly changes the way people work, but network effects are crucial to the success of the product. Without a network effect, the product you create will eventually be too expensive to market because your competitors will have figured a way to drive behavior that attracts new paying users using gamification and behavioral economics. We have no problem spending money to market, but each dollar we spend goes much further than it normally would because we think about what the user does after we bought their attention. Our marketing methods are scalable, repeatable, and methodical, and we don’t rely on a viral trend or a single moment of fame to drive our growth.
  • Be an entrepreneur. Everybody at Shutterstock is encouraged to create. Being entrepreneurial means being scrappy, resourceful, and creative. An entrepreneur isn’t afraid to fail and knows how to take calculated risks.
  • Focus on execution. Instead of building a long Powerpoint presentation, try your idea on a small subset of users. Actions speak much louder than slides. Meetings take up time. Carve out 1% of your traffic and test something. Email 200 people with a creative way to try to drive a behavior.
  • Iterate to success. We test, refine, learn, and test again. At Shutterstock we aren’t always right…and that’s okay. By formulating a hypothesis and testing it, we learn. Sometimes we’re right, but sometimes we’re not. This process of experimentation is core to how we do what we do.

Your GPA and degree do not matter. It’s what you’ve created that does.

Whether you’re a designer, an engineer or a marketer, do you have what it takes to be a growth hacker at Shutterstock? I personally look for people with these qualities, and if you would like to apply directly to me, email growthhacker@shutterstock.com. I will read whatever comes to this email address, and I invite you to send me the reasons why you think you would be somebody we should hire.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Image Credit: CC by Alexandre Dulaunoy

About the author: Jon Oringer

Jon Oringer is the Founder/CEO of Shutterstock. He started Shutterstock with 30,000 of his own images – and today it’s the highest volume stock photo marketplace in the world. He creates companies, flies helicopters, and shoots film.

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