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Beginnings: The Breakthrough Moment

Jon Oringer, Businessman

"I needed a constant flow of imagery and I was taking those photos sometimes myself."

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I was a software developer back in the late ’90s I was kind of a one-man show. I hit up on this pop-up blocker, and this pop-up blocker sold really well for many years. I thought I would keep making it better and I thought I would have the thing forever. And then one day Microsoft sold a pop-up blocker to Internet Explorer, which was the most popular browser at the time. And it put me out of business overnight.

I had always enjoyed taking photos and I always took a lot of photos. I developed my own photos back when dark rooms were kind of fun to have. And once digital photography started to become something more mainstream and the internet started to become a place where I could build products and kind of make money off of them, I started to merge those two things together. At first I was using my own photography to sell the pop-up blocker you can imagine me taking a picture of someone, you know, trying to punch the keyboard and getting frustrated. I needed a constant flow of imagery and I was taking those photos sometimes myself.

I started to realize that it was really hard to find images. Every time I would need to put an image in an email and send it out to try to convert my free-trial users into paid users, for instance, it was really difficult. So I decided that I was gonna start a stock-photo marketplace and make it really easy for people to constantly be able to use whatever imagery they need for all of their projects. That was kind of that breakthrough moment.


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