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Author Topic: Shutterstock CEO Says New Business Plan Hinged Upon Total Overhaul of IT  (Read 13509 times)

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« on: May 30, 2017, 22:21 »
0
Did anyone see this news?
https://blogs.wsj.com/cio/2017/05/26/shutterstock-ceo-says-new-business-plan-hinged-upon-total-overhaul-of-it/

They are modernizing the technology, and this is reason we are facing bugs and errors. I hope things will be back to normal soon.


k_t_g

  • Always ready for you!
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2017, 22:32 »
0
Humm We shall see if we get any improvements. Hopefully they also improve the way they review things too. Meaning in the way to make things more crystal clear.  ;)

Anyways thanks for sharing.  :)

« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2017, 01:51 »
+6
Change frightens me*. It usually means lower earnings.

(*That's probably why I've just bought a "like-new" Nikon F2 and six rolls of FP4).

« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2017, 08:13 »
+1
It's behind a paywall and I am not a subscriber. I'm guessing it's Oringer trying to convince analysts that SS can become a "platform" versus just a stock agency as a way to keep growing?

« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2017, 08:23 »
+3
Change frightens me*. It usually means lower earnings.

(*That's probably why I've just bought a "like-new" Nikon F2 and six rolls of FP4).


THIS!

« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2017, 20:41 »
+1
It's behind a paywall and I am not a subscriber.


Try this.

http://archive.is/yylha

« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2017, 08:21 »
+6
Thanks!

If you look at recent Glassdoor reviews (there's a couple from departing engineers), that paints a somewhat different picture from the buzzword-heavy press-release from Oringer and his new development VP.

We only get to look at things from the outside, but given the poor site performance (downtime, bugs and "improving" things that don't matter or making them worse (the contributor dashboard), I'm inclined to believe things are not all going smoothly with the latest (of many) CTOs and platform revamp.

On top of which, I don't think it's a business strategy to improve your site's code - if it were, Canstock would have been the market leader years ago (when Duncan was innovating and Canstock had great features no other agency did)...

I asked someone who's currently in the software business about 12-factor apps, and the summary of the answer was that it's great if you can do it, but not many can...

« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2017, 09:03 »
+2
"Pressure to meet unrealistic goals if you are part of sales, devaluation of main product to reach financial goals short-term."

Interesting... this sounds a lot like istock. Hope ss doesn't repeat the same mistakes with overly aggressive discounting.

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Exciting News For You
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2017, 21:52 »
+3
Has SS changed much over the past 15 years? I wonder how much of the current system is band-aid'd 15 year old technology.

« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2017, 01:51 »
0
Has SS changed much over the past 15 years? I wonder how much of the current system is band-aid'd 15 year old technology.
Given the exponential growth of data they store thats quite a sobering thought.

« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2017, 09:15 »
+11
Has SS changed much over the past 15 years? I wonder how much of the current system is band-aid'd 15 year old technology.

Look at part of a glassdoor review (from April 2017) of a departed software engineer

"Preventing the company from having high uptimes is a massive pile of tech debt, the fixing of which is often prioritized out of existence. Several attempts have been made in splitting up the monolithic Perl app that runs the store into several smaller microservices; however, since no resource planning, performance measurements, or any other sort of proactive actions were taken by the developers, the microservices have only increased the number of single-points-of-failure. Compounding issues is a relatively-new directive that all new services *must* be written in NodeJS, and while this is a positive trend from the previous directive of "you can write your code in any language you want";, the extremely-questionable choice of NodeJS was made by a small committee of developers, with no input from other teams in the company.

As such, development at Shutterstock is a nightmare of Lovecraftian proportions, which both developers and infrastructure being ill-equipped for the scale and challenges that need solving. Projects at Shutterstock used to be in pretty much every language under the sun (Java, Python, Perl, Ruby, NodeJS, and Go used to all be supported runtimes), so it's commonplace to be handed code in a language you're unfamiliar with. As a result, services are rewritten every time the assigned developers change (which is frequent, due to high turnover), and as a result, there are many instances where two or three microservices running to serve the same function.

The developers themselves are a mixed bag. As stated in Pros, there are some very smart people here, but they're sadly dwindling in number as the days go by. Instead of hiring experienced developers to replace them, managers instead hire very-inexperienced developers, often right out of college, or very inept developers, who actively make poor coding choices and lower the overall stability of the site further. Since these developers often function by pushing untested code into production with minimal test coverage, problems go undiscovered until they cause production problems, and only after several hours of looking at red herrings first.

The toxic nature of the culture at Shutterstock means that teams are rarely willing to work together, instead hoarding infrastructure resources and institutional knowledge in blind grabs for power and prestige. Shadow infrastructures are commonplace, only being discovered when they cause production outages or break in some other way that affects the developers who created them. At this point, the Infrastructure team is expected to support and fix these solutions, without being given either the manpower to do so, or the authority to remove these teams' abilities to create their shadow servers again. As a result, the infrastructure is in a constant state of flux, and a recent decision to move the entirety of the infrastructure to the cloud was both poorly-justified and badly-planned, and will lead to more outages in the future.

A lot of these faults and problems lie squarely at the feet of management, who have to be among the most inept group of executives I've ever worked for. Middle management is easily the worst, with good management is often coached out of the company, replaced by others who are too busy playing politics to manage effectively. There are way too many middle managers, and others are promoted to management positions without experience or a clear directive. As a result, managers often battle with one another over responsibilities and power, and burying each other in meetings is far more common than it should be. This directly affects morale and productivity, and engineers are often paralyzed into inaction for fear of making the wrong move and losing their jobs.

At the C-level, the poor performances continue. The CEO is a megalomaniac who micro-manages the site and the work teams are doing, often wasting tons of resources and time by refusing to allow more-qualified employees to handle the day-to-day operations. The tasks he sets are almost always impossible to complete on time, and he has no qualms about dismissing managers that he feels have failed him, even if the failures were due to his poor planning or lack of understanding of his own company's technical stack. This further increases stress and fear among the engineers as well.

Overall, working at Shutterstock is a frustrating, unfulfilling experience, and there is almost certainly a better company in NYC that would make better use of your skills, and respect you more as a person. Avoid!"

Chichikov

« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2017, 09:23 »
0
Does what the Shutterstock CEO says have some weight in the decisions taken in Shutterstock today?

Shareholders rule!

« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2017, 09:40 »
0
I suppose in theory if they are changing their algorithms and how they manage their massive catalog, it could make things better again. Like others though, every time one of these companies gets excited about "improvements" it seems like we lose.

« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2017, 21:11 »
0
Most tech companies has tech debt and tackling it is not an easy task. Erasing tech debt isn't about changing algorithms or anything like that. It's more about modernizing code to use better technology and make it easier to maintain. It will also improve loading speed and make deployment faster.

Containerization makes code easier to manage and easier to move around different web services platforms now that all the main players support it. For a webapp the size of Shutterstock, flexibility is a must. One of the most popular open source container software is Docker, which was open-sourced recently to promote standardization.
 
The company I work also has a lot of tech debt, but I'm not sure it's nowhere near Shutterstock's tech debt. We're also thinking about using ReactJS, but we would have to rewrite everything and that could take our team months to a year. ReactJS is great for creating multi-view web applications, while at the same time greatly improve loading speed. If you use a website, you click on a link, it loads another page. With ReactJS, it loads the view without switch pages, making it ideal for complicated web applications.

I'm personally looking forward to the new changes. I doubt it'll affect the algorithm. It will however improve the user experience for buyers and it could improve engagement.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2017, 21:14 by Minsc »

« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2017, 21:37 »
+1
My broker's analysis of SSTK:

Financial strength Analysis: SSTK has little or no debt and, thus, little financial risk.

Effectiveness Analysis: SSTK is consistently one of the most efficient companies in the Internet Software & Services industry. With a Return on Assets, Revenues Per Employee, and Return on Equity of 6.93%, $591,945, and 11.97% respectively, they are among the most effective companies in the industry.

Profitability Analysis: SSTK is one of the more profitable companies in the Internet Software & Services industry with a net margin of 6.52%. Its net margin and operating margin are both among the strongest of any peer, while its gross margin is inline with the industry median.

Valuation Analysis: Because SSTK is in the Internet Software & Services industry and has positive earnings, the PEG and PE ratios are the most appropriate valuation measures. The Price to Book ratio is excluded since it likely underestimates the company's book value by overlooking hidden assets such as intellectual property. The Price to Sales ratio is not as meaningful as the PE or PEG ratio, due to the company's positive earnings. Therefore SSTK seems expensive with a PEG value of 3.44x, above the Internet Software & Services industry median PEG of 2.26x, which is supported by a PE of 51.55x that is also above the industry median of 35.95x.

(Disclaimer: I have no shares of SSTK and have no plans to acquire any in the near future  :) )

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Exciting News For You
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2017, 22:36 »
0
Has SS changed much over the past 15 years? I wonder how much of the current system is band-aid'd 15 year old technology.

Look at part of a glassdoor review (from April 2017)
<snip>
Very interesting review and not really surprised. What I am surprised by is the site seems reasonably stable for having such a disfunctional tech team so kudos to them. I would expect to hear this more from ex employees of other sites that are known for releasing updates that are bug-ridden.

Chichikov

« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2017, 01:16 »
+1
Has SS changed much over the past 15 years? I wonder how much of the current system is band-aid'd 15 year old technology.

Look at part of a glassdoor review (from April 2017) of a departed software engineer

[]

Interesting, but I am not sure that this "departed software engineer" (for what real reason?) is completely objective and in good faith.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2017, 01:18 by Chichikov »


Chichikov

« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2017, 01:17 »
0
Double

dpimborough

« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2017, 01:40 »
+3
Has SS changed much over the past 15 years? I wonder how much of the current system is band-aid'd 15 year old technology.

Look at part of a glassdoor review (from April 2017) of a departed software engineer

[]

Interesting, but I am not sure that this "departed software engineer" (for what real reason?) is completely objective and in good faith.

The Cassandra complex in it's simplist form.

There are plenty more very negative reviews of SS here https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Shutterstock-Reviews-E270840.htm?sort.sortType=OR&sort.ascending=true&filter.employmentStatus=REGULAR&filter.employmentStatus=PART_TIME&filter.employmentStatus=UNKNOWN
« Last Edit: June 03, 2017, 02:49 by Sammy the Cat »

dpimborough

« Reply #19 on: June 03, 2017, 03:06 »
+3
Does what the Shutterstock CEO says have some weight in the decisions taken in Shutterstock today?

Shareholders rule!

No they don't it's the CEO and management who control day to day operations.

This simplistic "it's the shareholders" calling the shots is plain wrong.  Corporate culture is determined within the company.


Chichikov

« Reply #20 on: June 03, 2017, 05:12 »
0
Does what the Shutterstock CEO says have some weight in the decisions taken in Shutterstock today?

Shareholders rule!

No they don't it's the CEO and management who control day to day operations.

This simplistic "it's the shareholders" calling the shots is plain wrong.  Corporate culture is determined within the company.

Did not you see how much Shutterstock has changed (in bad) after it became public?
The real decisions are always taken by who has the money. It is true in business as in politics in a capitalist society.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2017, 05:19 by Chichikov »

« Reply #21 on: June 03, 2017, 05:28 »
+1
Does what the Shutterstock CEO says have some weight in the decisions taken in Shutterstock today?

Shareholders rule!

No they don't it's the CEO and management who control day to day operations.

This simplistic "it's the shareholders" calling the shots is plain wrong.  Corporate culture is determined within the company.

Did not you see how much Shutterstock has changed (in bad) after it became public?
The real decisions are always taken by who has the money. It is true in business as in politics in a capitalist society.
Yep and Oringer has 46% of the shares...

Chichikov

« Reply #22 on: June 03, 2017, 06:53 »
0
Does what the Shutterstock CEO says have some weight in the decisions taken in Shutterstock today?

Shareholders rule!

No they don't it's the CEO and management who control day to day operations.

This simplistic "it's the shareholders" calling the shots is plain wrong.  Corporate culture is determined within the company.

Did not you see how much Shutterstock has changed (in bad) after it became public?
The real decisions are always taken by who has the money. It is true in business as in politics in a capitalist society.
Yep and Oringer has 46% of the shares...

I did not know he has so much.
So he has no more than 46% of the power, not the majority, when before he had all the decisional power.
This does not make any appreciable difference for you?
« Last Edit: June 03, 2017, 06:59 by Chichikov »

« Reply #23 on: June 03, 2017, 07:37 »
+1
Does what the Shutterstock CEO says have some weight in the decisions taken in Shutterstock today?

Shareholders rule!

No they don't it's the CEO and management who control day to day operations.

This simplistic "it's the shareholders" calling the shots is plain wrong.  Corporate culture is determined within the company.

Did not you see how much Shutterstock has changed (in bad) after it became public?
The real decisions are always taken by who has the money. It is true in business as in politics in a capitalist society.
Yep and Oringer has 46% of the shares...

I did not know he has so much.
So he has no more than 46% of the power, not the majority, when before he had all the decisional power.
This does not make any appreciable difference for you?
Not really in practical terms it would be almost impossible for the other shareholders to gang up against him.

OM

« Reply #24 on: June 03, 2017, 07:41 »
+1
Noticed quite a lot of negatives about the CEO on 'glassdoor'.


 

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