Photo: Daniel Goodman / Business Insider
The $3.3 billion acquisition of Getty Images by private equity firm The Carlyle Group was big news, especially for people in digital media.It’s the largest photo agency in the world, and essential to the increasingly image-oriented digital world.
Bloomberg Businessweek is out with a great profile of the company and its creation by Mark Getty and Jonathan Klein. One passage was particularly eye catching:
Tired of crafting deals for others, the pair came up with strict criteria for their own dream business. It had to be global, operating in a fragmented industry ready for consolidation, and on the cusp of change. And the less risk the better.
The two weren’t necessarily out to start a stock photo business. But they saw that it had the above characteristics, and followed one simple, consistent strategy as they grew the business.
They bought more than 100 photo companies over the years, consolidating and bringing discipline to what had been a scattered and messy industry, just as the internet was becoming a significant media platform.
They were also extremely adaptive. Instead of remaining purveyors of exclusive and expensive images, Getty sells a huge variety of images to a worldwide customer base. A range of pricing and subscription options makes their incredible library available to small blogs as well as large media organisations.
It all goes to show that not all disruptive companies arise out of a flash of insight or technical wizardry. Clear vision, discipline, and getting ahead of the curve can work just as well.
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