Protecting Precious Memories Key for Shutterfly from their Beginnings

Photobooks, cards, stationary, birth announcements and wedding invitations via the Internet are fairly modern things, but Shutterfly’s CEO Jeff Housenbold traces the beginnings of what his company does back much further.

“The essence of what we do has been intrinsic to human kind since the beginning, when cave men were sketching on cave walls,” he said during a panel at SXSW earlier this year. “The technology has changed, but we’re just helping people tell their story and share life’s joy,” – at internet scale, the panel moderator Michael Dell interjected.

In 1999 when Shutterfly pioneered online photo sharing, Housenbold says it was hard to convince people to take their pictures and put them on to their server. Users worried about sending their personal keepsakes into the cloud, but the desire to share easily with family and friends created an inflection point.

“Since then we’ve been scaling and are now approaching 100 petabytes of data and 22 billion of our customers precious memories safe in the cloud in three different locations,” said Housenbold. Shutterfly has been through generations of technological advances to do that and “Dell’s been a great partner as we’ve come from a little company with a couple thousand customers to 65-70M users last year.”

Shutterfly’s CIO Geoffrey Weber says that technology is really everything to their business.

“Shutterfly is 100 percent online and 100 percent dependent on technology that’s high-performing, functional and cost-effective,” Weber noted. “If our customers come to the site and it’s slow, they will go to a competitor. They only have a finite amount of time to get a holiday card finished, and if they’re not having a great experience, they’re not coming back.”

Dell PowerEdge servers and the Dell KACE systems management solution ensure reliability for them and automate software deployment and patching. With Dell technology solutions, Shutterfly can easily provision its website during peak times; and the company can ensure high availability and a better customer experience.

That customer experience is vital to their seven premium lifestyle brands as Housenbold notes they are really in the business of “helping people connect and deepen their relationships with the people who matter most in their life and helping make the world a better place by telling your story and sharing life’s joy.”

The technology is at its best when those customers never have to think about it.

Screenshot of the home page of Shutterfly's web site

Laura Pevehouse

About the Author: Laura Pevehouse

Laura Pevehouse was profiled as one of five “social media mavens” in the March 2009 issue of Austin Woman Magazine and named an AdWeek’s TweetFreak Five to Follow. She has been part of the Dell organization for more than 15 years in various corporate communications, employee communications, public relations, community affairs, marketing, branding, social media and online communication roles. From 2014-2018, Laura was Chief Blogger/Editor-in-Chief for Direct2DellEMC and Direct2Dell, Dell’s official corporate blog that she help launch in 2007. She is now a member of the Dell Technologies Chairman Communications team. Earlier in her Dell career she focused on Global Commercial Channels and US Small and Medium Business public relations as part of the Global Communications team. Prior to that, she was responsible for global strategy in social media and community management, as well as marcom landing pages, as a member of Dell’s Global SMB Marketing, Brand and Creative team. When she was part of Dell’s Global Online group, Laura provided internal consulting that integrated online and social media opportunities with a focus on Corporate Communications and Investor Relations. She managed the home page of Dell.com, one of the top 500 global web sites in Alexa traffic rank, and first brought web feeds and podcasts to the ecommerce site. In her spare time she led Dell into the metaverse with the creation of Dell Island in the virtual world Second Life. Laura has earned the designation of Accredited Business Communicator from the International Association of Business Communicators, and received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Louisiana State University. Before joining Dell Financial Services in 2000, she worked at the Texas Workforce Commission and PepsiCo Food Systems Worldwide.