After Yahoo bought Flickr from the wife-and-husband team of Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield in 2005, then-executive Jeff Weiner charged Fake with "building the next Flickr at Yahoo." It never happened — though one result of those instructions, the ill-managed Brickhouse incubator, did provide some entertainment along the way. Fake is now joining a New York-based startup called Hunch. "It is a consumer Internet application, it will have a lot of user participation, and it is more than a little fun," she writes. It is the next Flickr, in other words, or so she hopes. But not at Yahoo. Jeff, shouldn't you be asking for half of Yahoo's money back?
Yahoo's photo-sharing subsidiary, Flickr, announced it has partnered with Getty Images to streamline the process for Getty's photo editors who want to buy images from Flickr users. For the privilege, Getty will pay Flickr a fee. It's a good idea, but one that took to long to come to fruition. Two years ago at a party in New York, Flickr cofounder Stewart Buttefield told me one way the photo-sharing site could finally make money for Yahoo:
Now that Caterina Fake has left Yahoo and Stewart Butterfield has tendered his abstract resignation letter, what will the widely beloved Flickr cofounders do? And where will they go? Brendon Wilson, who worked in the Valley himself before returning to his native Canada, pointed us to an effort by a group of geeks to convince Fake and Butterfield to come back to Vancouver, British Columbia, where Flickr was launched. The welcome wagon even turned out a video slideshow of Flickr photos to remind the couple just how beautiful the city can be. Look, a rainbow! And it may just be working — last night, Butterfield added himself to the Bring Stewart and Caterina Home! group on Facebook. Fake may have other plans, though.
Stewart Butterfield, the cantankerous cofounder of Flickr, has, as we've noted, tendered his resignation to Yahoo, as has wife and cofounder Caterina Fake. The two recently celebrated, along with Flickr's other original employees, a "Vestfest" for their take from the $35 million sale of Flickr to Yahoo three years ago; we'd heard as long ago as October that Butterfield was ready to leave. But we couldn't have anticipated the manner of Butterfield's exit. In a long, rambling email to Yahoo executive Brad Garlinghouse, under whose aegis Flickr fell, Butterfield described the company as a tin-smithing concern, but found that there was no place for him as the company left its metallurgical roots. Better this entertaining nonsense than some tired cliche of "bleeding purple," I suppose. I'm also told that this email is classic Butterfield, and that his employees at Flickr would stage dramatic readings of some of his better missives at Flickr's San Francisco headquarters, which will now be run officially by Kakul Srivastava, Flickr's longtime de facto chief. Butterfield's full resignation letter:
When Ludicorp co-founders Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake sold Flickr to Yahoo, they also moved from their Vancouver headquarters to the Bay Area to take up jobs at the Sunnyvale campus of the new parent company. Their biggest innovation since was the birth of their daughter, Sonnet — which took considerably less time than adding video to the photo sharing site. Now Fake and Butterfield have joined the stampede, with Fake having left Yahoo on Friday and Butterfield due to stick around until July 12, reports TechCrunch — confirming rumors we'd heard regarding Butterfield's plans to move on. (Photo by Caterina Fake)
Women do rule the web, Flickr cofounder Caterina Fake told the New York Times, but with a "crushing sameness." Loads of blogs aimed at the moneyed portion of the lady demographic are launching, including Jezebel (published, like Valleywag, by Gawker Media) — ostensibly part of the "sameness" Fake alludes to. A BlogHer study even deems blogging now mainstream among women. Fake is not swayed:
Long before he and Flickr cofounder Caterina Fake spawned daughter Sonnet, Stewart Butterfield had a manly thatch of russet facial hair that screamed "Daddy." He's thus the natural winner of Fortune's first beard-off; other contenders like Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, and Yelp's Russel Simmons might as well not have bothered. There's one curiosity about his win, though: Why would a judge praise Butterfield's beard for being "trimmed nicely, edgy, yet mature, so he doesn't look 18 sitting in front of investors"? We don't think judge John Allan, the owner of a chain of grooming clubs, has any special insight into Butterfield's career plans. But he's nonetheless on target: We've heard Butterfield, who sold Flickr to Yahoo more than three years ago, has left Flickr general manager Kakul Srivastava — his "hero" — in charge of his startup baby, so he can tend to his real one, and is ready to bolt from Yahoo.
Almost every digital camera captures both pictures and movies. This reality has seemed lost on Flickr for four years. Cofounder Stewart Butterfield reportedly told attendees at a fourth-birthday party last night that Flickr, now owned by Yahoo, will introduce video uploads next month. At this point, Yahoo might as well launch the service on April 1 — the delay has become that much of a joke. Yahoo Video has already relaunched, with its own movie-upload features. So why bother?
At least one key Yahoo executive was unswayed by Friday's revival meeting featuring Steve Jobs: Stewart Butterfield, the founder and general manager of the Yahoo-acquired Flickr photo site. Butterfield, Valleywag has learned, plans to leave to, well, spend more time with his family. It's a pat phrase that always sounds risible, but in Butterfield's case, we'll make an exception: Anyone who has seen photos of Butterfield and his infant daughter Sonnet — on Flickr, naturally — can see his complete and utterly genuine devotion. Yahoo, too, might have a claim on Butterfield's devotion, in the midst of a precarious revamp. But Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang, while a big supporter of Flickr himself, is not nearly as cute. No word on whether Butterfield's wife, Caterina Fake, now a high-ranking Yahoo executive, plans any move, or who will replace Butterfield at Flickr. Update: In the comments, Butterfield says that after taking some time off in July, he's decided to take a longer paternity leave, but still plans to return to Yahoo. (Photo by mylesdgrant)
Promises, promises. Flickr cofounders Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield, we hear, are finally introducing video to the photo-sharing site they sold to Yahoo in 2005. But they've taken their sweet time. First Fake told Engadget back in 2004 that she wanted the site to introduce "short-form video." Then she told ZDNet's Dan Farber in December 2005 that it was being "hotly debated and discussed on the team." And Butterfield hinted last May that his photo sharing site would host moving pictures "soon." For some value of "soon." Here's the reason for the latest delay.
I never intended for the blogger-baby story, which began with the birth of Ollie Kottke to A-list bloggers Jason Kottke and Meg Hourihan, to become quite such a saga, but news has a way of happening. Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield are no longer expecting a baby — they have a daughter, Sonnet Beatrice Butterfield, according to fellow Yahoo executive Bradley Horowitz. Here's the rundown on the rest of the couples mentioned in yesterday's baby poll, which — well done, readers — you guessed correctly.
Why make such a fuss over who's disclosing their pregnancies? I worked at Wired Ventures, then the publisher of Wired magazine, in 1996 and 1997, in the midst of the agony of its failed IPO attempt. One controversy at the time was the disclosure that cofounder Jane Metcalfe, the magazine's publisher, was pregnant and planned to take maternity leave shortly after the planned IPO. For the record, no one I know believes that Metcalfe's pregnancy had anything to do with Wired's troubles. But for a top executive to take a leave is always a strain on a young, growing company, and is a fact best disclosed, as Wired Ventures did. Hence my surprise that Mena Trott waited until now to talk about her news. Caterina Fake, the cofounder of Flickr and an executive at Yahoo, has, by contrast, written publicly and often about her pregnancy. More on the status of Fake's pregnancy, and the rest of the couples mentioned in our poll, shortly.
Last week, the birth of a son (and future blogger) to Jason Kottke and Meg Hourihan reminded us of another famous Web personality who
triedhad a colleague try, bizarrely, to claim that the mom-to-be's pregnancy was "off the record." (Memo to other would-be secret-keepers: "Off the record" is always a matter of mutual agreement between reporter and source, not something you can declare unilaterally.) We asked for guesses on who it was, and you had lots of good ones. Now it's time to vote, picking out the baby-hiders from among these glamorous A-list bloggers. Pictures of the people you've speculated about, and a poll, after the jump.
Time to upgrade this from rumor to unannounced fact — that's our bet, anyway. "Consolidation" was the word seized upon most in Yahoo exec Brad Garlinghouse's "Peanut Butter Manifesto." And consolidating the duplicate services provided by post-acquisition Flickr and Yahoo Photos makes sense. Flickr founder Stewart Butterfield denied there would be any merging, but that doesn't rule out "consolidation" by way of elimination. For the whys and wherefores, read on.When we predicted that competing products like Flickr and Yahoo Photos would be consolidated, Butterfield reassured nervous Flickr fans: