Flickr turns 8
I’ll never forget the day. In February 2004, my friend Morland told me about this photo sharing site called flickr. I signed up and uploaded a block of photos on February 10th. That was 8 years ago. For some reason I deleted those images and reuploaded them the next day (maybe because of resolution?). Read more about flickr’s birthday on their blog.
Anyhow, my earliest recorded image is #2375. To put that into perspective, there are currently 6.8 billion photos on flickr. The flickr of old is vastly different than what it currently is. When it was smaller, there was a sense of community that emerged.
They had an innovative flash-based chat and photo sharing area called FlickrLive that allowed you to connect with other users (based off a game they were trying to develop called Game NeverEnding – GNE). I have to say that I still have some really good friends out of those early days of flickr. I also learned a ton about how to successfully launch a product from watching how the flickr team operated.
The instant I logged into FlickrLive I was greeted by a team of Ludicorp employees, including the CEO, Stewart Butterfield. He reached out to me directly and told me he was a big fan of Medeski Martin & Wood too (which meant he had read my profile before chatting me up). George Oates also was available to chat almost all the time, and we could discuss new feature requests, awesome photos, or even barbecuing. In fact, George & I even started a flickr group together called Bar-B-Q. We made aliases, I built a profile that was Abe Froman: The Sausage King of Chicago and she was The George Foreman Grill.
I learned from these early experiences how to develop a sense of community, which is the unifying force behind all social startups these days. They were lessons that I think about all the time even today. And now that flickr is sadly just a repository of photos that I can share online, I’ll never forget the profound impact it had on me and my career. I’ll post an interview I conducted with George Oates a few years ago next week about how they started building community.