Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr and current member of the Yahoo's Technology Development Group, explains the humble beginnings of one of the earliest and most successful Web 2.0 applications, Flickr. Flickr actually began as a feature in Ludicorp's Game Neverending, a massive multiplayer online roleplaying game that was focused on social interaction rather than the more typical battle-style MMORPG. Ludicorp (from the latin word for "play") was a small game development company in Vancouver started in 2002 by Fake and her partner Stewart Butterfield. Though the community that grew around the game was very dedicated, Ludicorp couldn't make it profitable.
Creation of a photosharing component was the last gasp in the game's development. Looking back, Fake now realizes that had she and her team done any research on photosharing at the time, they probably would never have moved in that direction, as back then photosharing was little more than a loss leader for photoprinting sites. But by 2003 both camera phones and blogging reached a tipping point that made the market ripe for a solid browser-based photosharing application.
Since Flickr was acquired by Yahoo in 2005, Fake is now with the Technology Development Group at Yahoo, charged with creating a culture of innovation in new product design at Yahoo. In this fascinating interview Fake fields questions including how do you most effectively incorporate user input in the development process? How do you infuse a development behemoth like Yahoo with Flickr's small startup-style innovative mojo?
Caterina Fake is co-founder of Flickr, developed by Ludicorp in Vancouver and acquired by Yahoo! in 2005. Flickr ushered in the so-called Web 2.0 integrating features such as social networking, community open APIs, tagging, and algorithms that surfaced the best, or more interesting content. Prior to founding Ludicorp she was Art Director at Salon.com and heavily involved in the development of online community, social software and personal publishing.
She has won many awards, including Business Week's Best Leaders of 2005, Forbes 2005 eGang, Fast Company's Fast 50, and Red Herring's 20 Entrepreneurs under 35. She appeared with her husband and Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield on the cover of Newsweek on March 27, 2006, and in 2006 was named to the Time 100, Time Magazine's list of the world's 100 most influential people. She sits on the board of Etsy, and advises many startups and new businesses. At Yahoo! she runs the Technology Development group, known for its Hack Yahoo! program, a stimulus to innovation and creativity, and Brickhouse, a rapid development environment for new products.
She graduated from Vassar College in 1991. She lives in San Francisco.
This free podcast is from our Adaptive Path series.