Flickr on changing directions

Published August 8th, 2005 edit replace rm!

Interesting inteview at Adaptive Path with Flickr’s Eric Costello about how Flickr ended up going down the photo sharing path and away from their original idea for an online game.

The first early version was really a chat site…

It wasn’t a photo sharing site, so much as it was a place where you could go to chat and talk about photos. But none of that activity was stored in any asynchronous way – there were no Web pages that hosted the conversations people were having about photos, it was all just real-time.

Later on they started adding asynchronous featureas as he call it like web pages, comments and tagging…

As we started adding features to the site itself, like pages that hosted the photos so that people could visit them at a unique URL, we had a lot more success with that. People responded to it, and the site began to grow. So our energies tended to be dedicated toward enhancing that aspect of the site.

It’s a great lesson that sometimes it’s important to follow the users. PayPal started like this as well. The original protype as demonstrated to me on a beach in Anguilla by Max Levchin in 98 or was it 99 (can’t remember which) was a Palm application, where you could beam money to each other for say splitting a restaurant tab. Within a year they had moved to what we now know and love as PayPal.

I have done this myself on many projects. I started doing CaribWeb as a Caribbean tourist portal back in 94, however the discussion forums TravelTalk took a life of themselves and lived on for a good 5 years after I shut the rest down. Making me a fair bit in advertising revenue throughout the years.

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My name is Pelle Braendgaard. Pronounce it like Pelé the footballer (no relation). CEO of Notabene where we are building FATF Crypto Travel Rule compliance software.

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