Stewart Butterfield of Flickr/Yahoo on Innovation

November 9, 2007 in Personalities & Profiles | Comments (0)


It’s a dream for many entrepreneurs. You launch a company that catches the attention of a major industry player, and then you get acquired. But just as the odds of your being discovered in a coffee shop in LA by a big film producer and turned into a star are pretty slim, the number of companies to experience this windfall is limited. That, however, doesn’t stop the flood of eager entrepreneurs who scramble for the attention of consumers … and Sand Hill Road.
In times like today, when you can’t swing a dead cat without thumping a start-up jockey in the head, there are hundreds or even thousands of companies trying to come to market. Few of them will survive.
Then there are those that do more than survive.
Companies like Flickr.

In the case of Flickr, the experience was pretty rapid fire. I first saw the company at PC Forum in 2003 and it was actually at that conference when they simultaneously announced that their technology would be joining the Yahoo! stable.
I remember meeting the founders, Catarina Fake and Stewart Butterfield, as we sat outside the conference session in the hot Arizona sunshine during one of the coffee breaks. They were based at the time in Vancouver, and even in those early days it was evident that they were going someplace.
Catarina’s is the name most people hear in conjunction with Flickr, and it’s not often that her co-founder Stewart Butterfield takes the spotlight. I had a chance to sit down with this unassuming fellow at the 2006 AlwaysOn Stanford Summit.
And here’s the interview.


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