I read today’s Gizmodo article How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Internet and couldn’t help but think about how easily this happens. Giant company A buys hipster innovative burgeoning company B and then sucks all the life out of it only to see it be squelched by up-and-comer company C that gets sold to Facebook for billions of dollars. Ah, capitalism at its best. What killed me (excuse the pun) the most about the quiet death of Flickr, is how badly Yahoo misjudged the ‘real’ value of the Flickr business thus missing the vision completely. They focused on the database of stuff instead of the people who posted the stuff. Seems so 101 but alas, their business is dead and the photo-sharing business that focused on the people behind the stuff is now rolling in the dough. Gizmodo says:

“It was a stunning failure in vision, and more or less the same thing happened at Flickr. All Yahoo cared about was the database its users had built and tagged. It didn’t care about the community that had created it or (more importantly) continuing to grow that community by introducing new features.”

The article goes on to site a laundry list of Harvard Business Case reasons Yahoo killed Flickr but, at the end of the day, they missed the point. They missed the vision that the people who post pictures are a community, an active network, and need to and want to be engaged – with each other and with the cool app or site they use. They totally focused on the perceived value of the data, when without the social network, there is not data to value. Made me think about the prize and whether my eye is on it as I walk through the doors of my office each day. More importantly, do you know what the prize is? If you pause for a second as to what the value is that your company provides, let’s have lunch. Or else be eaten as the entree.

<RIP Flickr>

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