Yo Stewart! Flickr Shoulda Stuck with that Neopets Things

From an interesting interview with Flickr’s Eric Costello about the evolution, history, and development strategy of Flickr:

The inspiration in large part for [Flickr’s precursor] was actually Neopets, which had tremendous success among young people as a way to interact with others around the idea of this magical world of pets that you cared for, and all sorts of things you could collect. The [Flickr precursor] was the same basic idea, but more real-time.

Yo Stewart, you shoulda stuck that Neopets-esque thing out! Sure, I would miss Flickr if it didn’t exist, but Neopets sold for $160mm, while Flickr sold to Yahoo for … considerably less than that.


  1. You can look at it that way, or you can look at it this way: we should have done Flickr and waited until after the MySpace deal happened (3x higher than Neopets).
    OTOH, who knows anything in advance? I love my life, I’m a happy guy, so: good. It worked out for the team, it worked out for the users and it worked out for Yahoo.
    I still think GNE would have been world-changing good — but it can still happen now or five years from now. As you quoted not so many posts ago, being too far ahead of your time is indistinguishable from being wrong

  2. Hey Stewart —
    It’s cheating to use my own words against me. Not fair 😉
    More seriously, I was impressed with the ideas underlying GNE back when I first looked at it, and having read Eric’s comments in the aforementioned interview, I’m even more so. While you were early, you were early in an insightful way that could segue into something more doable (i.e., Flickr).
    Put differently, GNE became a bridge rather than an archipelago, and that’s a sign you were creatively working a rich vein.