Startups, Flickr, and the Vomit Factor

Funny piece in the current Inc outlining some of the trials and tribulations that my friends Stewart and Caterina of Flickr fame experienced in launching that now Yahoo-owned photo-sharing site. Read the whole thing, but highlights are the multiple near-death company experiences — including once on finances, another time on a vote that would have kept the company out of photo-sharing altogether — plus Fake talking about how hard they worked to turn users into evangelists.

My favorite anecdote, however, is this one about the cleansing process (ahem) via which Stewart came up with the idea of Flickr:

Fake: In November 2003, Stewart and I went to the State of Play conference, which was in New York. And Stewart got sick on the plane. I knew he was really sick because the movie was Freaky Friday, and I look over at one point, and Stewart’s got tears streaming down his face. And I’m like, what the…

Butterfield: It was touching! [Laughter]

Fake: And then he got up and went to the bathroom and got sick. And we arrived, and we’re racing down the Van Wyck Expressway in bumper-to-bumper traffic, and he made the cabby pull over and just rolled down his window and threw up. And then we arrived at the hotel, and the doorman at the hotel opens up the door to the car, and he throws up again, right on the carpet. It was terrible. And then he stays up all night. I fall asleep. I wake up and he’s like, “I’ve got a great idea. Let’s make a photo-sharing site.” And that was the impetus.