Cake
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    • It's funny, I didn't have anything to do with the Flickr acquisition and found out about it from a friend who pointed me to the USA Today article. It was all Don. But it sprinkled fairy dust on me here at Tribeca as people said admiringly, "congratulations!" One exec from Google said she tried to buy Flickr on 3 separate occasions.

      I don't know if this is a coincidence, but Caterina Fake, the cofounder of Flickr and somone I have long admired, did a great interview with Reid Hoffman just before the announcement where she said:

      These products have come to be called ‘social media,’ but that’s not what Flickr was. Flickr was an online community. The reason they started calling it social media is because you can sell media. You can sell column inches, you can sell broadcast hours, you can advertise against it. But Flickr was not social media. Flickr was an online community. The people there were not marketing; they were having conversations. They were known to each other, and they were being part of the community. And so, that is the spirit under which Flickr had been conceived.

      I don't know any details about purchase price, how Flickr is doing, tech, team, etc., but I did watch Reddit rise from the dead when the founders returned a couple years ago. I saw that Caterina tweeted to Don offering help with Flickr, so who knows? It's crazy but after that interview and before I heard about the Flickr acquisition, I thought about reaching out to Caterina to help with Cake.

    • "open eyes and ears". This.

      Based on the stories I've heard from Chris, SmugMug understands, and loves community. The heart of Flickr is the community. The strategy can be sorted out later. How often can a service with 75MM users be acquired? This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

      130MM visitors per month according to Similarweb.com. That's insane. This is an amazing opportunity for SmugMug. Very excited for SM.

      For a family owned company to pull this off is incredible. It's so the opposite of the Silicon Valley, private equity stories we hear about endlessly. I love it.

    • I'm data-free so I'm guessing here, but I suspect this chart is one factor in Verizon's decision to part with it. If SmugMug is able to send the trend the other way, think of the upside tho.

    • Keeping the free option is going to be telling of the direction. Many may fall over to the pay subscription once they see the value. The value is the next step, what does this mean for current smuggy users, what do they see or benefit from? Can be a big culture shift taking on this many users.

    • Heh appreciate the time you took to make the analogy to my career! An interesting through experiment.

      To answer your question though, when I buy a plane ticket I usually have a fairly clear idea of what I want to achieve, just not how I want to achieve it - which as you clearly pointed out is no different than this situation.

      The part I'm seeking clarity on is the business model - so, in my case, the business model has always been: Make something crazy that goes viral no mater what... so that the companies that want to hire me can find me. That's how I make a living. When the day comes where I am unable to create projects that bring in my next projects - that's when my career dies.

      It's actually the crossroads I find myself at right this moment as the constant algorithmic changes to social have greatly impacted my ability to create visible content - and actually one of the reasons I'm starting to shift out of social.

      So I guess I totally understand the mission and the community and all that... the part that worries me is the business opportunity side of thing. The 1x return. 5x, 10x

      Maybe I've just been in the valley for too long

    • "It's actually the crossroads I find myself at right this moment as the constant algorithmic changes to social have greatly impacted my ability to create visible content - and actually one of the reasons I'm starting to shift out of social."

      Interesting point. I think content creators including digital publishers are at the same crossroads. I've seen reports of some sites just shutting down. One had 2 million followers or something like that. Everything had to be at scale to be impressive. Maybe we're moving past vanity metrics and into an age of true engagement.

      I suppose it ties back into community and real connections and engagement. 50,000 loyal and loving fans is probably worth more then 2MM followers on social. Is Flickr the kind of place someone like yourself can develop a loyal following?

      Will something going viral actually be more valuable then ever in the age of it being more difficult to achieve?

    • I don’t have a good sense of what to do. That isn’t an opinion that it can’t be turned around, because Don or the Flickr team may know exactly what to do.

      I think if it were me, I’d take the approach Steve took at Apple: concentrate first on the finances and once they’re in good shape figure out growth. My biggest blind spot is I don’t know how much ad revenue they have and how to sell those ads.

    • It is interesting to read what long-time Flickr customers are saying like Tom Coates and Jef Poskanzer.

      From Jef:

      Flickr's group discussions use a classic three-level structure, group / topic / reply. This structure goes back literally decades, to Picospan in 1983 and even Plato Notesfiles in 1973. It facilitates conversation without overwhelming people. It's a keeper. However, Flickr's current UI for the discussions is, well, meh. This is too bad. For many people, group discussions are the heart of Flickr. For them it's not so much a photo sharing site as a social network where most of the users happen to be photographers. They deserve a discussion system that is excellent, not meh.

      From Tom:

    • The follow up question is what's the upside on the flickr acquisition.

      Will flickr now (a) try and convert users to smugmug and what % can they hope for over time or (b) introduce a whole new set of subscriptions on flickr directly?

      As a non-user of both what would be the advantage of migrating from flickr to sm?

    • As a user of both Flickr and SmugMug (and, full disclosure, a former SmugMug employee), I think the two sites have different but complementary strengths. I don't think the goal should be (or is) to migrate Flickr users to SmugMug. I think these are two services that can coexist and work well together.

      Flickr is more of a casual social place to share your photos and see photos by other people. It's the closest thing we had to Instagram before there was an Instragram, and I think casual social photosharing is still what Flickr is best at.

      Except for the photos themselves, everyone's Flickr photostreams, albums, etc. look the same. They all share a consistent sitewide design that looks good and works well, but that you can't customize. This is where SmugMug comes in.

      SmugMug is completely customizable. You have full control over what pages are on your SmugMug site, what functionality those pages have, and how they look. You can use pre-built templates to get functionality similar to Flickr, but you can also fully customize SmugMug to be the homepage for your photography business, complete with a portfolio, a shopping cart where people can buy prints and digital downloads, password-protected pages for your clients to review photo shoots, etc.

      In other words, Flickr is a great place for casual social photosharing, and SmugMug is a great place for photographers to really showcase their best work, or even to run their photography business. Two great tastes that taste great together. 🙂

    • I hope that they don't change the free 1TB of photos or monetize Flickr more haha I like free and open source things :) That's my only concern, but Smugmug is a great company, that I feel might be more human than others so hopefully not.

    • I don't know anything about the path forward for them except they're very excited. However, if I were them (and I haven't had any discussions with them about this), I would wonder about that free terrabyte. Dropbox gives you two GB, Google Drive gives you 15 GB. Google photos is interesting, giving you unlimited if you let them resize them.

      I dunno, but a terrabyte for free is pretty amazing.

    • Exactly! This is my favorite thing about Flickr. It is very generous and inviting and I will stay there and be a faithful user of their site because of it (and a few other things) :). They are also the only service that allows you to link your photo to other places by using a special code, without a large fee of course. This aspect alone is very much "for the people" and not for the profits or revenues of the corporation, which I appreciate greatly. Right now, its a community platform that really seems to care about the community and I hope that doesn't change.

    • Don is doing a great job, imo, of a Reddit AMA.

      Flickr is all about a long-lasting, deep, abiding photographer community. It's not about showing a photo to quickly gather some likes & comments today, only to never have that photo be seen again. It's about engaging in visual storytelling that lasts forever.

      It's also not about keeping your photos in a walled garden like Instagram. Flickr photos and links permeate the entire Internet. Photographers should be empowered to reach their audience, whoever that may be, wherever they want to consume them.

    • Yeah, that was a really fantastic AMA. He answered virtually every question, and he answered them honestly and directly, even the tough ones. Of course, I'd expect nothing less from Don. 🙂

    • Yes, great response. It was scary in the beginning because we grew slowly and Flickr took off like a rocket. Well, in terms of users, that is. I’m pretty sure we outgrew them in terms of revenue but I haven’t seen their financials so I can’t be sure.