January 22, 2017

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Sometimes, one thing leading to another, can be very profitable

Coming up, a funny thing happened on the way to making a computer game.

In 2002, two 30-something web designers got married. That’s when Caterina Fake and Steward Butterfield decided to become entrepreneurs. Their plan? Launch an interactive computer game called Game Neverending.

Which they did.

And although the game attracted thousands of users – there were bugs to work out. And that cost money.

Money they didn’t have.

Call it a fever dream – but during a case of the flu – Caterina had an epiphany. She realized one aspect of the game was really popular — the ability of users to share photos. Ironically, that was a feature Steward added on a whim.

As Caterina explained to Fast Company:

A big part of the game was instant messaging, so we could take the instant messaging part of it and develop a client that we could drop photographs into …like adding photos to a conversation.

In 2004, they scrapped the game surrounding that feature. And Flickr was born.

Not much happened at first, then the couple added “tagging” to the site. And the website’s ability to share photos made Flickr explode in popularity. The timing was perfect. Digital cameras were becoming ubiquitous. And here comes the part we all dream about…

Just one year later, Yahoo came calling and bought Flickr…for $30 to $40 million.

Caterina Fake and Steward Butterfield exemplify one of the axioms featured on our website:

Go with the flow. When things aren’t going your way, listen to your customers. They may be taking you to a better place.

Flickr – helping people share photos with friends around the world.

Now Why Didn’t I Think of That?

There’s more to this story! For an in-depth look at Flickr’s origins, read The Story of Flickr on our blog!

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