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Summary:

Updated: Yahoo layoffs have started and they seem to have hit the Flickr team. Many engineers from the service have been either laid off or are leaving on their own. Rev Dan Catt, Ashot Petrosian and Neil Kandalgaonkar were amongst those who tweeted about their exits. […]

Updated: Yahoo layoffs have started and they seem to have hit the Flickr team. Many engineers from the service have been either laid off or are leaving on their own. Rev Dan Catt, Ashot Petrosian and Neil Kandalgaonkar were amongst those who tweeted about their exits. Catt, for instance, is moving back to UK. I am told Cal Henderson, Flickr Architect – a rock star developer — has also left, though I have not been able to confirm that. His name is missing from Flickr’s About page , but I don’t want to jump to conclusions.

I dropped Henderson an email to confirm. He emailed back this morning. “I have left Flickr/Yahoo. I don’t have any plans yet, besides playing lots of video games and enjoying the san francisco summer,” he wrote back. Kara Swisher says he’s is working with Stewart Butterfield, co-founder of Flickr, on a new stealthy startup.

Meanwhile check out his presentation about scalable web architectures. Flickr was spared from cuts for a long time but in recent months has been slowly trimming its staff. Frankly, cutting the Flickr team is a bit of a head-scratcher: That group is one of the few pockets of future-thinking tinkerers at Yahoo, especially when it comes to building new media experiences around “social objects” such as photos.

Update#2: We’re hearing that further changes at Yahoo’s Flickr are going to be announced shortly, including exits of some senior/director-level people.

  1. Man, lay offs are everywhere. The internet is a constantly changing and growing society. The money is everywhere!

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    1. You said it right man, i completely agree with you!

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  2. It’s a shame our weekly Hack Lunches inside Yahoo! aren’t open to the public. If able to attend, you’d see that there are many more than “a few pockets of future-thinking tinkerers at Yahoo.” There are hundreds of young, talented, excited engineers at Yahoo working their asses of to make a difference. What you need to remember is that standing between every engineer and the products they dream of building are seven layers of management, endless rounds of product discussions, and an entrenched corporate culture of “waiting and seeing”. Will Carol Bartz’s new reign help remedy the situation? Maybe. It’s still early, but, internally, morale is rising and key people once ignored are finally being recognized.

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    1. Another Yahoo Thursday, April 30, 2009

      I’d like to second this. Even now there are lots of people in Yahoo who are very clever and understand perfectly well how the web is changing, and have great, innovative ideas. Look at YUI for an example which did break out to the rest of the web.

      But for a very long time, Yahoo’s culture was broken. Mediocrity was not only tolerated but celebrated from the CEO on down.

      Carol is the best thing to happen to Yahoo in a decade. It’s possible that nobody can turn this around at this point, but if anyone can, she can.

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      1. I completely agree with the above. There are lots of smart engineers at Y!

        It’s the management who have let them down.

        Last year, they wasted several tens of millions of dollars on useless things like
        management consultants – something that would have otherwise improved
        the EPS and then let go people to make wall street happy!

        Perpetual Re-orgs and moves is another common disease.

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  3. I was wondering if I should use Flickr to backup my iPhoto library. It seems that Smugmug can do it too ;-)

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  4. Om,

    Yahoo is being carved up, slimmed down and is now a pig being led to slaughter. The writing is on the wall, and they are the next AOL.

    Andy

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    1. At this point, calling Yahoo the next AOL is a compliment to Yahoo!

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      1. Timothy James Thursday, April 30, 2009

        AOL has not redeeming qualities, so even Yahoo is better than that. If any site personifies a “candle in the wind”, its AOL. They’d had more than enough time to develop some type of identity, but no, they’re the SYBIL of the web portal world.

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      2. at least yahoo didn’t hand out a million cd’s for free hours so not only did you hear about how it was losing money near the end you actually saw the total w-oreing of it’self before your eyes.

        j

        mastercontrolcast.wordpress.com

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  5. SunnyvaleInsider Thursday, April 30, 2009

    After many years at Yahoo! and after looking at Catt’s blog post, I can’t say that his departure is a bad thing. One sad truism of software/internet companies is that small and big are completely different. The people, the ethos, the strategy, the risk level and the operational requirements are very different between a small startup and a multi-billion dollar company that is trying to capture 100 markets worldwide.

    Yahoo! has needed to grow up for a while, and I am glad that Carol Bartz has the cojones to make that happen.

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  6. That’s such a shame.

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  7. I have to disagree Om, Filckr is one of those places in Yahoo that are not making money.

    Do you think its a technology bastion in the whole company? As I programmer, I know — heck, I’m sure that that there are other places in Yahoo where technology is applied even more than at Flickr.

    When your unit is not monetizable, something’s gonna give. This just shows that Yahoo’s new CEO is keeping resources where its needed in these challenging times. No one with a resume showing they worked at Flickr will be out of a job for long… yes, even in these challenging times.

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    1. actually ericson it’s quite the opposite – flickrs been profitable for a quite while now.

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    2. Nonsense. Flickr makes money and with just a little bit more love and resources, it could be making even more. This is why cuts at Flickr seem particularly insane.

      You’re right that Flickr doesn’t produce bleeding edge technology that would give computer scientists hard-ons. It’s not Google, there are no Ph.Ds. But there is a lot of innovation in how to use and deploy existing technologies. The rest of the company struggles with things like rapid deployment, social networking, and sometimes even internationalization (lots of baggage from a US-centric culture). Lately they are looking to Flickr for lessons on how to do it right, with a minimum of new technology.

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  8. I have to say that Flickr hasn’t collapsed for me, even on the heels of the staff exodus. I’ll be disappointed if my 5890 images vaporise.

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  9. C Thomas Edwards Thursday, April 30, 2009

    Ericson, I’d be interested to know where you’re getting your information there. I have a feeling you’re not right about the financial side there.

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  10. Flickr makes money for yahoo. It’s in the black. That yahoo would cut it, is insane…

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