Flickr, And The Wrath of the Old Skool
February 2, 2007
Caterina still sends Jennifer Love Hewitt an email every so often. She doesn’t watch a lot of TV (doesn’t even own one, in fact), but occasionally she’ll catch an episode of Ghost Whisperer at a hotel or whatever and send off a quick note to Jen. Hey, saw the episode where you have to talk to the guy in the coma, really great stuff! What else are you up to these days? Stewart and I are going to be in Santa Monica next month for DigiWeb07 if you want to hang out. She knows that Jen won’t respond–it’s been almost 3 years since they last spoke–but still, and to her credit, Caterina keeps trying.
Even today it stings, the friendship that was lost. Especially during weeks like this, when it seems like nothing is going right. Jen would see how stressed and sad Caterina is about everything, and try to cheer her up with that terrible Michel Houellebecq impression. But that’s all gone now. How many friendships were altered or irrevocably shattered when Ludicorp decided to suspend development of Game Neverending? How many more will be broken when Flickr forces its Old Skool users to switch over to their Yahoo IDs? Will it ever not hurt? Do you ever stop paying for the decisions you make?
Things used to be so much simpler, before Yahoo, before Flickr. She and Jen were inseparable; two girls in love with literature, design, and the promise of the web. They had an idea for a new kind of online community, disguised as an online game.
They were going to change the world together.
Caterina will never forget the look of betrayal on Jen’s face, the day Ludicorp decided to pull the plug on GNE and focus on Flickr. She thinks about that moment every time she logs into her bank account and sees that Yahoo has deposited her biweekly installment of Flickr blood money. At what cost, success? Someone famous must have said a good quote about it at some point. Jennifer Love Hewitt would know.