Yahoo Lays Off Three Flickr Staff Members Including Designer George Oates

Flickr Kittens, George Oates and Heather Champ
Flickr Designer George Oates (left) with Community Manager Heather Champ (right).

Several news outlets/bloggers are reporting that Yahoo has laid off Flickr Designer George Oates in their recent bout of layoffs. George was an early member of the Flickr team and was the company’s first designer signing on with Flickr back before the Yahoo acquisition. She was oft credited with much of the simple and clean feel and look that went into the site’s overall design. According to the Guardian, two other Flickr team members were let go as well. I have not seen/heard who these other two individuals are yet. The entire list of Flickr staff at Yahoo is listed here. (George is still listed on this staff page at present, but I imagine that this is just an oversight and that Flickr hasn’t had a chance to remove her from this page yet).

More than just another Flickr employee, as one of the most early team members, George was part of what embodied a certain ethos on the site. Flickr’s employees have always played active roles in the community and especially the community discussions and George was very well liked by the community that makes up Flickr. There are a few threads in the Flickr Groups discussing Oates’ layoff. You can read more from the community on the issue here and here (note, on the second link you will need to be logged into Flickr and make sure that you have your Flickr settings marked to adult if you want to read it). Yahoo/Flickr has not commented as of yet on these layoffs, however, George’s personal profile page on Flickr now reads that she “used” to work at Flickr. Most recently George had been working on “The Commons” project at Flickr, actually one of the more important things that Flickr has been working on recently in my opinion.

I don’t really know George and have no idea how she feels about Microsoft, but it would be a huge coup for them to hire her. Not only is she a very talented and highly regarded designer, but assuming that Microsoft ends up with Flickr in the end (very likely) she would be a strong person to work on integrating the service into Microsoft’s other properties. She would also be another highly visible talent hire from Yahoo. Most significantly though, Microsoft has recently re-launched a photo service inside of their new social network Windows Live that desperately needs quite a bit of work.

George’s personal website is here.

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