The New and Improved Flickr

Flickr Staff Pre Marissa Mayer

Flickr Staff Today

Look at the two screenshots above. I took the first one in April of 2012, a few months before Marissa Mayer became CEO of Yahoo. The second one I took earlier today.

Between pre-Mayer 2012 and today, Flickr’s staff has grown from 39 people working on Flickr to 109.

About half of the 39 working on Flickr in 2012 are no longer on the team, which means that over 80% of the new, much larger team has been built since Mayer took over at Yahoo.

After years of layoffs, CEO neglect, and lackluster product development, Flickr is back in a big way, firing on all cylinders.

Under solid new leadership by former Googler Bernardo Hernandez, Flickr is getting strong and competitive again in photo sharing.

All Flickr users have been given a terabyte of free high res photo storage.

Flickr is making new smart and interesting acquisitions around the photo sharing space.

Flickr recently relaunched a new and much better received photo page.

Flickr’s new mobile app is among the best of breed with a 4.5 star rating in Apple’s app store.

Flickr more recently has been ramping up photowalks and community again and recently hinted at future plans to help photographers monetize their photo collections.

Marissa Mayer is the first Yahoo CEO to publicly have a Flickr photo page herself.

I’ve had a few different opportunities to interact with staffers at the new and improved Flickr over the past few months and have come away each time super impressed at the new life that seems to flow through the team.

Unlike the old Flickr, where staffers were demoralized over layoffs and hostile with users, the new Flickr feels incredibly positive and optimistic about Flickr’s future. A bright team of really smart engineers, designers and product managers are as enthusiastic as I’ve ever seen. The energy and morale at Flickr feels very high right now.

I think the future really looks bright for Flickr and am happy to see the sort of rebirth and revitalization that is taking place there. While there still is a ton of work that can be done to make Flickr even better, I’m more confident than ever that Yahoo is going about it the right way and that Flickr, for the first time since being acquired by Yahoo, is in capable hands.

Former Yahoo Jeff Minich recently wrote a post defending many of the ways that Mayer has improved Yahoo since taking over there as CEO. In it, he makes an important point that in order to really improve a tech company, you need to grow it. You can’t just lay people off to save money.

Minich makes the point also that even as Yahoo has hired/acquired many new talented engineers, they’ve also managed the slackers out. I think the growth and change in employee composition at Flickr is a visible example of this — and I think the improvement in the product (especially in mobile) shows for it.

If you are a photographer and have been neglecting your Flickr account, I’d encourage you to check back in and see where things are headed going forward.

You can find me on Flickr here.

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  1. I think I was one of the first users on flickr. However, with more ‘nonsense’ photographs appearing on it after Yahoo Photos was merged with flickr, I lost interest in sharing images, or even being part of the communities that thrived there. Looks like all that may come back if Flickr is indeed getting a new lease of life. I surely would like to see that happen.

  2. Daniel says:

    Well, the beauty of the world is it’s heterogeny, we all know that, and with that in mind I have to disagree with you.
    Since flickr’s big change everything has gone from bad to worst. Yeah, the new photo page is an improvement, but only if you consider the last version of it. The first version was totally fine, useful and with lots of info in the right places.
    The biggest issue for me is that flickr, that once was ahead of everyone, is just a few laps behind. A lot of people prefer to use their tablets to surf the web, yet flickr does not have a native iPad app. I’ve been asking them for almost a year and they always answer “in a little while we will release it” and, guess what, I’ve been waiting for more than 6 months.
    They have a feedback page, but they hardly address any of the concerns that are written there. Some of them are only answered when they release a new version of something, and the answer is all the same: “we addressed your issue in the new version of what you’re complaining about” and guess what, you get there and nothing’s fixed.
    I’m still a “flickr pro” (i pay US$25 yearly to keep my unlimited storage), even though flickr brags about their 1Tb os storage there’s no native way of downloading all your photos and no raw support.

    Unfortunately flickr’s trying to become the new instagram and that’s exactly what flickr never have been. Flickr rised in a time that “photologs” and photoblogs where in the heat. Flickr was a place for photographers to unite and discuss other than to take selfies, but it is slowly becoming a bad version of facebook.

    PS: I couldn’t comment on your G+ system. Who uses G+ anyway?

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