Software Engineer Kellan Elliott-McCrea Leaving Flickr

Over at TechCrunch, MG Siegler has a post out that “Flickr Architect” Kellan Elliott-McCrea is leaving Flickr. Apparently Elliott-McCrea tweeted his news over at his Twitter account here.

Personally I’m not all that familiar with what Elliott-McCrea did at Flickr. MG writes that “from what we hear, he was ‘vital’ to the service, and was one of the last people remaning who knows how the service scales.” Perhaps so. I’d always heard Cal as being the genius credited with scaling Flickr, but perhaps Elliot-McCrea carried the torch after Cal left to go start up that new computer game business mining tin with Stewart.

Ironically, I did just try to post a comment to Elliott-McCrea’s blog about two weeks ago when he wrote a post that was gushing about how virtuous Flickr is in “doing the right thing,” for their users around the concept of data portability.

I threw up a little bit in my mouth when I read the post because functionally speaking I believe that by denying competing photo sharing sites commercial API keys, Flickr is actually doing very little for user data portability. As 99.5% of Flickr users likely have no understanding of the Flickr API to pull their data off the site and as independent third party tools are clunky solutions requiring multiple arduous steps (sometimes only on single platforms), Flickr makes it difficult enough that the vast majority of the users can never quite find their way out of the silo, let alone off the reservation entirely. Hence Flickr gets to crow about how their API allows data portability, paying lip service to the idea, while functionally never having to really deal with, you know, helping users move their data and going to other sites.

Unfortunately, Elliott-McCrea censors/moderates the comments on his blog and so my comment never quite made it on board the post.

Anyways, best of luck to Elliott-McCrea on whatever he does next. Certainly scaling Flickr can’t be easy, so I’m sure he’s got some chops.