13. Supercharging the Digital Shoebox

Online photo sharing was a bare-bones loss leader for companies interested in selling prints–until Ludicorp’s Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake stumbled onto the pent-up demand for more. The husband-and-wife duo launched a beta of their Flickr service in early 2004 and have signed up almost 200,000 users despite no marketing. “We’re capturing the conversations people are having about the photo, in the photo,” Fake says. Flickr facilitates those conversations with intelligent features; most notably, it lets both the photographer and viewers tag and comment on images to make them easy to find and share. Version 1.0 launches this year, as does the business model–professional accounts for $59.95 a year, ads for everyone else.


Stewart Butterfield, 31 Caterina Fake, 34

President and VP marketing and community
Ludicorp Research & Development Ltd.
Vancouver, British Columbia