When Ludicorp launched the game Neverending, they had no idea that it would turn into the image app giant today known as “Flickr”. All they wanted was to build a massive multiplayer game on a web platform which never took off (in a viral sense). Eventually they spotted this “image sharing” capability hidden within their app and spun it separately as FlickrLive. FlickrLive was a chat room application with a real-time photo exchange functionality.
Yahoo acquired Ludicorp for $35 million in 2005 and replaced its photo platform with Flickr. Today everyone knows about Flickr and it is one of the highest used tools in blogs. The thing I find interesting in this story is that Ludicorp did not write the Beta code to make an image application but only a functionality within their base platform. Who knows? Had they tried to develop a separate image application, they might not have succeeded.
This is a classic “gem hidden in the dirt” type of story and is a Silicon Valley norm. The same is nicely portrayed in the first episode of “Silicon Valley” on HBO. I loved it so far and can’t wait for the future episodes. I know this show may not be everyone’s cup of tea but we need to understand that it’s a show and is dependent of exaggerated stereo types for some laughs.
HBO made the pilot episode available for free on YouTube.