Yahoo, Now That It’s Tomorrow

This is a follow-up to the previous post, which focused on the jarring contrast between Yahoo’s new mission statement and a particular action taken by its Flickr service. The main news since then is that Stewart Butterfield has added his apology to the conversation.

[I’m one of the co-founders of Flickr, and am the general manager with overall responsibility for all things Flickr.]

… we screwed up — and for that I take full responsibility (actually, several team members are fighting to take responsibility).

There are several policies which will be changing as a direct result of this incident and the goal is that nothing like this ever happens again. Any errors from now on should be on the side of caution…

The photo was deleted — again, mistakenly — because of the direction the comments had gone…

The person who made the call is not, as has been suggested, stupid, incompetent, underpaid, under qualified, inexperienced or mean. They just made a big mistake (and feel inconsolably awful about it, by the way). We also did not have the right policies in place to prevent it from happening or rectifying it afterward. And that’s entirely the responsibility of the Flickr leadership team, and myself in particular.

I think that has just tipped the balance toward my renewing my Flickr Pro account. I particularly like the way that Stewart is careful to establish that the individual employee does not deserve the harsh things that have been said. He puts the blame on the policies, and hence on those responsible for the policies, including himself. I hope that he will let the Flickr community know about specific policy changes.

By the way, I added a comment to the mission post at the Yahoo blog. I did so last night. In it, I quoted from the post the statement that “any strategy… is only as valuable as its ability to be executed” and pointed out the relevance to the Flickr fiasco. The comment was queued for moderation.

Now it’s time for Yahoo to execute. And perhaps to let my comment show up, critical though it is. Update: my comment did survive moderation, and has helped this to become one of my most-visited posts.

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