Stewart Butterfield's bizarre resignation letter to Yahoo

Owen Thomas · 06/17/08 09:00PM

Stewart Butterfield, the cantankerous cofounder of Flickr, has, as we've noted, tendered his resignation to Yahoo, as has wife and cofounder Caterina Fake. The two recently celebrated, along with Flickr's other original employees, a "Vestfest" for their take from the $35 million sale of Flickr to Yahoo three years ago; we'd heard as long ago as October that Butterfield was ready to leave. But we couldn't have anticipated the manner of Butterfield's exit. In a long, rambling email to Yahoo executive Brad Garlinghouse, under whose aegis Flickr fell, Butterfield described the company as a tin-smithing concern, but found that there was no place for him as the company left its metallurgical roots. Better this entertaining nonsense than some tired cliche of "bleeding purple," I suppose. I'm also told that this email is classic Butterfield, and that his employees at Flickr would stage dramatic readings of some of his better missives at Flickr's San Francisco headquarters, which will now be run officially by Kakul Srivastava, Flickr's longtime de facto chief. Butterfield's full resignation letter:

Stewart Butterfield grooms beard for ... investors?

Owen Thomas · 05/07/08 11:20AM

Long before he and Flickr cofounder Caterina Fake spawned daughter Sonnet, Stewart Butterfield had a manly thatch of russet facial hair that screamed "Daddy." He's thus the natural winner of Fortune's first beard-off; other contenders like Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, and Yelp's Russel Simmons might as well not have bothered. There's one curiosity about his win, though: Why would a judge praise Butterfield's beard for being "trimmed nicely, edgy, yet mature, so he doesn't look 18 sitting in front of investors"? We don't think judge John Allan, the owner of a chain of grooming clubs, has any special insight into Butterfield's career plans. But he's nonetheless on target: We've heard Butterfield, who sold Flickr to Yahoo more than three years ago, has left Flickr general manager Kakul Srivastava — his "hero" — in charge of his startup baby, so he can tend to his real one, and is ready to bolt from Yahoo.

Flickr to video users: You're a bunch of amateurs

Owen Thomas · 03/16/08 06:52PM

Almost every digital camera captures both pictures and movies. This reality has seemed lost on Flickr for four years. Cofounder Stewart Butterfield reportedly told attendees at a fourth-birthday party last night that Flickr, now owned by Yahoo, will introduce video uploads next month. At this point, Yahoo might as well launch the service on April 1 — the delay has become that much of a joke. Yahoo Video has already relaunched, with its own movie-upload features. So why bother?