Congrats to Flickr (Ludicorp) on their acquisition by Yahoo! It’s one of the few Vancouver success stories that I’ve heard since moving to there five years ago. But what really surprised me when I first heard about them was that hardly anyone that I know up in Vancouver heard about them when I first told them about it! Why was that? They are based in Vancouver. The only thing that I can think of as a reason is because Ludicorp didn’t view themselves as a Vancouver company. Yes they were based in Vancouver, but they had their sights set bigger. They knew how to play the tech industry game. And being a tech company and not playing the game is probably one of the bigger mistakes that I see Vancouver companies making.
In the past year Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield have been presenting at all the big tech industry conferences- getting their name out there and developing wuffie (the father of this word, Cory Doctorow, is on their board). In addition to having a great product, this pr is what got the attention of the tech community, Yahoo! and probably other companies. I can’t tell you of any other Vancouver start-ups that I’ve known that have had their executives on the conference circuit as part of their marketing strategy. It’s not that they didn’t have products that would have been worthy of talking about. I don’t think they ever considered it.
The tech world revolves around Silicon Valley. It’s something that I knew before moving down here but is now crystal clear. If you want to be successful or have a successful tech company, the people here better know who you are and what you do and vice-versa. Once you’re secure in your reputation here, then you can go out and conquer the rest of the world.
Ludicorp seems to have done well with their initial wuffie. It will be interesting to see how much farther they get with Yahoo! behind them.