Nov 11, 2006

Don't Bite Down Too Hard on 'Indie Corporate'

In a recent blog post called Knowing when to hold 'em Ev points out that relatively young web properties adopted by large corporate entities have grown extremely robust with very little help from their parents. He cited Yahoo!'s Flickr and Google's Blogger as prime examples.

Ev goes on in his very next post to say that he likes it when people say they "work at Flickr" rather than at Yahoo! and recalls that at Blogger we used to refer to this phenomenon as "indie corporate" within the walls of the Googleplex.

It occurs to me that these two points go together like the sweet and salty taste of a tooth-breaking piece of peanut brittle. When you are acquired, ignored, and desperate for more resources what do you do? You form a tribe, hang on to your identity, and rock the indie corporate vibe.

As long as your acquired product team maintains black sheep status in a big company you are indie corporate because your subculture becomes one of your precious resources. Maybe that's why folks like Dunstan say they are going to work for Flickr instead of Yahoo! and that's why if you get hired to work on Orkut you say "I'm going to join my Stanford pals at Google."

1 comment:

Jay Fienberg said...

It's interesting to read what Ev and you are saying about this.

I actually think some folks just don't want to admit that they're committing themselves to the corporate, profit-above-all-else, workplace.

Flickr and Blogger are cool services, and Ludicorp and Pyra were cool, small companies where you work for your friends. But, Yahoo! and Google are, at heart, monster corporations.

It's pretty natural that popular services end up in bigger companies who can sustain them. But, the services and original people become more like artifacts of history than creators of the future.

It all gets exciting again when those people leave, and like with you and Ev, do totally great new stuff like Odeo and Twittr.