Hate my iPhone and Facebook yammering?

Fred Vogelstein

OK, I keep seeing notes from people who are tired of my iPhone and Facebook yammering.

So, it’s time to put up or shut up.

What is more important happening right now? I’m looking at TechMeme and other feeds. I just met with a ton of VCs, execs, journalists like Wired’s Fred Vogelstein, etc (that’s him in the photo on this post) and there’s nothing that excites/generates conversation like Facebook and iPhone. Nothing.

If you got something that is exciting you more, I’d sure like to hear about it.

Oh, don’t take Fred’s picture as an anti-Facebook statement. He’s working on an article for Wired about Facebook.

Kara Swisher, tech columnist for the Wall Street Journal, told me at dinner (and I see she told everyone on her blog) that today she met with Facebook’s “money guy” and that she came away impressed.

Translation: Expect to hear a lot more Facebook news. Unless you got something more interesting for us all to pay attention to. Microsoft? Google? Yahoo? Helllllllloooooooo.

UPDATE: Dave McClure has a good post about all that’s happening in Facebook land.

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Something’s up at Yahoo

I have a personal policy of not investing in companies in the tech industry (I own some Microsoft stock, but that’s just cause I’m too lazy to sell it) but if I did I’d be buying some Yahoo tonight.

I met several employees, including Jeff Weiner, executive vice president, and they were more upbeat about the company’s prospects than I’ve seen from Yahooians in years.

Now, you might say that’s their job, but I’ve been around the block a few times and I think it’s all due to one thing: Jerry Yang is back.

In fact, a few of them whispered that big things are getting done and that it’s nice to have a founder who’s a CEO again.

Let me translate that to what they wouldn’t say: the place was run by consensus before and now has a guy who can get s**t done back in charge.

It might not translate into anything that Wall Street will like this quarter or next, but I like the new attitude. Will it translate into products and services we all like? Or an advertising platform that makes tons of money and has advertisers happy?

That we’ll keep a watch on for.

And, yes, I know they didn’t report very spectacular earnings today. But we expected that, didn’t we? After all, a CEO doesn’t leave if the trains are all running on time.

Larry Dignan, over on ZDNet, has a report about how Jerry Yang is promising a strategic plan in the next 100 days.

Yahoo’s “accidental” genius

The guy who bought Flickr, Bradley Horowitz of Yahoo

Tonight I was honored to be able to shake the hands of the guy who bought Flickr (and del.icio.us and upcoming.org, among other things) for Yahoo. Bradley Horowitz, VP of Technology Development at Yahoo.

He told me that it wasn’t due to any real brilliance on his part. He worked on computer vision and graphics at MIT and knew that it’d be really tough to get any useful data out of the images themselves. So, when Stewart Butterfield, co-founder of Flickr along with Caterina Fake, showed him how they were getting users to add metadata by making it fun to do so he said “that’s brilliant” and worked to buy the company. The way he told the story Yahoo got very lucky in getting Flickr. He learned later that a VC firm was about to put a sizable investment into the company. I told him that I told Bill Gates to buy the company about three weeks before the deal was done, but that wasn’t successful.

He told me, and also wrote on his blog that he “will forever be either hero or goat to [Caterina and Stewart] depending on how things go.” Why a goat? Because he knows that if Flickr had stayed private for a couple more years that it would have ended up selling for about half a billion.

He also said that the final story on Flickr hadn’t been written and that growth is going off the charts and told me to “stay tuned.”

Definitely a guy to watch. I wonder what the team he’s a part of will do next.

UPDATE: One thing I love about blogging is that it’s two-way. So here Bradley added onto my post with his own thoughts, which I’m putting in the post so it might get through to some RSS readers:

Gulp… … For the record, truly huge amounts of luck involved, but even more than luck… truly huge teams of people talented, clueful, uncredited people involved. I was lucky enough to help bring in Flickr (who first came to my attention courtesy of an Engineer in Bangalore), but it was actually Flickr (specifically Stewart) who helped bring in upcoming.org, and Eckart Walther (a guy who actually deserves the word genius) who brought del.icio.us to Yahoo… Hack Day was all about Chad Dickerson, Brickhouse was all about Caterina Fake, Pipes was Pasha, etc. It sounds cliche, but surrounding myself with great people and getting out of their way has been a pretty good recipe for goodness… Especially when my own bosses (Jeff Weiner, Ash Patel) also subscribe to this strategy and clear all the roadblocks on my behalf.

Dave, I do expect that my team is going to flourish under the new regime… Jerry and Sue have pretty much been the exec champions for everything I’ve wanted to do…