Defrag Blog

Defrag Speaker: Bradley Horowitz

by Eric Norlin on Jul.18, 2007, under speakers

I’m going a bit out of order on the Defrag speakers, but Scoble has given me the perfect opening to introduce Bradley Horowitz, Yahoo!’s VP of Technology Development and “accidental genius.”

Quoting Scoble:
“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.

Eric’s backstory: I’ve never met Bradley before. I “discovered” him when I saw him interview David Weinberger while on the “book tour” for Everything is Miscellaneous. Now, David was *the first* guy I asked to speak at Defrag. So, when Bradley engaged him in some great ways, I knew that I wanted Bradley there as well. I was already in touch with some Yahoo! folks (Jeremy Z., Chad Dickerson, Joshua Schachter) around Defrag, so contacting Bradley just made sense. One phone call with the middleman-pr-firm-gatekeeper and we were on. Will Bradley decide to buy one of the startups at Defrag? Only time (and being in attendance) will tell…

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