Why did Flickr miss the mobile photo opportunity that Instagram and picplz are pursuing? The mobile photo space is red-hot right now with several players beyond the two mentioned vying to become a common app on smartphones. And one of them, Instagram, was able to gain over a million users in less than three months.
So why wasn’t Flickr, with all the resources of Yahoo behind them, able to dominate this space first?
The simple answer, according to Elliot-McCrea, is “Innovator’s dilemma”. That is, if Flickr had wanted to create a successful service that leveraged Twitter’s social graph, they would have had to sacrifice their own login system for that of Twitter’s — which until more recently was considered very insecure. “The Yahoo! Paranoids would have shut us down in a heart beat,” Elliot-McCrea says.
This is clearly a pain point for Elliot-McCrea as he was instrumental in creating the OAuth standard that Twitter and many other service now use to allow for third-party link-ups. So Flickr and Twitter linking up via OAuth should have happened right away, right? Nope. According to Elliot-McCrea, it took about two years — something which he detailed here.