Discussing Flickr With Esther Dyson

Esther Dyson (of ICANN and EFF fame, among many other things) gave a sort of informal interview this morning at the NTC in Chicago. The interview had this “fireside chat” feel to it with two antique-looking chairs seated at angles on the stage, plants surrounding them. You could tell they were trying to evoke some sort of cozy atmosphere. I’m not sure whether the atmosphere went over well, nor did the interview; the interviewer did not seem to steer the questions in the direction suggested by the title of the plenary: “What’s New. What’s Next. What Matters.” Then again, I was too busy going through my feedreader to pay much attention.

While reading through my blogroll, I had sort of a serendipitous moment. I was reading Jeremy Zawodny’s Flickr Analogy post (from yesterday), when I realized that the very same Esther Dyson that sat upon the stage here in Chicago was in Sunnyvale at Yahoo! headquarters only a matter of hours ago, and she had met with Jeremy and the other folks at Yahoo! about Yahoo! 360 and Flickr, which Yahoo! just recently acquired.

After the interview, during which no mention of Flickr was made, I made my way through the crowd to talk to Ms. Dyson to ask her about Flickr and Yahoo! 360. She seemed surprised at the question and admitted that she would’ve been pleased to discuss it during the plenary had the forum been of a different focus. She said that Yahoo! unveiled the entire beta project to them and that she wasn’t told to be hush-hush about anything. Nevertheless, it was difficult to gain an understanding of how the 360 service will be much different from services like Live Journal. It seems that the biggest difference will be the involvement of photographs—at first, Flickr will not be integrated, but this will be an eventual progression (likely a reason that Ms. Dyson was asked to attend, since she is a Flickr investor).

Afterwards, I attended the “Tag This!” session where del.icio.us and Flickr were heavily discussed, among many other interesting and innovative Web technologies.