Resignation Letters in the Web 2.0 Age

Resignation Letters in the Web 2.0 Age

Argh.  I wrote “Web 2.0” already when I promised myself I wouldn’t do that until at least my 100th post.  Man.  What a letdown.


So Stewart Butterfield, co-founder of Flickr, has tendered his resignation letter to Yahoo, as has his wife and fellow co-founder Caterina Fake.  Check it out:


Put simply, Yahoo lost focus and Butterfield doesn’t feel he has a place anymore.  The metallurgical storytelling is just clever metaphor.  But that’s not the point.

A great many of our customers are involved in HR/HRIS, so resignations and their accompanying letters are nothing new to them.  But what do you most notice about Butterfield’s parting shot?

Yes, it’s bizarre, but that’s not what I’m talking about either.

Butterfield did this knowing full well it would be leaked.  As the co-founder of Flickr, he knows his market, his medium, his customers, his ecosystem.  And when it was time to leave, he wrote something that not only would go viral within hours of it being submitted, but would also pay homage to the social, network-leveraged medium that help Flickr become worth $35M dollars.

That’s just brilliant.  The fact that I’m writing this post is further evidence that Butterfield wasn’t just being daft; he knew exactly where his letter would go.

That’s what makes an expert an expert: a complete, instinctual understanding of the medium and framework in which you’re working.  There’s bookish expertise and experiential expertise and even a vaunted combination of the two.  But when you get to expertise that runs as deep as instinct, when you become an absolute master at something, well, you’re head and shoulders above the rest.  We try to find it in people we hire every single time we fill a position, and we’re quite massively dedicated to it.  We appreciate this sort of talent, and because we’re in the people-for-people business, our customers do too.  It’s a winning formula all around.

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