Back in June of last year, Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake, the husband/wife team that started Flickr, left Yahoo to pursue other interests. We already know what Fake’s new project is, the just-launched Hunch. Now we know what Butterfield’s new project is. Or, at least, what it’s called: Tiny Speck.
Butterfield sent out a tweet tonight announcing that the new company was hiring. The link he sent goes to a page on a site for the Tiny Speck project. Along the top of the jobs page it reads “We’re a new company, founded by four core members of the original team behind Flickr.” It’s no secret that another of those four core team members is former Flickr head of engineering, Cal Henderson, who left Yahoo in April of this year.
So what is Tiny Speck all about? That is still not entirely clear. The word on the street has been that it’s some kind of new social gaming endeavor, but all they’ll say on the site is “We are working on something huge and fun and we need help.”
And the main page doesn’t offer much help either. On it you’ll find the words, “O, wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, That has such people in’t!” For the non-English majors, that’s a line from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, which is also the passage that inspired the title of Aldous Huxley’s novel, Brave New World.
Below that, you’ll find the logo, and below that you’ll find the link stating that Tiny Speck is hiring. And below that it reads, “Other than that, we have nothing in particular to say for ourselves right now.” Mysterious.
So, is there anything to be drawn from this position they’re hiring for? A bit, yes. The position is Creative Production Team Lead. The description says this person will be supporting staff and contractors including “illustrators, along with the occasional writer, animator or sound designer.”
So clearly this is a creative project — it almost sounds like their making an animated movie. As awesome as that would be, with people like Henderson on board, you can bet there’s impressive engineering going on to turn this all into a game of some sort (if that is in fact what this is all about).
Something else that is interesting is that this is being run out of Vancouver, according to the job posting. That is also where Flickr got its start. And guess how Flickr started? As a photo tool for a project called Game Neverending, a massively multiplayer online game.
It eventually became clear that the photo sharing aspect was the idea that would take off for Ludicorp, Butterfield and Fake’s company. So Game Neverending was tabled, and Flickr was born. Yahoo then bought Ludicorp and the rights to Flickr in March of 2005.
Looks like we may be seeing Butterfield returning to his roots.