My last post on this blog was about George Oates and The Commons. I was very excited about what was being discussed in relation to national collections.
I was in the process of writing a post about moral hazard when I received Stephen Downes’ OLDaily with a link to Jeffrey Zeldman’s post about Yahoo laying off George Oates. This is George’s post about Not quite what I had in mind
I am not sure why I was so shocked about news of George’s firing. I think it has a great deal to do with my naive approach to life and my attraction to energetic vibrant people. Seb Chan’s post conveys some of my thoughts and Courtney Johnson‘s comment (on Seb’s post) shares the impact George’s work had.

I know I speak for the hundreds of attendees to the recent National Digital Forum in Auckland, NZ, as well my team members at the National Library when I say that we were all shocked and saddened to hear this news. As very recent members of The Commons, I know part of the attraction of the project – in addition to being able to share our collections with a passionate and curious community – was the generosity and genuine interest George showed towards collecting institutions, and the work she did to bring us together in a new way.

If a blog post can be a lament then this is a lament. I am not making a judgement about Yahoo’s decision. The decision makes it more important for me to finish my post on moral hazard started by accessing Kate Jennings‘ work and its juxtaposition with a technical definition:

Moral hazard is the prospect that a party insulated from risk may behave differently from the way it would behave if it were fully exposed to the risk. Moral hazard arises because an individual or institution does not bear the full consequences of its actions, and therefore has a tendency to act less carefully than it otherwise would, leaving another party to bear some responsibility for the consequences of those actions.

Some other posts about George:
Bobbie Johnson (11 December) Now Flickr is hit by Yahoo layoffs
Owen Thomas (12 December) Flickr layoffs could spell a photo finish
Scott Gilbertson (12 December) Yahoo Layoffs Continue
Seeking Alpha (16 December) Microsoft Would Do Well to Hire Yahoo’s latest Flickr Fire

Tyler Hellard (16 December)

Thomas Hawk (17 December) Former Flickr Designer George Oates on Getting Fired by Yahoo


  1. Thanks for the link to the concept moral hazard, I found myself wanting to contribute to wikipedia but got lost in the how… another moral hazard in processes that alienate


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