The best operationally-run web startup: ImageShack/YFrog (plus, first look at new YFrog)

The YFrog Man

Right before heading to SXSW I had a remarkable visit to ImageShack, the folks who make YFrog. Don’t know who they are? Well, they are serving millions of images and video to tons of people on Twitter and other social networks. They are turning on a major new version that turns YFrog into a full-blown social network. See a preview of that below.

But very quickly I learned this startup was different and, no, it wasn’t because of the pile of plastic frogs in the middle of the room.

What was different? The CEO, Jack Levin. I could tell instantly that he was operationally minded. But then he dropped the bombshell: he was Google’s first ops hire. Oh, I really do need to do more homework on startups before I show up.

So, I quickly turned on my camera and we did three videos:

1. Where we talked about operations and web startup infrastructure. Lots of stories about early days at Google (he was hired by Google when they only had 30 employees and about 300 servers).
2. One where he shows me the new YFrog.
3. His “fun” project where he’s building a datacenter that uses NVidia graphic cards to do the processing instead of the Intel processors in the machines. He’s able to get a 30x improvement in some processing by doing this.

Sorry for the bad audio, my camera’s audio input was dead and I didn’t realize it until I got home. It’s not often that a CEO is so operationally-focused and it’s even rarer that they open up their infrastructure and show me how it works. Hope you enjoy this interesting look inside how YFrog works.

Thanks Jack for sharing what you’re doing.

About Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, I travel the world with Rocky Barbanica looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology and report that here.

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