In addition to Photosynth, Live Labs has developed Thumbtack, an online bookmarking application, and Social Streams, an application for tracking buzz in social networks. Flake, meanwhile, has become a frank and vocal defender of Microsoft—the oft-maligned giant—which he says "is rediscovering a big part of what has made it historically successful." At TED, Aguera y Arcas joked that he never imagined he'd go to work for Microsoft, but then things like Photosynth have people taking another look at Redmond.
Flake, on fostering innovation: "For us, innovation means doing something valuable that isn't obviously valuable or obviously possible. Everything about the Live Labs environment is a consequence of starting with that definition and then backing out the requirements for what it takes to succeed. For example, if things aren't obvious—either in value or in execution—then we need to accept a certain amount of risk. When you tease apart all of the subtle relationships between innovation and repeatability, you ultimately end up with the realization that not only will mistakes happen, but that they are an essential part of the process. The trick is to make mistakes that are cheap, easy to recover from, and full of lessons. Our entire philosophy for how to make innovation repeatable boils down to celebrating failures as well as successes and learning from both."
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