Stewart Butterfield

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Stewart Butterfield
Stewart b.jpg
Stewart Butterfield in 2006
Born Dharma Jeremy Butterfield[1]
1973 (age 43–44)
Lund, British Columbia, Canada
Alma mater University of Victoria (1996)
Clare College, Cambridge (1998)
Occupation Entrepreneur and businessman
Known for Co-founder of Flickr
Founder of Slack
Net worth Increase US$1.69 billion
Spouse(s) Caterina Fake (2001–2007)

Daniel Stewart Butterfield (born 1973) is a Canadian entrepreneur and businessman of Polish descent, best known for being a co-founder of the photo sharing website Flickr and team messaging application Slack.

Early life and education[edit]

Butterfield was born in Lund, British Columbia in 1973 to Norma and David Butterfield.[2] His grandfather came from Poland to Canada at age 17 at interwar period.[3] He was educated at St. Michaels University School in Victoria, British Columbia. He received a B.A. degree in philosophy from the University of Victoria in 1996.[4] Butterfield went on to earn a Master of Philosophy from the University of Cambridge in 1998, where he specialized in the philosophy of biology, cognitive science, and the philosophy of mind.


Ludicorp and Flickr[edit]

In the summer of 2002, he co-founded Ludicorp in Vancouver with Caterina Fake and Jason Classon.[5][6] Ludicorp initially developed a massively multiplayer online role-playing game called Game Neverending. The game did not launch, but the company then started a photo-sharing website called Flickr. In March 2005 Ludicorp was acquired by Yahoo!, where Butterfield continued as the General Manager of Flickr until he left Yahoo on July 12, 2008.[7][8]

Tiny Speck[edit]

In 2009 Butterfield cofounded a new company called Tiny Speck.[9] Tiny Speck launched its first project, the massively multiplayer game Glitch, on September 27, 2011. Glitch was later closed due to its failure to attract a sufficiently large audience. The game world closed down on December 9, 2012, but the web site, with most of the content, is still available.[10][11] In January 2013, it was announced that the company would make most of the game's art available under a Creative Commons license.[12][13] On December 9, 2014, a fan project to relaunch Glitch under the name Eleven began alpha testing.[14]


In August 2013, Butterfield announced the release of Slack, an instant-message-based team communication tool built by Tiny Speck while working on Glitch.[15][16] Since its public release in February 2014, the tool has grown at a weekly rate of 5 to 10 percent, with more than 120,000 daily users registered in the first week of August 2014. As of August 2014, Slack has garnered US$1.5 million in revenue and raised US$60 million in venture capital. In early 2014, the data for Slack's first six-month usage period since the preview release was published, showing that nearly 16,000 users were registered without the use of any form of advertising—growth was based solely upon word-of-mouth.[17][18]

Butterfield secured an office for Slack employees in San Francisco in 2014 and was expected to commence recruitment during the second half of the year.[17]

As of December 2015, Slack has raised US$340 million in venture capital and has more than 2 million daily active users, of which 570,000 are paid customers.[19]

Slack was named Inc. Magazine’s 2015 company of the year.[20]

Awards and honors[edit]

In 2005, Butterfield was named one of Businessweek's "Top 50" Leaders[21] in the entrepreneur category. In the same year, he was also named in the TR35, a list collated by MIT in its MIT Technology Review publication, as one of the top 35 innovators in the world under the age of 35 years.[22][23] In 2006, he was named in the "Time 100", Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world,[24] and also appeared on the cover of Newsweek magazine.[25][26]

In November 2008, Butterfield received the "Legacy Distinguished Alumni Award" from the University of Victoria.[27]

In 2015, Stewart was named the Wall Street Journal's Technology Innovator for 2015,[28] awarded TechCrunch’s Founder of the Year Crunchie,[29] and included in Vanity Fair’s New Establishment,[30] Advertising Age’s Creative 50,[31] and Details’ Digital Mavericks lists.[32]

Personal life[edit]

Butterfield was married to Caterina Fake, his Flickr co-founder, from 2001[33] to 2007.[34] They have one daughter together, who was born in 2007.[35]

Butterfield maintained a personal website and blog at starting in 1998; the most recent entry is from 2007.[36]


  1. ^ "The Most Fascinating Profile You'll Ever Read About a Guy and His Boring Startup". Wired. August 7, 2014. Retrieved September 3, 2016. 
  2. ^ Kosoff, Maya (2 September 2015). "14 Surprising Facts About Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield". Retrieved 19 February 2016. 
  3. ^ Butterfield, Steward (Jan 28, 2017). "My grandfather came from Poland between the wars, at 17". Twitter. 
  4. ^ "Flickr Co-Founder Among UVic Legacy Awards Recipients" (Press release). University of Victoria. November 17, 2008. 
  5. ^ Livingston, Jessica (2008). Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days. Apress. p. 257. 
  6. ^ "The Ludicorp Team". Ludicorp. Ludicorp Research & Development Ltd. Archived from the original on October 26, 2003. 
  7. ^ Arrington, Michael (June 17, 2008). "Flickr Co-founders Join Mass Exodus From Yahoo". TechCrunch. 
  8. ^ Butterfield's creative resignation letter addressed to Brad Garlinghouse.
  9. ^ Swisher, Kara (August 23, 2010). "Flickr Co-Founder Butterfield Talks About His New Game Start-Up, Glitch". AllThingsD. Retrieved September 17, 2010. 
  10. ^ Boyd, E.B. (September 27, 2011). "A Flickr Founder's Glitch: Can A Game That Wants You To Play Nice Be A Blockbuster?". Fast Company. Retrieved September 30, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Vancouver's Tiny Speck puts massively multiplayer game Glitch online". Vancouver Sun. September 27, 2011. Retrieved September 30, 2011. 
  12. ^ Beschizza, Rob (January 25, 2013). "Shuttered online game Glitch gets new life in the Creative Commons". BoingBoing. Retrieved March 4, 2013. 
  13. ^ Gera, Emily (January 24, 2013). "Glitch developer shares assets under Creative Commons license following closure of game". Polygon. Retrieved March 4, 2013. 
  14. ^ "'Two Years Past' or 'Welcome Home'". The Eleven Project. Retrieved 11 January 2015. 
  15. ^ Tam, Donna (August 14, 2013). "Flickr founder plans to kill company e-mails with Slack". CNET. Retrieved November 26, 2013. 
  16. ^ Thomas, Owen (August 14, 2013). "Die, Email, Die! A Flickr Cofounder Aims To Cut Us All Some Slack". ReadWrite. Retrieved November 26, 2013. 
  17. ^ a b Mat Honan (7 July 2014). "The Most Fascinating Profile You'll Ever Read About a Guy and His Boring Startup". Wired. Condé Nast. Retrieved August 10, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Marc Andreessen". Marc Andreessen on Twitter. Twitter. 9 February 2014. Retrieved August 10, 2014. 
  19. ^ Gage, Deborah (December 15, 2015). "Slack Raises $80 Million Fund to Support Platform Strategy". Wall Street Journal. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 27, 2016. 
  20. ^ Bercovici, Jeff (November 23, 2015). "Slack Is Our Company of the Year. Here's Why Everybody's Talking About It". Inc. Magazine. Retrieved January 27, 2016. 
  21. ^ "2005 Top Leaders: Entrepreneurs". Businessweek. 2005. 
  22. ^ "2005 Young Innovators Under 35". Technology Review. 2005. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  23. ^ "TR35 2005". Technology Review. 2005. 
  24. ^ "2006 Time 100". Time. 2006. Archived from the original on May 2, 2006. 
  25. ^ Newsweek cover image
  26. ^ Levy, Steven (April 2, 2006). "The New Wisdom of the Web". Newsweek. 
  27. ^ "Flickr co-founder makes it big with an arts degree". Times Colonist. November 26, 2008. Archived from the original on November 26, 2008. 
  28. ^ Stevenson, Seth (November 5, 2015). "Stewart Butterfield, Email Killer". Wall Street Journal. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 27, 2016. 
  29. ^ Kumparak, Greg (February 5, 2015). "Slack's Co-Founders Take Home The Crunchie For Founder Of The Year". TechCrunch. TechCrunch. Retrieved January 27, 2016. 
  30. ^ Bilton, Nick (September 30, 2015). "New Establishment List 2015". Vanity Fair. Vanity Fair. Retrieved January 27, 2016. 
  31. ^ Peterson, Tim (December 21, 2015). "Creativity 50 2015: Stewart Butterfield". Advertising Age. Advertising Age. Retrieved January 27, 2016. 
  32. ^ Angio, Joe (April 7, 2015). "Digital Mavericks 2015". Details Magazine. Details Magazine. Retrieved January 27, 2016. 
  33. ^ Chatterjee, Pia (September 12, 2007). "Love, e-company style". Business 2.0 Magazine. CNN Money. 
  34. ^ Leonard, Devin (July 28, 2010). "What You Want: Flickr Creator Spins Addictive New Web Service". Wired. Retrieved July 31, 2010. 
  35. ^ Thomas, Owen (July 12, 2007). "Silicon Valley's baby boom". Gawker. 
  36. ^ Butterfield, Stewart. "About". Wayback Machine. Archived from the original on May 8, 2012. 

Further reading[edit]