I met Bubbleshare CEO Albert Lai in Toronto in 1995, back when he was still a high school kid. I was at my first job fresh out of Crazy Go Nuts University (that's where I met George) and Albert was there doing an internship, seeing what it was like working a new media company that was in the newfangled business of developing interactive media applications. We got along, probably because we were the two guys at the company who came from a technical, let's-make-some-cool-tech-and-money mindset rather than the prevailing arts-degree “my art above all else” vibe. There seemed to be general unease about doing projects for “big business”. Hippies.
I remember later reading about Internet.com's acquisition of the MyDesktop network of sites; he was one of the three teens who made the sale.
A few years later, I ran into him again, this time in a location thousands of miles away: in San Jose, at a gathering of P2P software developers, just prior to the first O'Reilly P2P conference (which would later morph to become the Emerging Tech conference). It turns out that we ended up living in the same condo complex in San Francisco.
A few years after that, I bumped into him again as he was promoting Bubbleshare, an online photo-sharing web application. Bubbleshare is pretty simple to use and could teach Flickr a thing or two. I kept running into him at various TorCamp/BarCamp/DemoCamp-related events, and then…nothing.
Albert usually makes his presence known, so any silence coming from him usually means that he's hard at work on his latest project. That turned out to be the case: the news that Bubbleshare has been acquired has been reported by local tech writers Mathew Ingram and Mark Evans. The acquisition has been made by Toronto-based Kaboose, which runs a network of family-oriented sites.
Mark Evans aptly points out that Bubbleshare always seemed more like a feature than a business; their fit with Kaboose seems like a natural one — family-oriented site and very user friendly online photo album.
My congratulations to Albert and the rest of the Bubbleshare crew. You'll have to tell me all about it at the next DemoCamp!