SELLING A BUSINESS

David Karp: Why I Sold Tumblr

In an interview Thursday with Charlie Rose, Tumblr founder David Karp opened up about the $1.1 billion acquisition everyone's talking about.
David Karp, founder of Tumblr, strikes a pose.
Advertisement

Inc. users have been getting to know David Karp since Tumblr burst on the scene a few years ago: His prodigious worth ethic; his favorite Tumblr; and even his modeling career. Now that he has sold Tumblr to Yahoo, he is in demand everywhere. On Thursday, he sat down with Bloomberg TV's Charlie Rose to discuss Yahoo's $1.1 billion acquisition, why he dropped out of high school, and how he plans to preserve Tumblr's authenticity.

Here are some of the highlights.

On how Tumblr got involved with Yahoo in the first place:
"We started conversations about working with Yahoo in November of last year. After a few months, we knew there was a lot we were going to be doing together, regardless. We knew we were going to be working together. That's when Marissa [Mayer] showed up in New York and started to walk me through a story of how we could do even more together."

Why Yahoo is a good fit for Tumblr:
"[Yahoo] was a company with a legacy doing exactly the same kind of stuff we're hinging our business on--creative brand advertising. They were the original digital media company. They took a different approach to media. They approached media as an editorial team that created content and built creative brand advertising on top of that content. That's a big part of the future of Tumblr's business. That's something they've built out technology for and something they have advertiser relationships around and something they have a whole big honking salesforce for. What Marissa showed me and what their team showed us was an opportunity for Yahoo to help us fuel in a huge way the development of that network and the development of our ad business."

Tumblr's introduction of ads:
"It's very native advertising. The advertisements fit into spots where we already promote content. We already promote the best of Tumblr and use that as a place for people to discover things they wouldn't have seen otherwise. We'll roll in advertisements into those spots where we promote organic content."

Why it was the right time to sell:
"I was not expecting to sell the company this year, certainly wasn't looking to sell the company. This was a really, really remarkable opportunity that presented itself. This was an unbelievable opportunity to shortcut a lot of the very hard things that we're about to be going through."

Why he dropped out of high school:
"[Computer programming] wasn't in academia, and that was really the reason for me to drop out of school. It wasn't, 'Screw this.' It wasn't that I was bored. It wasn't that my friends were so lame. I was really enjoying school, but back in 1997 and 2000, when I was in high school, there wasn't computer science education in high schools in New York."

On the future of Tumblr:
"Hopefully we get this right, and Tumblr will be home to the most aspiring and talented creators all over the world. That's something we've already started to do. Regular people in the world, right now, they spend a huge amount of time in front of their televisions consuming premium content, some would call it, stuff produced by publishers, networks, studios. If we're not already there today, certainly five years from now, I expect the vast majority of the content we enjoy not to be produced only by a handful of creators who are selected and supported by those big studios."

For the full audio, click here.

IMAGE: Michael Lewis
Last updated: May 31, 2013




Register on Inc.com today to get full access to:
All articles  |  Magazine archives | Livestream events | Comments
EMAIL
PASSWORD
EMAIL
FIRST NAME
LAST NAME
EMAIL
PASSWORD

Or sign up using: