A Tumblr Post on Tumlbr

As a startup founder, I can’t help myself from reading every thing about Yahoo’s billion dollar acquisition of Tumblr.  That’s the lottery winning dream of the startup CEO.

I’ve especially enjoyed the always sprited discussion of Marco Arment, former CTO of Tumblr (although not a founder) on his blog (which is not on Tumblr).

The thing that sticks out to me about the discussion is how much Tumblr Founder/CEO David Karp is a “Steve Jobs-like visionary.” He is dedicated to the product, disdains revenue, etc., etc.  It’s a common story with the big wins–this man had a vision, saw it through and that’s WHY he is successful.

I would hazard an educated guess that there are a lot of founders who have a vision, try to see it through single-mindedly and that is why they are NOT successful.  Not to say David’s vision isn’t amazing–it clearly is. I wish I thought of tumblr, I am enjoying it right now.  But I think there is a correlation/causation assumption failure here.  Being a single minded visionary may or may not be required to get to $1B. However, I don’t think that being single-minded is always a good thing–we all know the other side of this story is the once, twice, thrice pivoted startup.

Let’s all acknowledge the whole thing is kind of a crap shoot and that there are so few billion dollar exits (measured in the double digits) and the industries are so varied that it would be hard to run a meaningful regression.