Despite the recent deluge of commentary on the subject (most of it negative or, at minimum, dismissive), I think that it’s too early to say much of anything about Yahoo’s acquisition of Tumblr. The news leaked this weekend, and it was officially confirmed today. That hasn’t, of course, stopped the internet pundit class from weighing in ad nauseum.
Here’s my advice: stop reading that stuff.
Instead, read Instapaper’s creator Marco Arment’s wonderfully personal history and photo document of his time at Tumblr.
His analysis is solid —he points out, for example, that, though much has been made by the aforementioned punditry of the many failed acquisitions in Yahoo’s history, few people are remembering that Google’s acquisition of YouTube has worked out pretty well for both users and the original founders.
Of Tumblr founder David Karp, Marco writes:
David has an impeccable sense of what’s best for Tumblr, and he doesn’t need anyone else telling him what’s best for the product. Many people, myself included, have tried to convince him to go different directions, and we’ve been proven wrong every time.
Tumblr is David, and David is Tumblr.
I think that Marco is right: it makes perfect sense for a product guy to let somebody else deal with the business side of his business so that he can focus on what he’s best at.
Of himself and his financial benefit from the sale, he closes:
As for me, while I wasn’t a “founder” financially, David was generous with my employee stock options back in the day. I won’t make yacht-and-helicopter money from the acquisition, and I won’t be switching to dedicated day and night iPhones. But as long as I manage investments properly and don’t spend recklessly, Tumblr has given my family a strong safety net and given me the freedom to work on whatever I want. And that’s exactly what I plan to do.
A fitting end to an incredibly thoughtful piece.