I’ll start by saying it has been an absolute joy and privilege to be the President of Tumblr these past four years
To work alongside these special people, with our intense focus on product, positivity, fun and whimsy — from our small team came what is now a community of over 50 million
It’s been a seminal experience, and I’m proud of the work
I told the team and board this week that it’s time for me to transition away from running day-to-day operations. It’s the right time for me and a good time for Tumblr. We’re in great hands with David and the excellent leadership team we’ve built. The company is filled with amazing people
That said, I’m not going very far. The transition from running ops is effective immediately, but I’m sticking close w/ David, the team and company. There’s more work to do and I want to help see it thru
I feel really fortunate that my life is filled with good things - my family, dear friends, and an entrepreneurial career that now includes the magical Tumblr years
I’m going to spend more time with my family, more time supporting startups/founders, paying some things forward, and learn a bunch of new things
Regarding my friend David, who I just worked with for basically eight years over two startups. First at mine, then at his. He’s an amazing person and talent, I learned a ton from David
The team will ship some awesome new stuff next week and I’ll be there for it
For anyone who hasn’t heard John and my backstory before:
In 2002, we were introduced over the phone by my then boss (and John’s friend). John needed a programmer in a pinch after his startup, UrbanBaby, was featured on the news (Good Morning America, I think) and its database was maxing connections.
16-year-old David did my best to jump in and help, and John was nice enough to keep passing me projects over the next few weeks. A couple months in, he offered me my first full-time programming gig.
John was the same ridiculously delightful person many of you have gotten to know. Growing up with him was a joy, and as a mentor he taught me, among many things, how to convincingly act like an adult.
Along the way, and w/o me asking or knowing, John and his unstoppable generosity saw fit to set some stock aside for me.
When UrbanBaby was acquired by CNET, that stock seeded my startup, Davidville. Two years later, Davidville launched Tumblr.
A little more than a year after that, Tumblr was going full-bore. We were pushing updates every day. We raised a bunch of money. And we had just passed a million users.
I was also completely neglecting: our bills, our investors, our office, hiring, our lawyers, and the thousands of emails that were sitting in my inbox.
And that’s when I got a note that John had wrapped up at CNET and was doing some consulting for NY startups.
We grabbed lunch later that week, caught up about life, and then I asked if he might help me get things in order at Tumblr.
He said he’d set up his desk the next day.
I don’t know exactly what happened after that because – like he does – John magically put everything in order.
With him in my life again, I got to spend every hour of every day working on the product I love.
John was the catalyst for everything we’ve accomplished. I can’t fathom where I’d be today — though I bet I’d have a CS degree :) — if we hadn’t met when we did. And I can’t begin to imagine what kind of person I would have become without John in my life.
I love you, John. Thank you for looking out for and teaching us all so much.
Don’t go far!