Yahoo + Tumblr

I met David Karp, the founder/ceo of Tumblr when he was 19. I was immediately taken with his passion and drive to create wonderful things.

Those days, David was building within his consulting company called Davidville. My friend Fred Seibert made the intro and I’m forever grateful for that.

Not too long after that David launched Tumblr to the world and I became one of it’s earliest users. I fell in love with the product. It was something I wanted to use every day and I have done just that.

During the summer of 2007, David and I spent a bunch of time together and getting to know one another. And we spent time discussing what it would be like to start a company fully focused on one thing — Tumblr.

By the end of the summer we had an agreement and we put together a first round of capital to get things going. Here is David’s post back in 2007 announcing a slew of new product improvements and that first round towards the end.

Over these years, being an investor and board member in Tumblr has taught me many things. I learned the importance of a founder led company. I learned that it’s best working with people you admire and care for. And I learned there is more than one way to build a company.

Today is a huge day in the history of Tumblr. Tumblr is joining Yahoo and the future together is incredibly exciting. A deep and heartfelt congratulations to David and the entire Tumblr team.

I am grateful David took a chance on me & we had the opportunity to work together closely for the past 6 years. Also the entire Tumblr team is simply extraordinary, from the leadership team to everyone that works each day to make Tumblr such a special place. It has been a heck of a ride and it’s bittersweet to think about getting off this ride together.

I am also thankful to this wonderful and positive community here on Tumblr. The friendships I’ve made with people all over the planet changed my life.

I’ll end this post by reblogging a line from my friend David Karp.

Fuck yeah.

One size doesn’t fit all

One thing you learn as a parent is how different one child is from another and as result what works for one kid doesn’t necessarily work for another. An example in our house: we have 1 kid in private school and 2 kids in public school.

I think there is a tendency in startup land to believe that what works in one place should work in another.

We see it all the time.

Former Google employees bring their “this is how we did it at Google” to a startup. Sometimes that works great, other times it can be jarring. (I don’t mean to pick on Google alum. I’m quite fond of recruiting great Google people. Many are crazy talented. This is just an example).

Venture capitalists and board members do this as well. They see something work in one portfolio company and they imagine it has to work at the next one. It could be monetization ideas, management structures, leadership styles, interaction styles between board members and CEOs or other such things.

There are other examples but hopefully you get the idea.

The power of startups is their own cultures, ideas and special gifts. Yes, you learn from past experiences but you make your own mistakes as well. You take risks perhaps you wouldn’t have taken in other environments. You hire different sort of teams. Designing software in a founder driven company is completely unique company to company.

You can’t cherry pick good things and try to duct tape them together. Each family is different and so is each startup.

Jelly

More than six years ago I joined Twitter as a user of the service.

I was immediately taken by it’s simplicity, power and how it connected us all. And it had this rare combination of being fun and important at the same time.

I was so taken with the product that I asked my friends for an introduction to the founders. The first Twitter cofounder I met was Biz. We hit it off and shortly after that I met Ev and Jack. Those founders just blew me away. Our firm led the second round and I served on their board for the next 3 years.

The founders are all still involved in Twitter in a variety of capacities. But they are also working on new things as well. Jack started Square. Ev started Medium.

And Biz started Jelly.

When Biz told me about Jelly I was inspired. The vision is powerful and important. The company & product is in so many ways a reflection of the values that Biz holds dear. I love that.

The team at Jelly is equally awesome. Ben is driving engineering along with Austin. And my friend Kevin leads the business side.

So today I’m delighted to announce that we led Jelly’s first round of capital and I’ve joined heir board of directors. Biz has the full write up about our investment along with an amazing group of individual investors — Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Al Gore, Reid Hoffman, Steven Johnson, Jason Goldman, Bono, Greg Yaintanes and Roya Mahboob.

I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with such a talented team again. And I can’t wait for you all to see what they are building