I was recently at a tech conference and there were a number of interesting speakers.
One of my favorite sessions was hearing Marissa Mayer, CEO at Yahoo talk about her challenges and progress at Yahoo. It was fascinating and I left with even more respect for her than I had previously.
At one point the host asked Marissa about the Tumblr acquisition. In her response, Marissa made a point to highlight the positive nature of Tumblr the product and Tumblr the company.
The product is positive and not by accident. It is a result of a lot of hard work and a commitment to keeping it that way. Your follower count isn’t public, Tumblr ask questions start out as private, the private messaging system is called Fan Mail, commenting is turned off by default along with a whole host of details that you don’t see. (eg their terms of service is written in plain speak along with humor). They treat their users with respect.
And the product is positive because that is how the company behaves internally and externally. With respect and positivity.
Tumblr shows us that you can build a place that is both anonymous and positive. That combination is much harder than it looks.
I’m so happy that Marissa pointed that out. It is a testimony to David and the team that work there every day.
The other day someone asked me if I regret supporting the sale of Tumblr to Yahoo last year. Time will tell if that was a smart decision or not, but I can tell you with certainty I miss being part of that special company.
Not sure we will see another one like it.