It’s not the money

I was thinking about anniversaries this weekend as we reached our 12th anniversary since starting our firm. 

And it got me thinking about people I know and why they do what they do for a long stretch of time. 

Take my friend David Karp. 

He started Tumblr in 2006. He raised a seed round the following year. I joined the board and watched him work his work for the next 6 years until I stepped off the board and Yahoo acquired the company in May of 2013

That deal was over four years ago. And yet, throughout all the turmoil at Yahoo and then the sale to Verizon, I never heard him speak badly about Yahoo, Verizon or AOL. The last time I was in NYC, we caught up for coffee and we talked about personal stuff going on in our lives and about Tumblr the product. And cool Tumblr stuff he was excited about. 

Tumblr was acquired for over $1.1B and David was justifiably the largest shareholder. He didn’t need to work the day after the acquisition. Nor, did he have to the next week or next year. Never mind 4 years later at a place like Yahoo. 

But he did. And he is going about it with such grace and a heartfelt love affair about the product and the Tumblr community. 

I have often heard my friend Biz say, “money doesn’t change you. if you are generous, you will be more generous with money. if you are selfish, you will be more self-centered”. Or something along those lines. 

It calls to mind that there are many entrepreneurs and VCs in this world. Some are doing it to get rich as they strive to keep score. But for others, it’s not about the money. 

It never was.