the levels of secrecy that have built up around national security requests undermine the basic freedoms that are at the heart of a democratic society
"There are a thousand no’s for every yes."
We’re Talkin’ About Profits!?
Amidst the news of the Yahoo! acquisition of Tumblr, I saw a lot of praise for the VCs who “knew” that Tumblr would grow like it has, of Marissa Mayer’s Yahoo! renaissance, of David Karp’s Steve Jobs-like product genius.
While the adoration may be well-deserved, one tiny word missing from the celebratory media coverage: profit.
I don’t know why, but the infamous "practice" interview with superstar basketball player Allen Iverson came to mind. For those not familiar, Iverson was appalled that the media would call him out for missing practice given his talent.
How dare we talk about profits when Tumblr, the product, is so brilliant?
I confess: I’m not a fan of ad-driven business models. Then again, I’m a bootstrapper. A micropreneur. Create value and charge for it.
Clearly advertising can work. There are plenty of businesses outside of Google AdWords that are profitable from ads—but how many are profitable enough to justify a $1.1B price tag? Maybe 1? YouTube?
As Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter fumble around trying to make ads work, I’m dubious about Tumblr, a home for makers and artists and brilliant builders like David Karp himself.
Tumblr might become extremely profitable. I hope they do! But I’ve got a sinking feeling that getting there will require a product that would make its own founder recoil.
Related reading: Profits = Freedom