I thought David Karp did a great job on the Colbert Report last night. He posted messages before the show saying how nervous he was, but in the interview he did not come across as nervous at all. In fact, I was surprised at how in a few instances he turned Colbert’s questions back on him. Karp was combative but playful, which is perfect for a Colbert interview.
I like how Karp avoided using the word “cool” because “cool” is such a fleeting concept. He instead opted for words like “authentic” and “useful” and made it very clear that with Tumblr he created a tool that he wanted to use, and is now committed to continuing to develop it as a tool that we will want to use.
So David Karp built this really awesome sports car. He built it from scratch and it looks amazing and when he drives it around town all the teenagers go crazy. But he spent all his money building the car, and barely has enough money to keep gas in it or to do maintenance and upgrades to the car. So occasionally he gives rides to advertisers who just want to be seen riding around in the Tumblr mobile.
Yahoo is going through a mid-life crisis. Yahoo decides to buy a sports car so they can look cool with the younger generation. They decide to buy Karp’s sports car, but they realize if they try to drive it they’ll just crash it.
So they come to an agreement. They own the car, but they don’t get to drive the car. David Karp will continue driving it, and can drive it wherever he wants, as long as Yahoo can sit in the passenger seat and tell the teenagers that Yahoo owns the car.
The good news for Karp is he’ll never need gas money again. The good news for Yahoo is it basically just called “shotgun!” to the tune of $1.1 Billion.
And as long Yahoo never reaches over and tries to grab the steering wheel, the good news for us is Tumblr will continue to take us where we want to go.