David Karp Tumblr’s CEO and Founder Steps Down


Tumblr CEO and founder David Karp (31), who created the blogging site more than 10 years ago at the age of 20, has resigned from the company. The many corporate reshuffles may be why Karp has finally stepped down, although it’s unclear exactly why he’s leaving the company or what he plans to do now.

Indeed, it’s the end of an era for Tumblr fans, including myself because I am one of those people who use Tumblr to enhance my writing skills and use the platform to showcase some of my writing material. David Karp, Tumblr’s founder, is resigning from his CEO position after 11 years at the job leaving the company’s Chief Operations Officer, Jeff D’Onofrio taking the reins.

David founded Tumblr 10 years ago as a space for the world’s creators, and we thank him for his commitment and passion driving the growth of the platform to almost 380 million blogs and over 155 billion posts.

Karp didn’t go into detail about his reasons for leaving, but he told his team that the move came after “months of reflection” about his personal goals. He goes on to say, “The internet is at a crossroads of which this team can play a fundamental role in shaping.” Tumblr hasn’t yet commented beyond Karp’s own statements.

It’s not clear if Verizon’s absorption of Yahoo (and thus Tumblr) influenced the decision.

Since 2013, Tumblr has been a property of Yahoo following a $1.1 billion acquisition that put the social network and Karp, still its CEO, under the guidance of then-Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer. Four years later, Yahoo was sold to Verizon in a deal that was finalized earlier this year with Mayer’s departure back in June, making Karp a Verizon employee as part of a combination of AOL and Yahoo’s assets that came to be called Oath.

This isn’t necessarily going to create problems for Tumblr, but it comes as Tumblr itself has struggled to compete in a social networking landscape dominated by the likes of Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.

While Tumblr is legendary for its animated GIFs and themed blogs, it has been playing a lot of catch-up lately. It only added filters and stickers this year, for example, while live video showed up in 2016.

D’Onofrio may have to shake things up if Tumblr is going to recapture some of the cultural zeitgeist.

In a nutshell, regardless of his underlying motives, Karp’s resignation marks the end of an era for Tumblr, which became a blogging juggernaut and home to the internet’s more idiosyncratic personalities during the mainstream and meticulously corporate rise of Facebook. Over the years and under Karp’s leadership, Tumblr offered a platform to writers, artists, other creators with a unique penchant for fandom and a peculiar and unique aesthetic, giving those voices a place to express themselves, find a following — and occasionally go viral in ways reminiscent of the earliest days of web blogging.

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Tapiwa Matthew Mutisi

About the Author Tapiwa Matthew Mutisi

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