Everyone, I’m elated to tell you that Tumblr will be joining Yahoo.
Before touching on how awesome this is, let me try to allay any concerns: We’re not turning purple. Our headquarters isn’t moving. Our team isn’t changing. Our roadmap isn’t changing. And our mission – to empower creators to…
Oh, David. Poor, idealistic David. I know you all are full of promise and hope for a new era. Yeah, you’re not changing anything.
This won’t happen in a year. But maybe two. Definitely within three or four. You have allied yourself with an economic entity that requires results by the quarter. Change will happen.
People will move on. The team will break up as people move to other projects at the company that excite them. People will move to smaller companies, new start ups, to recapture the camaraderie that only happens when your company is below a certain size. People will move to big companies or new industries that hold more promise for the future.
Yahoo! HQ will start to needing to see increase profits, because a company that doesn’t grow is dead in the eyes of shareholders. If you’re very lucky, Yahoo! will reach something amicable and let you be independent again.But Yahoo! has been a walking corpse for a long time.
If you’re less lucky, Yahoo! will shut down the expensive SF office, and relocate the team to the Yahoo! headquarters or out on the street.
More likely, they will pressure managers and staff who are not increasing profits of the business unit. They will tell you more ads are the way, and your project managers will agree because it gets results. Or they will be replaced with project managers who get results.
If you manage to keep some of your talented people, the people whose passion to work there is greater than getting a “founder” or executive title at a start up, they will keep the spirit of Tumblr you hold dear alive. They will fight for you, they will defend you, they will keep the spirit alive. Until, one day, the fight is just too hard. Too much. Was it every really important? they will ask themselves as they lie awake, wishing they had a job they loved again.
Maybe you’ll get really lucky and Facebook will collapse, and Yahoo! will be able to capture the audience fleeing forced ads and false friends into the arms of Tumblr. And you’ll be the darling of the company for as long as that lasts.
Your alliance might not be a bad thing in the end. But the idea that going from a small private company to an internet giant that has been slowly crumbling for over a decade will not change what makes Tumblr unique and special is a lie. Change will happen. Big change is coming. Not today, not tomorrow, but soon.
It’s a lie you are telling us, it’s a lie your coworkers and new bosses are telling everyone, and perhaps worst of all, David, it’s a lie you are telling yourself.