September 2011
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Month September 2011

tumblr’s blow out round

     tumblr is on a tear.  The growth numbers are insane and they have just announced a big, big funding round.  Back in May of this year TechCrunch ran a post outlining that tumblr was doing the same number of pageviews a day as they did in a month back in 2009: 250m pageviews a day.  If you look at the same metric today, the Quancast pageview (impression) count is now close to 400m. The NYT reports that the service is now doing “13 billion page views per month from 2 billion page views per month. Since the site was first introduced, 30 million blogs have been created using the tool. Those 30 million blogs now generate more than 40 million posts each day.”

This is stunning growth and is a testament to great work by David and the team over the past five years.  Its also an indicator about how fast new social platforms can get to scale.  We are living in an age of mutlple social platforms.   The next five years is going to be fascinating as the established platforms (ie: Facebook, Twitter), relate to the new platforms (ie: tumblr).

I remember meeting David before we started betaworks; I was still running Fotolog and David was working with the  Next New Networks team.  It was April of 2007, and my old friends Emil and Fred had recruited David to work as a contractor to help them build out the Next New product.  tumblr was a side project that David had created because he believed web publishing could be different. He believed publishing could be a simple and beautiful experience; holistic design of the publishing experience, from the post dashboard to the layout of every pixel, could be something simple and bold. I remember talking with David about the early forms of blogging and how tumblogging was emerging as a short variant.  We talked about dashboards and how they should be integrated into the published experience (vs. a toolset that sits outside), and we talked about re-blogging and different tools and forms to amplify and syndicate posts.  We also talked about reposting from other networks and how he wanted tumblr to retain the layout of posts vs. linking out.

The thing I remember the most from the conversation was David himself.  He is one of the best and most dedicated product entrepreneurs I have ever met – he thinks carefully and deeply about every interaction that he and his team creates, and always has.  Every pixel has been considered with care.  It’s wonderful to see and work with someone who cares so much about the actual product experience. David is different and special. The rest of the story is history.  David left Next New Networks and started focusing on tumblr full time. I started betaworks and made tumblr one of our first investments. Its been a pleasure to work with David over the years and to be part of what is becoming a great “banner” New York company in the social web.  Congratulations to David, John and the team.  Here is a video of David speaking at last year’s betaday event.

Note that as backdrop this talk was the day after tumblr had a large outage, so I think David had been pretty much up all night.  It’s a wonderful example of his dedication and commitment as a person and a builder.


Discussion with @KevinRose on Foundation:


News for


Over the past year, has been incubated within bitly. Today, we’re pleased to announce that has officially spun out of bitly into an independent company under betaworks. As I wrote earlier this year, with we are seeking to rethink and reinvent the way that people discover news; I’m very excited that is now set up and running as a standalone company with the resources it needs to fully pursue that vision.

Michael Young, who has been with since its inception at the New York Times R&D lab, will continue to lead the development efforts as Chief Technology Officer. He’ll be joined by Rob Haining (of Epicurious, GQ, and Idea Flight app fame) who is leading iOS development, and Justin Van Slembrouck (from Adobe, where he designed the Times Reader application) overseeing User Experience and Design. Jake Levine, formerly Entrepreneur in Residence at betaworks, is joining as General Manager. We’re looking for a few more developers to round out the team, so if you’re passionate about news and the social web and are eager to explore the boundaries of emergent devices, drop us a line.

Finally, in anticipation of a series of releases over the next few months, we’re excited to share that the iPad app is now free. You can read more about this change, along with our plans for the next generation of the product, over at the blog.