David Karp is leaving Tumblr. It feels strange, finally seeing the various valley blogs breathlessly posting the news out to the internet – describing how he founded the blogging platform back in 2007, and changed the web.
I remember. I was there. I wrote about it.
I remember listening to an episode of a podcast while travelling with work back in 2007, and signing up to try the service out. Perhaps the most amazing thing about Tumblr is the core platform hasn’t really changed since those early months.
I’m not going to get into a detailed history of Tumblr here – I am going to look back at one of the last vestiges of the beginning of the social internet though. Tumblr grew up alongside LiveJournal, Blogger, Vox, and MySpace as a place for people to post their thoughts, ideas, dreams, hopes, and inspirations for the world to share. A place that anybody could get started in minutes. I guess you need to remember that the only sensible alternative in the early days was a self-hosted installation of WordPress – which entailed buying webspace, a domain name, installing Apache, MySQL, PHP, and tinkering with endless configuration files (the infamous “LAMP” stack). It’s not hard to see why Tumblr took off.
Regardless of what happens to Tumblr now, I’m always going to look at it through rose tinted glasses. Some might argue that David Karp’s departure is the first tolling of it’s final bell. They might argue that the money men from Verizon (wearing their Oath Inc. shirts) will twist, pervert, and water down the platform in order to asset-strip it. Others might argue that the platform will now be re-launched. It’s about time something was done – as I said, it hasn’t really changed since it opened it’s doors ten years ago.
I wonder what David Karp will do next? I’m betting it will have nothing to do with blogging at all. If he does though, I wonder if I should show him the prototype blogging platform I knocked together in a couple of weeks of evenings a few years back – the Tumblr killer that might have been ?