Friday, May 24, 2013

An original thinker...Scott Belsky

Behance is a community of creative folk founded by Scott Belsky. He recently sold the company to Adobe and now leads their community efforts. He is an original thinker whose passionate about his product and his constituency. Recently, I met with him, and saw his presentation at NJTech Meet-up. Fortunately, here's a version of it given at Internet Week in NY.

Here's some snippets to whet your appetite:
  • Meritocracy, innovation and access are not natural to the web
  • The problem is the web is verticalizing. This limits creativity and inspiration. Behance leveraged that 95% of creatives follow other fields and would appreciate broad exposure
  • Creative meritocracy is about credible mass vs critical mass. Not a crowd sourcing fan. Good to hear a dissenting voice
  • I try to hire great people and view my role as to be the wind at their backs

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Random Tumblr thoughts

The Tumblr user metrics were spectacular with:

  • 108mm blogs and 50+ billion posts
  • 76mm posts were created EVERY day
  • In April of 2013, just before the acquisition, the website had more than 13B page views. 

The company was launched in 2006, so the exit in 2013, fits the timeline seen between start-up and exit. Of course, great success, or quick failure accelerates the exit timeframes.

New York has now seen two great exits in the last 12 months, Buddy Media and now Tumblr, Once 'lucky' and twice a trend. Capital flows to where it's 'appreciated'; NY has now generated the type of spectacular returns that investors will accelerate their moves here.

Kudos to Union Square and Spark. They first invested in an untried CEO, in an under performing technology City, and in an arena "social", which was not yet taken seriously. Viva the product guys and the investors who had a great deal of patience. As Chris Douvous said, moves like this are either career threatening, or career making.

Marissa Mayer is changing the culture at Yahoo. In the past year, she has now made 10 acquisitions and is bringing back an entrepreneurial spark to the engineering and product teams for this once proud franchise.
Tumblr absolutely fits her first acquisition screen, she wants Yahoo to be a part of your everyday online routine. You may scratch your head on the price, but this transaction is dead on strategy.

Carol Bartz, was the right CEO for a time at Yahoo, as she cleaned up the run away anarchy, held people accountable, and had a no nonsense approach. Though she was unable to, or was not given the time to articulate and execute on a grow the company plan, she did set a foundation for Marissa Mayer to do her thing.

For the success of the transaction, it's dangerous for the buyer and seller to highlight that Tumblr will be autonomous. Sure they should be protected from all the people who want to 'help', but it is essential that a MERGED singular entity put their best foot forward. Tumblr, now as part of a public company is no longer a science project, there's an obligation to earn revenues and profits. This can best be achieved with some help from the other parts of the company which are collectively earning quarterly revenues in excess of $1B.