Yahoo: “Don’t ‘screw up’ Tumblr” #1
from USA Today 05/22/13 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
The Promise. In announcing the $1.1 billion acquisition of Tumblr on 05/20/13, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer now famously promised not to “screw up” the hot social-media site for Millennials. That was seen as part promise to Tumblr’s innovative staff, which she needs, and part promise to Tumblr’s fans, who already were loading up the site with their fears & protests. It also was a not-so-veiled reference to Yahoo’s pre-Mayer track record of letting acquisitions wither for lack of interest & support (the most relevant example here being Flickr). And it might even have been a warning to her own Yahoo staff. But the vow also set off a flurry of advice from analysts, experts & shareholders on things she should do to keep her promise. Here are seven highlights:
#1: Go Slow. That was the key message from analysts & experts. Like a parent adopting a creative, but unruly child, the search giant should take time and care in integrating operations and support Tumblr’s compelling Blog posts – even if some popular user accounts contain content that is unsavory, amateurish, pornographic or not properly licensed. “Make sure the integration is just in the back-end, and nurture (Tumblr’s) independence,” says an Internet fund manager – a Yahoo shareholder, when asked what he would tell Mayer. “Make sure Tumblr can continue to grow the way they have, and be the parent that can provide operational resources that companies like Tumblr need. I think Yahoo has to be really careful. It’ll be a mistake to try to subsume it into Yahoo’s bureaucracy.” [Editors comment: Boo on Bureaucracy]
#2: Give Tumblr real autonomy. David Karp, the 26-year-old founder of Tumblr, and his young team should be given the autonomy to run the company from his New York office without interference from the West Coast offensive offense, most Fund Manager said. Yahoo should counsel Tumblr on selling & delivering ads for buyers, but avoid the temptation to dictate content. “Tumblr has done a terrific job on their own in managing content” he says. David, who’ll remain CEO, also apparently has been led to expect autonomy. In a message to his team, he wrote that Tumblr “is not turning purple,” a reference to Yahoo’s logo. “Our headquarters isn’t moving. Our team isn’t changing. Our road map isn’t changing, Tumblr just gets better, faster & smarter. The work ahead of us remains the same.”
#3: Identify Tumblr’s core Audience — and use it.
(Continued in Premium Content)