marissamayr:

I’m delighted to announce that we’ve reached an agreement to acquire Tumblr! 
We promise not to screw it up.  Tumblr is incredibly special and has a great thing going.  We will operate Tumblr independently.  David Karp will remain CEO.  The product roadmap, their team, their wit and irreverence will all remain the same as will their mission to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve.  Yahoo! will help Tumblr get even better, faster.
Tumblr has built an amazing place to follow the world’s creators. From art to architecture, fashion to food, Tumblr hosts 105 million different blogs.  With more than 300 million monthly unique visitors and 120,000 signups every day, Tumblr is one of thefastest-growing media networks in the world.  Tumblr sees 900 posts per second (!) and 24 billion minutes spent onsite each month.  On mobile, more than half of Tumblr’s users are using the mobile app, and those users do an average of 7 sessions per day.  Tumblr’s tremendous popularity and engagement among creators, curators and audiences of all ages brings a significant new community of users to the Yahoo! network.  The combination of Tumblr+Yahoo! could grow Yahoo!’s audience by 50% to more than a billion monthly visitors, and could grow traffic by approximately 20%.
In terms of working together, Tumblr can deploy Yahoo!’s personalization technology and search infrastructure to help its users discover creators, bloggers, and content they’ll love.  In turn, Tumblr brings 50 billion blog posts (and 75 million more arriving each day) to Yahoo!’s media network and search experiences.  The two companies will also work together to create advertising opportunities that are seamless and enhance user experience.
As I’ve said before, companies are all about people.  Getting to know the Tumblr team has been really amazing.  I’ve long held the view that in all things art and design, you can feel the spirit and demeanor of those who create them.  That’s why it was no surprise to me that David Karp is one of the nicest, most empathetic people I’ve ever met.  He’s also one of the most perceptive, capable entrepreneurs I’ve worked with.  His respect for Tumblr’s community of creators is awesome, and I’m absolutely delighted to have him and his entire team join Yahoo!.   
Both Tumblr and Yahoo! share a vision to make the Internet the ultimate creative canvas by focusing on users, design — and building experiences that delight and inspire the world every day.
http://yahoo.tumblr.com/

It’s official, Yahoo! buys Tumblr - big win for NYC tech!

marissamayr:

I’m delighted to announce that we’ve reached an agreement to acquire Tumblr! 

We promise not to screw it up.  Tumblr is incredibly special and has a great thing going.  We will operate Tumblr independently.  David Karp will remain CEO.  The product roadmap, their team, their wit and irreverence will all remain the same as will their mission to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve.  Yahoo! will help Tumblr get even better, faster.

Tumblr has built an amazing place to follow the world’s creators. From art to architecture, fashion to food, Tumblr hosts 105 million different blogs.  With more than 300 million monthly unique visitors and 120,000 signups every day, Tumblr is one of thefastest-growing media networks in the world.  Tumblr sees 900 posts per second (!) and 24 billion minutes spent onsite each month.  On mobile, more than half of Tumblr’s users are using the mobile app, and those users do an average of 7 sessions per day.  Tumblr’s tremendous popularity and engagement among creators, curators and audiences of all ages brings a significant new community of users to the Yahoo! network.  The combination of Tumblr+Yahoo! could grow Yahoo!’s audience by 50% to more than a billion monthly visitors, and could grow traffic by approximately 20%.

In terms of working together, Tumblr can deploy Yahoo!’s personalization technology and search infrastructure to help its users discover creators, bloggers, and content they’ll love.  In turn, Tumblr brings 50 billion blog posts (and 75 million more arriving each day) to Yahoo!’s media network and search experiences.  The two companies will also work together to create advertising opportunities that are seamless and enhance user experience.

As I’ve said before, companies are all about people.  Getting to know the Tumblr team has been really amazing.  I’ve long held the view that in all things art and design, you can feel the spirit and demeanor of those who create them.  That’s why it was no surprise to me that David Karp is one of the nicest, most empathetic people I’ve ever met.  He’s also one of the most perceptive, capable entrepreneurs I’ve worked with.  His respect for Tumblr’s community of creators is awesome, and I’m absolutely delighted to have him and his entire team join Yahoo!.   

Both Tumblr and Yahoo! share a vision to make the Internet the ultimate creative canvas by focusing on users, design — and building experiences that delight and inspire the world every day.

http://yahoo.tumblr.com/

It’s official, Yahoo! buys Tumblr - big win for NYC tech!

"I fight for the users"

image

In the 1982 movie ‘Tron’, the character whom the movie’s named for is initially presented to viewers simply as “that’s Tron, he fights for the users”. He’s a brave hero that defends users in the deadly futuristic gladiator games portrayed in the movie. Fast forward to the new 2010 sequel, and we’re presented with a Tron that has lost his way and now serves a different, more sinister master. He now fights users instead of for them, and it’s unclear to us as viewers  what - if anything - he now stands for. Sounds oddly familiar, doesn’t it?

It’s common for good product focused founders to start out with a completely user centric approach when first building their companies. They talk to a bunch of users to understand their needs deeply, user test every iteration to make sure they’re going in the right direction and usually become users themselves in the process if they weren’t already, which leads to an even greater connection with the core user base. When this happens, products tend to flourish and grow because users feel cared for and their needs are being met. 

But as products grow and experience the early signs of success, a founder or product manager’s focus can drift from the user to other things like monetization or growth. There can be other more demanding masters to serve, such as investors and advertisers, that promise greater rewards than users ever did. Plus there’s the danger of feeling that the users have been served enough, it’s time for the product to ‘grow up’. That’s when products start to fail and things begin to go wrong. Monetization methods that don’t make sense are slapped on perfectly good products and users are forced to spam their friends to to make the product ‘go viral’. In the end, the users that made the service great in the first place feel that the product doesn’t serve their needs any more and move on. Pretty soon, everyone’s gone and there’s no one to monetize and no one to drive virality.

In this scene towards the end of the Tron sequel we see the users (Jeff Bridges et al) flying for their lives while being chased through the air by Tron. As they try to escape, Jeff catches a glance of Tron through the glass and asks himself, horrified, “Tron, what have you become?”. The users feel their protector has forsaken them. The camera switches to Tron and as he starts his final attack against the users he begins to think back to what he believed in all those years ago, he begins to question the new masters he serves. And then, as they beckon “Take the shot! Finish the game!”, he suddenly remembers. He understands he has lost his way. He does a dramatic loop in the sky and as we realize that he’s changed sides and he’s going to sacrifice himself to save the users, the camera centers on his face one last time and he calmly but firmly pronounces “I fight for the users” before colliding directly into the enemy craft.

I’m sure we can all give a few examples of products we used to love which now have lost their way by not focusing on users but on some other “more important” thing instead. With so many external interests at play as a startup grows up, it’s important that it’s always someone’s role in the company to fight for the users. To make sure that while plans are set in motion for monetization, growth, etc, the user is not forsaken. Because without users, there’s really not much else.

Airplanes, automatic blinds and the importance of details in design

image

About 3 or 4 years ago I payed a visit to the Gulfstream Aerospace factory in Savannah, Georgia for a tour of how their airplanes were designed, manufactured and assembled. It turned out to be an amazing time to visit because they were in the final stages of assembling the first prototypes of the G650 and we got to take a peek at all the technology that went into building that amazing aircraft. If there are any fellow airplane geeks out there, you’ll know the G650 is one of the most advanced private jets ever created. It has arguably one the finest combinations of speed, range and cabin space you can find.

As we toured the assembly line, the guides tried to explain in easy to understand terms all the technology breakthroughs that the rocket scientists working at Gulfstream had achieved to make it possible to fly half-way around the world in a schoolbus sized cabin and still achieve the highest speeds of any airplane in its class. Along the way, they led us into a mock-up of what the interior of the plane would look like, and one of the guides casually flipped a switch that caused all of the window shades to close at the same time, bringing the cabin to total darkness in a few seconds.

This simple feature was not nearly the most technologically advanced, but it was the one that caused the biggest stir among the crowd. Everyone smiled and looked at each other as the blinds came down and the conversation about the automatic blinds continued well past that moment all the way into refreshments after the tour had ended. The lesson that has always stuck with me after that day is that, even in the most technically advanced products, it’s the small unexpected details that most often delight users and keep them coming back.

For some great examples of little design details that delight, take a look at littlebigdetails.com.

Cool, Square is coming to NYC Taxi Cabs, a pilot program is already underway. Anyone seen one of these out in the wild?

Cool, Square is coming to NYC Taxi Cabs, a pilot program is already underway. Anyone seen one of these out in the wild?

fastcompany:

Today, Paypal announced PayPal Here, a triangle-shaped mobile creditcard-swiping gadget aimed directly at Jack Dorsey’s reader, Square. And, just like Square, they’re aiming to convert customers with the power of their design: They tapped Fuseproject, the firm run by Yves Behar and a darling among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, to create the object.
Read more->

fastcompany:

Today, Paypal announced PayPal Here, a triangle-shaped mobile creditcard-swiping gadget aimed directly at Jack Dorsey’s reader, Square. And, just like Square, they’re aiming to convert customers with the power of their design: They tapped Fuseproject, the firm run by Yves Behar and a darling among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, to create the object.

Read more->

Why Apple should buy Clearwire

In the past year or so, there has been a lot of speculation on what exactly Apple ($AAPL) will do with the huge amount of cash (now over $76 billion) they have on their balance sheet. Here is a theory that says they should buy Clearwire ($CLWR) and build their own massive wireless network. Thoughts?

Latin America 2.0

I went to a great BBQ for Latin Americans in Tech a couple of weeks ago hosted by OnSwipe’s Andres Barreto where I saw some very exciting things. Aside from enjoying one of the best views of the Manhattan skyline out there and eating some great parrilla, I was also happy to meet a great group of entrepreneurs and investors united by a strong sense of pride in their Latin American roots. 

This got me thinking about the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans like us here in the US working in startups and other tech related ventures, without any type of community to help them connect with each other. This fact, coupled with the current boom in LatAm based startups, makes us a very interesting global group. 

The interest in Latin American startups is definitely there, as evidenced by initiatives likes Geeks on a Plane’s recent trip in the region and articles like this one and this one. Some local initiatives like Palermo Valley (Argentina), Startup Chile and Cultura E (Colombia) are already capitalizing on and promoting this wave of LatAm entrepreneurship, but there is definitely still a huge opportunity to develop the startup ecosystem that Latin America needs.  We need to establish ourselves as a strong community in the tech world to create the support system and word of mouth network that will help new companies created in Latin America get access to better capital and global perspectives.

I look forward to meeting hundreds of new and successful LatAm entrepreneurs and hearing about their billion dollar IPOs in the coming years.