What Tumblr Founder David Karp Is Really Like

Tumblr CEO David Karp

David Karp, 26, just sold his company Tumblr to Yahoo for $1.1 billion in an all-cash deal.

What’s the founder really like? 

According to close friend and Tumblr’s first employee, Marco Arment, Karp is a lot like Steve Jobs was.

Karp is his product. He’s design-focused, and he’s stubborn when it comes to his vision for the company.

“David has a lot of Steve Jobs-like qualities, and like many people who worked for Steve, I look back on Tumblr’s crunch times with mixed feelings: I don’t want to return to that stress level, but David pushed me to do amazing work that I didn’t think was possible,” Arment writes. Arment is also the founder of Instapaper, a read-it-later app that Betaworks recently acquired.

“I’ve only seen one other ‘product person’ as good as David, and that was Steve Jobs. (Believe me, there are many parallels),” he continues. “David has an impeccable sense of what’s best for Tumblr, and he doesn’t need anyone else telling him what’s best for the product. Many people, myself included, have tried to convince him to go different directions, and we’ve been proven wrong every time.”

Davidslog.comA text David Karp received from his girlfriend, Rachel, hints at confidence and stubbornness.Like Steve Jobs, Karp can be stubborn. It’s something he’s cognisant – but not proud – of.

“If there are moments I’ve been stubborn in my life, it was because I was really, really believing in something that I wanted to see become a reality,” Karp told Forbes in January. “I’ve been rewarded a few times for being stubborn. It’s not something I necessarily appreciate about myself.”

Friends and colleagues also describe Karp as “polite.” And anyone who reads Karp’s tumblr, Davidslog.com, can see a deeply caring person with a keen sense of humour.

Here’s just one of many humorous entries, below.

tumblr karpA post on David Karp’s Tumblr shows a keen sense of humour.

How do his parents describe him? Karp’s father went on CNBC yesterday to discuss his son. He referred to David as “thoughtful and down-to-earth.”

“It’s never about the money with David,” Karp’s father said. “It’s always been about doing what he loves doing. And creativity and passion.”

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