When We First Met David

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David Karp first visited Sequoia in October 2010, when Tumblr was a 12-person blogging startup. Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures described David as an inspiration and told us we had to meet him.

What followed was one of the fastest decisions in our firm’s history.

David sat down with a few of us at 11 a.m. It was clear he had identified a problem that he knew about firsthand and he knew how to solve it.

His first objective was creating an easy-to-use, aesthetically-beautiful place for people to express themselves, and to build a network around it to allow people to follow and share what they love.

His presentation said: "Total freedom of expression. An identity you’re truly proud of. A network of people sharing and following the things they love."

Beyond that, though, it was his passion and sincerity that hooked us.

staff:

Hey everyone! I have an exciting and slightly overwhelming milestone to share with you:
Tumblr has broken into the Top 10 sites in the U.S., and now has a worldwide audience of 170 million people.
This isn’t meant to be a brag – though you should definitely try our new Android and iOS apps if you haven’t yet – but a credit to all of your brilliant creative efforts. You guys have earned an audience bigger than the biggest TV networks, and you continue to make some of the most thought provoking, insightful, inspiring, funny, diverse, and compelling content being created today.
It is truly a privilege to build products for you, and we are humbled every day by all the amazing ways you use them.

staff:

Hey everyone! I have an exciting and slightly overwhelming milestone to share with you:

Tumblr has broken into the Top 10 sites in the U.S., and now has a worldwide audience of 170 million people.

This isn’t meant to be a brag – though you should definitely try our new Android and iOS apps if you haven’t yet – but a credit to all of your brilliant creative efforts. You guys have earned an audience bigger than the biggest TV networks, and you continue to make some of the most thought provoking, insightful, inspiring, funny, diverse, and compelling content being created today.

It is truly a privilege to build products for you, and we are humbled every day by all the amazing ways you use them.

$85M in fresh funding for Tumblr. Interview six months ago on TechCrunch TV Founder Stories- still fresh.

“I don’t like it when I meet people and they don’t have a Tumblr,” she added. “That’s the best business card.”

— New York Times article on Tumblr, as a community for style

Getting ready for 2011

staff:

This has been an incredible year for Tumblr. What started as a fun experiment has grown into one of the largest networks on the web, serving billions of views across more than 11 million blogs.

It’s an unparalleled privilege to spend every single day building a product used by so many extraordinarily talented people. We are constantly in awe of your creations and projects, your communities and thoughtfulness. Every person on our team has been moved by this community in one way or another.

Nonetheless, all of this new attention has led to some serious growing pains over the last few months.

There’s never 100% optimism when we feel like we’ve let you down. We want you to know that we’re still right in the thick of the most comprehensive re-architecting our infrastructure has ever been through, and while you might still hit some bugs or errors this month, our incredibly capable team is working 24/7 to keep your blogs fast and stable. We have a solid roadmap to get Tumblr well ahead of capacity, and we’re working fast to get there.

Two notable things we’re right in the middle of:

We’ve dramatically expanded our engineering team, with five brilliant engineers coming on board just this month and more starting shortly. We just moved into a new office to make room for everyone. If scaling one of the fastest growing platforms in the world is up your alley, we’d love to talk!

After the holidays, we’ll be opening our second datacenter to nearly triple capacity and prep for much faster growth next year. Today, we already light up more than a rack of new servers every week.

If you do hit issues, you can check for status updates on http://www.tumblr.com/help or our Twitter feed. Please never hesitate to contact support if you see anything acting weird.

Frustratingly, while we pride ourselves on launching new tools and features faster than anyone, we’ve had to slow down our product roadmap over the last few weeks to let our engineers turn their full attention to scaling. The very good news is that our product team hasn’t slowed down a bit, and is prepping some huge developments to show off soon. 

One last thing: We strive to keep our company and infrastructure super-efficient, but growing this quickly isn’t particularly cheap. Tumblr is largely made possibly today by our extremely supportive investors, Spark Capital and Union Square Ventures, as well as Sequoia Capital, who we’re thrilled to have joining us this month. So please hug these guys if you happen to run into them. :)

Thank you for your patience, support, and for inspiring us every single day with your creativity.

Love,
Your fans at Tumblr