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Colin Devroe

Photographer. Podcaster. Blogger. Reverse Engineer.

Matt Mullenweg on how Verizon handled the Tumblr sale

Matt Mullenweg, stressing the more important aspects of the Tumblr sale:

First, they chose to find a new home for Tumblr instead of shutting it down. Second, they considered not just how much cash they would get on day one, but also — and especially — what would happen to the team afterward, and how the product and the team would be invested in going forward. Third, they thought about the sort of steward of the community the new owner would be. They didn’t have to do any of that, and I commend them for making all three points a priority.

It isn’t surprising that the press, and even me, commented on the rumored sale price of Tumblr. Tumblr skyrocketed from the little platform that could to $1B+ acquisition – only to be sold for far, far less. That is a story.

However, Matt is right, Verizon could have handled the sale of Tumblr and Flickr very differently – focusing on their upside. Or, they could have simply cancelled them altogether. They didn’t do that.

So kudos to Verizon’s BD team for finding good homes for these services they inherited.

Large companies aren’t good homes for beloved services

(I had no idea what to title this post.)

Peter Kafka, reporting for Recode earlier this year, re: Verizon shuttering relatively large services they’ve purchased over the years rather than “bothering” to sell them off (like they did with Flickr):

So if Verizon thinks a property with 100 million users is better off dead than sold, think of all the other random properties it might have slated for the deadpool.

A revealing tidbit in this is K. Guru Gowrappan regretting the sale of Flickr because it took too long and was too expensive of a transaction. I’m glad they did. I want Flickr to continue to exist and I’m sure there are millions more that would too.

Large companies are not good homes for beloved services. We are living in an age of the internet where if a service isn’t at hundreds-of-millions of users and throwing off tons of profit they simply aren’t worth the time for companies the size of Verizon or Google. Both of these companies have enormous cemeteries in their backyards of things they’ve built or bought and shuttered regardless of their usage or loyal users.

Over the last year I’ve moved my use of platforms, services, or products to things I can control long term or are open source. Examples include my photo management process no longer being reliant on the cloud, my content all being on my own domain, and my site being on my own infrastructure. I still have more work to do but I want to future proof as much of the stuff I care about as I can.

Wait, so Verizon is going to own Flickr? The Yahoo! weather and sports APIs? Yahoo! Mail (which I hear some like). Oh boy.