Nick Bilton, the author of I live in the Future and Here’s how it Works, is one of the most sought-after tech writers out there. Following the release of his book, The New York Times‘ lead tech writer was widely reported to have turned down a deal with CBS and CNET, rumored to have been worth well over a million dollars, opting to remain on staff at The Times for considerably less.
Tumblr David Karp was close to being removed
While CBS denies this, that’s not the story. In Bilton’s new book about Twitter, a single sentence penned in passing suggests that Tumblr founder, David Karp, was close to being removed prior to the sale of the company to Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO).
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The sentence? “At Tumblr, the venture capitalists grew so impatient with its founder, David Karp, as he struggled to make the company profitable, they were discussing his removal before the site’s sale to Yahoo.”
However, board member Bijan Sabet denied the claim today, fittingly on Twitter, where he tweeted:
I’ve read a few times lately that VCs were thinking about finding a new CEO at Tumblr. Untrue. We had been looking for a #2 but never CEO.
Before shaming Bilton for irresponsible journalism, it’s important to note that he specifically says that the venture capitalists, NOT the board, were considering the move. It just happens that a board member was the first to deny the reporting.
Obviously, Karp was not removed, and the company was sold to Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) as part of Marissa Mayer’s shopping spree for $1.1 billion earlier this year. It’s difficult to believe that any of Tumblr’s venture capitalists had a problem with that number. One should also take a look at the verb “discussing,” which is a long way away from “removal.”
Karp was known to be more interested in the creative side
Karp was known to be more interested in the creative side of Tumblr than the business aspects of his venture. Perhaps when Tumblr president John Maloney left the company in April, the board/VC’s were simply looking for a new nanny for Karp.
Prior to Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO)’s lifeline, the company had blown though the $125m it had raised in funding and was hovering under $20 million in remaining capital. Quite the spending rate for a company that only had 2012 revenues around $10 million, something that Yahoo later disclosed in an earnings announcement as not “meaningful.”