Karp launched Tumblr in 2007 at the age of 20, and the platform soon became a hit with younger adults and creatives as a place to share a vast range of often quirky material. At its peak in early 2014, users were adding around 115 million posts a day, but as Facebook and predominantly mobile services like Instagram and Snapchat gained in popularity, the daily post count has fallen steadily and stands at around 35 million for 2017.
Karp said he looks back with pride “at a generation of artists, writers, creators, curators, and crusaders that have redefined our culture and who we have helped to empower.”
Addressing his former colleagues directly, he added: “The internet is at a crossroads of which this team can play a fundamental role in shaping. You are in the driver’s seat, and I am so excited to see where you go.”
His decision to quit came “after months of reflection on my personal ambitions,” Karp said. He didn’t give a specific reason for why he’s leaving Tumblr, and declined to say what he plans to do next. It’s worth noting, however, that his departure comes in the same year that Verizon acquired Yahoo, which itself bought Tumblr in 2013 for $1.1 billion — Karp’s deal with Yahoo meant that he had to stick around until 2017 to receive his $110 million payout in full.
Verizon’s newly formed media group, Oath, said on November 27 that it thanked Karp “for his commitment and passion driving the growth of the platform to almost 380 million blogs and over 155 billion posts.”
Karp will step out of the door before the end of this year, and will be replaced by Jeff D’Onofrio, Tumblr’s president and chief operating officer. Considering Tumblr’s competition and the service’s steady decline, D’Onofrio clearly has his work cut out if he’s going to succeed in bringing back some of the old magic.
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