Just watched this interview: (Founder Stories) Why David Karp Started Tumblr: Blogs Don’t Work For Most People | TechCrunch
Below is what I extracted and interpreted into a business model.
Problem. David Karp saw that there were 170 million blogs, but only 12 million active blogs (non-writer types want to blog but its hard for them).
- WordPress and the other blogging tools were publishing tools that catered more to people who want to take time to write and publish.
- Facebook. Can’t be very creative in sharing and timeline.
- Twitter. A different kind of tool.
- YouTube. One type of sharing:video
Customer segments. (now) practically everyone it seems.
- Initially avant-garde bloggers.
- Then people who wanted to blog/share;
- Then business bloggers?
Value proposition. Express yourself and represent your creative identity.
Features: Simple and easy to post (and use) because of the design. Cool and avant-garde themes.
(challenge: through features and design, convince people to blog who would be too frustrated with other platforms, paraphrase from David Cole, designer at Quora)
Marketing: Win over early adopters who are blogging using avant-garde themes. They love it. Their readers will adopt because readers want to “blog” too.
Revenue model. Strategy: revenue through community-enhancing features. Freemium business model.
- Stream 1: Theme marketplace. Customers create and make money; Tumblr takes a cut. Designers make money. (two-side market).
- Stream 2: Bloggers (business bloggers?) who need to promote. Promotion fee for being listed in Tumblr’s directory.
- Future stream: Pay to promote posts.
This business model appears strong in multiple ways. There was a real problem; there weren’t good solutions. It looks like they will make money from multiple customer segments.
The other thing that really strikes me is the importance of design. Would this product have been successful if they just implemented the features? It takes me the same number of clicks to publish a post with an image on blogger.com, but the experience on Tumblr “feels” simpler and easier. (Also, blogger.com might not have been so easy when Tumblr launched). I find this fascinating: that a value proposition cannot always be captured by a list of features. What do others think about this?