Today Tumblr CEO David Karp bid farewell to his friend and mentor John Maloney, who is leaving Tumblr after serving as the company’s president since September 2008. In a blog post this morning, Karp described how he met the UrbanBaby founder in New York City and how he’s had an impact on Tumblr ever since.
From the blog post:
In 2002, we were introduced over the phone by my then boss (and John’s friend). John needed a programmer in a pinch after his startup, UrbanBaby, was featured on the news (Good Morning America, I think) and its database was maxing connections.
16-year-old David did my best to jump in and help, and John was nice enough to keep passing me projects over the next few weeks. A couple months in, he offered me my first full-time programming gig.
John was the same ridiculously delightful person many of you have gotten to know. Growing up with him was a joy, and as a mentor he taught me, among many things, how to convincingly act like an adult.
Along the way, and w/o me asking or knowing, John and his unstoppable generosity saw fit to set some stock aside for me.
When UrbanBaby was acquired by CNET, that stock seeded my startup, Davidville. Two years later, Davidville launched Tumblr.
A little more than a year after that, Tumblr was going full-bore. We were pushing updates every day. We raised a bunch of money. And we had just passed a million users.
I was also completely neglecting: our bills, our investors, our office, hiring, our lawyers, and the thousands of emails that were sitting in my inbox.
And that’s when I got a note that John had wrapped up at CNET and was doing some consulting for NY startups.
We grabbed lunch later that week, caught up about life, and then I asked if he might help me get things in order at Tumblr.
He said he’d set up his desk the next day.
I don’t know exactly what happened after that because – like he does – John magically put everything in order.
With him in my life again, I got to spend every hour of every day working on the product I love.
John was the catalyst for everything we’ve accomplished. I can’t fathom where I’d be today — though I bet I’d have a CS degree 🙂 — if we hadn’t met when we did. And I can’t begin to imagine what kind of person I would have become without John in my life.
I love you, John. Thank you for looking out for and teaching us all so much.
Don’t go far!
Maloney had publicly announced his departure from the company in a blog post dated Friday, April 27:
I told the team and board this week that it’s time for me to transition away from running day-to-day operations. It’s the right time for me and a good time for Tumblr. We’re in great hands with David and the excellent leadership team we’ve built. The company is filled with amazing people.
He said that he is moving on to “spend more time with my family, more time supporting startups/founders, paying some things forward, and learn a bunch of new things.” He did not disclose what the “other things” might entail.
“That said,” Maloney added, “I’m not going very far. The transition from running ops is effective immediately, but I’m sticking close w/ David, the team and company. There’s more work to do and I want to help see it thru.”