Today, Marissa Mayer announced that Yahoo! has acquired Tumblr.
We promise not to screw it up. Tumblr is incredibly special and has a great thing going. We will operate Tumblr independently. David Karp will remain CEO. The product roadmap, their team, their wit and irreverence will all remain the same as will their mission to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve. Yahoo! will help Tumblr get even better, faster.
A few things about this announcement post irk me.
- Yahoo’s tumblr doesn’t have a favicon. They didn’t even take the time to upload a logo to their Tumblr;
- The GIF they posted at the top of the post is narrower than the posts container and aligned left. They could have — at least — centered it;
- The entire post is about numbers: blogs, unique visitors, signups, posts per second, minutes spent onsite.
Mayer had an opportunity to kick off this partnership with a gorgeous, well done tumblr that shows attention to detail. Instead, she threw together a half-assed account using a poorly hacked public theme and sloppily formatted post. She could have highlighted some of the great content that Tumblr has helped people to share. She could have showcased the best of Tumblr’s potential.
Instead, she focused on the raw numbers: equating junk like this with amazing sites like this. And if that’s where her focus and attention lies, then that’s what Yahoo!’s influence over the new, “independent” Tumblr will focus on. They’ll encourage the content recyclers at the expense of the content creators.
I’m pretty sure that they will — in fact — screw it up.
When I was expecting my first child, at 23-years old, I was (comparatively) very young and among the first of my friends to have children. I could tell that people were shocked at the news — “What? Kids?! That’s great! — but they seemed genuinely excited for me. As well they should have been.
When my second child was announced, things were a bit different. We were expecting a girl, and due to arrive a month after my sister’s daughter — to boot. Everyone was excited (Two girls?! Besties!!!), and things were a bit easier for us the second go-around. We already had nearly all of the “stuff” we needed — the crib, the car seat, the high-chair, etc. — and, having already been through labor, delivery and the first few months with our first child, knew what to expect.
But things are different with our third.
I’m excited for him to arrive, but I am not at all apprehensive. I know I’ll love him, and I know he’ll be the most amazing, adorable, aggregating, maddening child I’ve ever seen — since his sister, anyway. My excitement is, however, tempered by the knowledge that — when he arrives — we’ll quickly become an “edge-case” family.
It’s hard to perceive until you experience it yourself, but trust me when I say that the modern world has been built for a “family of four.” We seem to have arrived at a place where it’s expected that every member of a middle-class family will have an iOS device, but shocking that any middle-class family might have more than two children.
Don’t believe me? Here is a short list of routine things that will be much more difficult (and often more expensive) with three children:
- going to a restaurant, because we now don’t fit nicely at most tables and booths;
- riding rides at theme parks, etc., because they’re built for two people per row;
- renting an apartment, because three bedroom units are both uncommon and unaffordable;
- buying a car, because we (basically) have to buy a mini-van, which narrows our options an reduces our leverage in negotiations;
- working, because childcare is genuinely unaffordable for three children — even in a two-income family;
It’s not the ongoing expense of having three children (food, clothing, etc.) that is burdensome. Rather, it’s the cost of being the edge-case family — the family of five — that no longer fits the neat customer models of the big businesses that control restaurants, car manufacturing, housing, etc., that makes the transition from two children to three so difficult. It’s as if there’s an economic penalty built into the market to discourage having three children.
What’s exasperating is that other people seem to notice the penalty, as well — and they treat you (politely) as if you deserve it. In conversation, you start to find a lot of people say things along the lines of: “Well, sure… but you’re the one who decided to have three kids.” or “Three kids?! Yikes! Good luck, man.” or “Wow. That’s a lot of kids.”
Yes… it’s my fault. I should have had fewer children so that I would have fit neatly into the pre-defined market segments mapped out by big businesses. How selfish of me to go off-plan.