Is This The New Kevin Rose Businessweek Cover?
Jeff Bercovici profiles Tumblr and founder/CEO David Karp for Forbes:
The company finished 2012 with $13 million in revenue; the hope in this “leap” year is that it’ll get to $100 million.
If it can hit that sales figure, profits should follow — the key benchmark even for social media firms, which, until Facebook’s troubled public offering, could get away with being the shiny new social platform. “I don’t think there’s anybody that’s pushing for short-term maximization,” says [Tumblr investor/board member, Sequoia Capital’s Roelof] Botha. “But to the extent we can get to profitability soon, it’s a good thing because you don’t have this existential crisis every day.”
Okay, show of hands: How many of you thought we’d ever have to discuss Tumblr’s profitability as a real possibility? Times really have changed…
The cover is also a little unsettling. “A $200 million fortune by 26” sounds cool, but everyone at Forbes — my former employer — is surely aware of the years of snickering at Kevin Rose’s 2006 Businessweek cover: “How this kid made $60 million in 18 months.” (He didn’t.)
Forbes is, of course, the most-cited keeper of everyone’s on-paper net worth as part of its “rich list.” But it’s also supposed to be more skeptical of concepts like a founder’s personal “fortune” based on a web startup’s funny-money (preferred stock?) valuation. Ink is forever.
Gawker founder Nick Denton sums it up well in the Forbes article: “I really like David, but he’s got a brutal year ahead.”
(The good news: At least David’s photo isn’t as unforgettably ridiculous as Kevin’s. And the type is smaller.)