Five years ago, tech prodigy David Karp was determined that the business he founded in his mother’s small New York apartment would not be absorbed by a multinational firm.
“We would really rather not be gobbled up by a big media company,” then 21-year-old Karp, the creator of the blogging platform Tumblr, said in an interview with the New York Observer.
Karp, 26, now looks set to become the latest tech billionaire with reports that Yahoo’s board has approved a deal to purchase Tumblr for $US1.1 billion in cash.
It’s a mind-boggling amount of money for anyone, let alone a once socially awkward teenager who dropped out of high school at the age of 15.
Remarkably it was Karp’s mother, teacher Barbara Ackerman, who suggested her son drop out of high school at the age of 15 so he could be home-schooled and continue an internship at an animation production company, Frederator Studios.
Karp’s mother recognised that, while her son was not particularly engaged with his classes or his fellow students, he seemed to thrive at the internship where he could talk easily with the company’s coders and engineers.
It was a passion he had developed early, teaching himself how to code HTML at the age of 11.
Karp’s mother told the New York Times that she could feel the sense of relief through her hand on her son’s shoulder when she floated the idea to him.
Soon his career was taking off.
When an entrepreneur named John Maloney sought technical help with his start-up, UrbanBaby.com, a Frederator employee recommended Karp.
The project had to be done in a couple of days, but Karp did it in four hours. At the age of 16, Karp was made UrbanBaby’s head of product, and he was given some equity in the company.
The following year Karp moved to Tokyo, where he lived for five months on his own.
It was there that he cooled on the idea of making robots, and instead decided to become an entrepreneur.
He told The Guardian that initially he would lie about his age when dealing with clients.
“I was so silly – I tried to be very formal and put on a deep voice to clients over the phone so I didn’t have to meet them and give away how young I was,” he said.
“I lied about my age. I lied about the size of my team. I lied about my experience. I was so terribly embarrassed about it for so long. I should have just owned up.”
When he moved back to New York, Karp set up his own software consultancy company, Davidville.
But he soon became fascinated by a new short-form of blogging called a “tumblelog”.
Karp told the New York Observer that he “kept waiting” for one of the established blog platform players to set up a platform for tumblelogging and, when that didn’t happen, he did it himself.
Karp founded Tumblr in 2007 at age 21 from the bedroom of his mother’s apartment in New York.
Sometimes described as Twitter meets YouTube and WordPress, Tumblr lets its users curate pictures, videos and text in one place online. The site gained 75,000 users in the first fortnight.
Tumblr now says it has more than 108 million blogs, 50 billion postings in 12 languages and 175 employees.
David Karp (born July 6, 1986) is an American web developer and entrepreneur living in New York City. He is the founder and CEO of the short-form blogging platform, Tumblr. In 2010, he was named to the MIT Technology Review TR35 as one of the top 35 innovators in the world under the age of 35. According to Forbes, Karp’s net worth exceeds $200 million, and Tumblr has been valued at $800 million. On May 19, 2013, the Yahoo board approved a deal to pay $1.1 billion in cash for Tumblr.
Karp grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. His parents are film and television composer Michael D. Karp and teacher Barbara Ackerman. He has a younger brother named Kevin. His parents separated when he was 17. Karp attended The Calhoun School from age 3 through 8th grade, where his mother teaches science.
In 1896, The Calhoun School was founded by Laura Jacobi as the Jacobi School in a brownstone at 158–160 West 80th Street. Miss Jacobi came to this country from Germany with the help of her uncle, Dr. Abraham Jacobi, professor of pediatrics at New York Medical College and Columbia. Through her uncle and her aunt, Miss Jacobi was exposed to a progressive circle committed to women’s rights, community health and civil reform. Initially, Miss Jacobi began her program as a “brother-and-sister” school, counting among its first students the son and daughter of Franz Boas, one of the founders of American cultural anthropology. It gradually evolved into a girls school, attracting the daughters of socially prominent Jewish families—including Peggy Guggenheim, the children of the Morgenthaus and the Strausses. The school’s nonsectarian curriculum emphasized languages and history.
i am a cynical bastard but i just dont think this guy fluked his way into this..they always seem to be selected..he ticks quite a few boxes when you dig deep..welcome to the billionaires club..