I like Dave and I respect what he has done for blogging and the community, I also understand his angst here. However I think it is misplaced.
There are two things people do in commerce, one is to innovate/invent and the other is to capture (or extract if you are being cynical) value from that innovation.
Tumblr, like GeoCities before it, have done well on the innovate/invent part and failed at the capture value part. Once at a meeting of west coast venture capital types I heard someone call a business 'making mud pies'. In developing that concept further, they described a business where the founders were having a great time building their technical vision and yet had failed to convince anyone outside of their small circle of friends that it was worth paying money for. Like kids making mud pies or finger painting, the act of creation was the only reward they were getting.
In that sort of situation it's a matter of time before the entity ceases to be.
By all reports Tumblr (like GeoCities before it) was running out of money. If that is true, then Yahoo! has simply saved them from dissolution and retained the traffic (and more importantly the habits of visiting) that folks on the net have built up. They think they extract value out of it, and perhaps they can do so with only a smaller increase in their total expenses than Tumblr existing burn rate. That is a bet they make with themselves.
But let's return to Dave's angst for a minute. Dave saw the deal with Symantec as Symantec getting this great thing they had produced with him to lead it strategically, from Symantec's perspective apparently they saw other things in the deal. Aligning thoughts and visions requires the the guy (or gal) being acquired do three things;
1) They need to understand the real reason they were acquired (was it for people, tech, traffic, brand?)
2) They need to figure out what they want to achieve out of the joined entity (recognizing it may not be possible based on #1)
3) They have to communicate a plan and build a following to insure that what they are trying to do is understood by the organization rather than just one or two people.
Its the strange thing that leaders are often as much controlled by their organizations as they are in control of them. There are few benevolent (or even malevolent) dictatorships, usually there is a group concensus about what is being done. And without that, not a whole lot gets done.
Marissa has stated she doesn't want to 'screw up' this deal. And I am pretty sure she is sincere in that, but it is less up to her than she might like.
Further, businesses like Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr have strong incentives to defer seeking revenue as long as possible. The businesses will only succeed at large scale. Time spend on early revenue is a distraction from what really matters, which is pleasing users. Better to wait until you have a large share of the market. So I think it's dangerous to look at Tumblr's current revenue and assume that a) that says much about their future revenue, or b) the company doesn't have a pretty solid revenue plan that they're waiting to roll out.
What is relevant is whether she can get the Tumblr employees on board with her monetization plan. David Karp doesn't seem like the kind of guy that can get on board with someone else's vision. I have a feeling he will be sidelined and then gone at the first available opportunity.
There is a third option, of course: that they have a stupid plan.
- Probability that social media users are fickle and Tumblr is on a death march where no plan could fix the business: 20%
- Probability MM has a good plan, given that Tumblr's employees and investors didn't have a plan to turn it into a real business: 30%
- Probability that Yahoo can execute the plan, given they have a good one: 50%
Thus P(This ends badly for Yahoo) = 1- .8 * .3 * .5 => 88%
In other words, probability is more or less irrelevant, because if you fail it means a small loss which does not risk the company's future, on the other hand, if you don't acquire, and the small business succeeds big time, then that is a big loss, and may eventually kill you.
I don't see from your argument that probability is a bad tool in analyzing this situation.
Tumblr is the new Yahoo.
What has been Yahoo up until now will begin to play a secondary and support role to Tumblr. So Flickr becomes the preferred photo sharing service for Tumblr.
Unlike the traditional acquisition where the acquired company disappears, this is the case where the acquiring company will disappear.
Yahoo's ability to stay alive as a large profitable business for another 10 years is dependent upon this transformation.
It's only through this lens that any kind of financial analysis makes sense. Any traditional, or sensible financial analysis will come the logical conclusion that this is an utterly foolish move.
But if you're Google in 2002, Pay Per Click Ads is the company bet -- and today's $300B Google is the result.
Meyer is making the equivalent of Google's PPC bet -- however, the goals are not massive profits as Google's were, but Meyer's goal is to return Yahoo to a role of prominence and profitability as a consumer property.
(that being said, my bet is that this turns ends badly for Yahoo and especially the shareholders).
If you have a brand problem you go younger, later on these people are a massive force if you do it right. It could be argued that Yahoo! is really a ladies platform and that is also what brought Facebook to critical mass (in fact top gamers in the casual space are middle-aged women, they also consume lots of content like Yahoo broadcasts). My wife loves Yahoo. She is buying future.
And yes, Dave here is right, don't think for one second that controlling stake in a company means it won't change, not alot soon, and maybe carefully. But, she has a grasp on the future with this buy. Mayer is the same individual that oversaw product during Blogger, YouTube, etc at Google. Meanwhile at the old Yahoo, Flickr and Delicious were not used correctly.
The only thing I didn't like about Mayer's moves is still the remote worker changes she enforced, I think that is a huge limiting factor for Yahoo talent. Will Tumblr's team be forced to move into the Yahoo! offices? Is a remote office too remote? I think moving operations that work like that would be a mistake.
This sentiment has been surfacing here more and more lately it seems, and frankly, I find it sickening.
Companies make money.
Maybe I'm crazy, but the idea of constantly seeking funding for my company instead of simply asking my customers to pay me just seems absolutely ludicrous.
The reality the tech industry is facing at the moment is this, however -- there are three things people are building these days:
You're absolutely right. If your goal is to build a business - you should be focused on making money and keeping the business viable. Long term, businesses can and will be self-sustaining.
Products, however, don't need to be. Lots of people are building products these days and making a boatload of money selling them to businesses. There's nothing wrong with it - it seems, at times, to be a very good way of making money.
What makes you (and me) sick is when people mix up what's what.
So we should amend..."Time spent on early revenue is a distraction"...if your goal is to build a great product.
(Features are what you think they are - just products with too narrow a focus to stand by themselves.)
But there are companies where the user is the product. In that case, early monetization can substantially harm your goal of creating a valuable asset. All of the companies I listed are good examples of that.
Unfortunately, their popularity makes entrepreneurs think their products can also be businesses. The obvious failure is people who just don't think about revenue.
The subtle failure is people who say, "Oh, we'll run ads!" without every understanding what that means. I know people who have built ad-supported businesses, and at this point it's an extremely challenging space.
Of course, that might lead you to wonder "Then WTF are you doing on here right now?" Well, simply, I'm stuck at my $DAYJOB right now and don't have anything productive to do, but it would be awkward to be working on my project from here. But in terms of time I spend on the startup, I'm trying very hard right now to stop looking so much at "big picture" stuff, narrow the vision, reign in my ambitions (for now) and focus on "what will get us to revenue fastest?"
Maybe I'm crazy, but the idea of constantly seeking funding for my company instead of simply asking my customers to pay me just seems absolutely ludicrous.
FWIW, I agree 100%
If your business model is "sell user eyeballs", then you have to be really large to have a real business. And the eyeball-selling market is pretty well-understood at this point, so it's not like "companies will buy ads against demographic X" is not a hypothesis you need to test by trying it.
Well they clearly aren't. The company has received $125 million in funding to date, including $85 million about 18 months ago. Their costs are obviously well over $14 million a year.
They could have take the $85 million because the getting was good and they wanted substantial independence for several years. (This happy funding climate won't last forever.) Or they could have taken it with an intention to spend a lot on marketing. Or they could have done it so they had a war chest for small acquisitions, or for major expansion.
Even if their current burn is over $14 million, which I agree is plausible, I still suspect that they could be in the black on that if they wanted. They have significant server operation costs, but I think even that plus a solid staff would fit.
According to that, Tumblr had 20 billion monthly pageviews around september 2012. That is about 250 billion pageviews a year.
Gives a very rough estimate of about 50k in server costs for 1 billion page views. That would be $12 million a year in server costs alone.
As of May, they had 178 employees. It is going to take a lot more than $2 million to pay those employees, then you have all the on costs, office space, advertising, etc, etc. I'd be very surprised if they weren't losing more than $15 million a year, and going on those quick calculations + knowing how much money they have raised, I think they're at a net loss of about $40 million a year, or more.
I said "its obvious" based on the rumours they are running out of money plus knowledge of when they last raised money. But doing a quick calculation as shown here throws up the same conclusion.
I experienced acquisition hell when the company I worked for got bought by EMC. EMC all but destroyed it.
As a meta comment, Winer is a unfortunate last name for this gentleman given the overall tone and timbre of what he has to say. Google giving preferential treatment to Blogger content, by giving special SERP positioning, distinctive formatting, or other embellishment, would have been worth making a fuss about. That would have been a big deal.
But this is a little button on a toolbar that many Google users never even used. And it's only for creating content, which is a side-show to Google's main purpose, which is finding content.
This is how you squander your capital.
But if we're doing character critique, I wouldn't say he typically whines a lot. He does occasionally come across as bitter and self-indulgent on his blog however.
I have to say that in this example, he either doesn't do a good job of explaining what's so horrible about "the button problem", or it is indeed an instance where walking out on the conference call was probably the kindest thing Mayer could have done. A lot of us would probably have either laughed or yelled at him.
On the other hand, I can see how the intent of making the Blog This! button software-agnostic was ahead of its time. I certainly wish there had been more of that, it would have led to a different set of rules for web apps as they are today. But I guess (or rather: hope) the point where the web globally recognizes the value and spirit of openness is still in the future.
At the risk of putting words in his mouth, I imagine part of his frustration is probably that making it software-dependent was a regression. There was already a budding ecosystem of blog-system-agnostic authoring tools, building off protocols he'd had a significant hand in, and while the protocol as it stood at the time was probably going to require a version 2 at some point, it really wasn't that hard to make things like that very cross-platform. Even now from what I can see, there's a lot of overlap between the various platforms, and with the addition of some ability to upload images and other media into a rich text blog post you could probably catch >99.9% of blog posts made today across all the popular blogging platforms.
I still think the blogging world may yet rise again as the centralization meets the end it always does, but when that happens it will be recapitulating development that has largely already occurred, ten+ years ago. (And if history is any guide, it will be from scratch and with loud acclamations about how innovative it all is.)
But I don't really know. This isn't an normative argument I'm making about what I think should be, it's an observation about history. Centralized email has given way to SMTP, for better and for worse. Centralized document systems gave way to gopher gave way to the web. Centralized newsgroups gave way to distributed forums. Centralized social media will eventually give way to a richer distributed ecosystem. I don't even know exactly how, but it will happen someday. It's just what happens. Eventually, too many people will be gunning for Facebook for them to be the monopoly.
(Probably the best counterexample is IM, which never properly federated. Arguably, this is because IM simply isn't that desirable. It's something people sorta kinda want, but not so much that it's actually monetizable, so possibly it's evidence in favor of the "success produces lots of people gunning for a piece of the pie" being the dominant factor. IM has never had anyone so successful (monetarily) that we had tons of people gunning for that space.)
Like Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft. All examples of big decentralized systems. Like the gradual consolidation of telecoms?
This is snarky, but only because I'm feeling sassy. Honest question, "Do decentralized systems actually win?" I hear this a lot as an axiom without any real evidence.
I'm sorry, Dave has helped create and develop some good things in the past, but it's time people were honest and not 'afraid' of how they might sound.
Dave Winer is a bitter, angry man. Period. He's always been that way, and it's only gotten worse as he's gotten older. He's spent an entire career attacking, and now that there's a new generation of creators and he's been forgotten, he's stomping his feet because I'm sure he feels as if he's being ignored. And in many ways, he is. No one really wants to deal with an egomaniac.
I actually feel sorry for Dave Winer, but we reap what we sow. And he's definitely reaping at this stage of his career.
On that note, why don't you post this with your real account then? I'm using my real name, Danilo sure is using his, and we're talking (trash) about a real person who, by the way, also has an HN account to his name. You, however, created in2d for the sole purpose of making this inflammatory comment.
What's new at least in my experience is that the jerks are getting some pushback.
I doubt if any of these people know me. I'm working hard on a startup now, with good results.
I don't know who they're describing here, but it ain't me! ;-)
FWIW I think the best thing about the existence of blogs is learning from others' successes and mistakes. The stories of the successes sometimes come off as self-indulgent, the stories of the mistakes sometimes come across as bitter. Such is life.
And you know what? Some day I might be fortunate enough to be in the position to negotiate myself the title of "Grand Poo-Bah of Integrating All The Things" at the acquiring company, and I'll remember your article and negotiate for a nicer parking spot instead. Cheers!
EDIT: s/come/sometimes come/g
Whether I agree with you on particular issues or not, I think your willingness to engage with the community is exemplary - I really wish more influential people would do that.
Both posts I voted down, and I hope others do also. HN is better than this. I'm sorry you had to read that crap. I wish you the best at your next startup!
The point of the article is about not trusting anything an acquiring company says, because they will say anything in order to get the deal. The other stuff was just some colour.
First, if Winer wants to get link-baity by piggybacking someone in the news, let's give some scrutiny to the relevance of that case. This is pretty silly-sounding stuff and I'm inclined to come down pretty firmly on Mayer's side by his account.
My job is to be willing to be persuaded – not to be a pushover to any opinion. It's the author's job to persuade – and to decide when name dropping is more trouble than it's worth.
The other reason: I'm not going to clap when someone makes an entirely self-evident point for the sole purpose of attaching their name to someone newsworthy.
To be fair, the blog post in question spends the first half of its content avoiding the point completely in order to make some stupid personal attack. When the author misses his own point, it can be hard for readers not to do the same.
Worth noting, of course, that some part of Tumblr's growth has come precisely from their equivalent of a BlogThis! button - it just took a few more years.
The linked article isn't just saying "Yahoo may change the terms of their deal" (and pray they don't alter it further), which everyone knows they can and almost certainly will. It's saying "I, Dave Winer, will draw from my own personal experience, including my interaction with one of the participants of this deal, to speak with authority on this".
Like bringing up a character witness in a defense trial, such supporting arguments legitimately open up the speaker themselves to critique.
I honestly don't understand the problem with that. He has experience, with this type of situation, and with the people involved, and he's using that to back up the more general point (which you agreed with). Why is he not entitled to some authority here?
It just seems like a lot of the commenters have much more of a grudge against Dave Winer the person (I don't follow him that closely) than the actual content of his argument.
Winer has fielded a number of seemingly bitter and aggrieved posts lately (about ageism, not getting his due rewards, etc) and it is impossible to read newer entries without that cloud however over them..
There is no "you should question this because his name is Foo", rather "you should question this because he is acting Fooish, which incidentally sounds similar to his name."
Immature, but not an ad hominem.
That's backwards: ad hominem attacks are considered bad precisely because they're not relevant to the argument. Note that the GP's argument is exactly the opposite: that the attacks aren't ad hominem because they are material in this case.
If you're saying that the original line wasn't meant as support of their argument and therefore doesn't qualify for examination for materiality, I'm finding that hard to swallow too, e.g. "You're wrong, and also incidentally--totally as aside, seriously--you're an idiot."
If I say "You are a doo-doo head, and you are wrong because of X, Y, and Z", then (assuming X, Y, and Z are sound of course) I have not committed a logical fallacy (though I have immaturely insulted you). The insult was not a part of the argument presented. If I say "You are a doo-doo, and therefore wrong.", then I am guilty of fallacious reasoning.
Things don't have to be fallacies for them to be out of line. We can criticize "You're wrong, and also incidentally--totally as aside, seriously--you're an idiot." without mislabeling it as fallacious.
I was smart along with a few others. The rest of the employees rolled the dice and lost. They discontinued the entire line of products and canned any of the employees who came over with the acquisition. Within a year, there were no traces of our startup, just a few new products using our technology.
I'm still bitter about it. . .
I mean, consider the bright side, you could've gone into politics with a last name like "Weiner"...
My apologies, I was simply trying to inject a bit of wit into the discussion :(.
I also note on your blog (which 10 years ago you probably would have used the BlogThis! button on your Google Toolbar to write) you feature prominently a technology pioneered by Dave Winer.
"This is how you squander your capital"
Suggesting that today they don't. Why? Perhaps because trivialities like a button on the Google toolbar were made to occupy the time of someone whose hourly value would eventually be measured in four or more figures.
So while I get what you're saying – honest, public eye-rolling about the petulance of this writing may one day come at some cost to me – the situations aren't remotely the same. That said, I hold the greatest respect for people who can offer valid criticism, no matter how colorful, and I welcome it from anyone, regardless of my perceptions of their "contributions." I suspect that anyone who wouldn't share those values would be doing me a favor by not working with me anyway.
I suspect we share the same contempt for the tech "press," feckless and craven as they are, but the headline story for this post is about someone kind of wasting someone else's time and that's not an interesting perspective at all, except as a cautionary tale.
I'll share a personal example. I've not been a fan of your approach to RSS in the past. I was especially frustrated when developing a parser and having a fragmented landscape because of RSS 2.0, and other developers lack of understanding that your blog didn't represent a standards body. However, I never publicly complained about it because I understand why it happened, so I just shut my mouth and get back to making my parser work. At the time, even now, publicly complaining about your contributions would be incredibly disrespectful to your body of work.
The only way I would ever be in any position of criticism is if I had a similar body of work to compare. I didn't then, and I sure don't now, so I just respectfully keep my mouth shut and work on what I can contribute.
Pretending to not understand the importance of blogthis! in a world where Yahoo just bought Tumblr, or where the subscribe to rss buttons mostly work to allow the user to choose an rss feed reader of their own choice, or where Microsoft was told to make sure users could pick their favorite email apps, firewall apps, etc.?
This danilo is how you squander your capital.
As economist Michael Jensen pointed out
Integrity as “what it takes for a person to be whole and complete....And an individual is whole and complete when their word is whole and complete, and their word is whole and complete when they honour their word."
And this law seems work just gravity for all human-beings (not just Google executive).
Out-of-integrity behavior has been pervasive, both on an organizational and an individual basis, and that attributed to the unworkabilities in the world.
More about Integrity a positive phenomenal can be read here:
I'm probably naive, but couldn't something like this be put into the acquisition contract, maybe even with monetary penalties if certain objective criteria (like reporting employee count or C-level meeting attendance) are not met? I realize that is not by any means bullet proof, but couldn't this kind of treatment at least be made harder?
You could try something like demanding X number of reporting employees or Y execs who agree to attend your meetings, I guess. But the other party is going to reflexively resist getting down to this level of detail in the contract, even if they're completely sincere about the promises they've made to you, just because no business owner likes to have their hands tied operationally in such a way. Not to mention that even those types of clauses can be worked around -- you get a guarantee that the COO will attend a weekly meeting, and then he makes a big show each time of answering email on his smartphone rather than paying attention to what you're saying. Might seem unfair to you as the acquired party, but everyone else in the company will be rooting for him against the "outsider."
But they knew that at the time it would become an issue I'd be a large shareholder in the company and would not want to do anything to hurt it, because that would just be hurting myself.
Ultimately those kinds of terms are meaningless. That's what I learned then. I've never heard of a counter-example.
Oh, these things can go very differently. Normally it works best if there is a change of control clause, the acquired company is MUCH smaller than the acquiree, and the acquiree is primarily owned/controlled by professional investors. Then you've got a situation where you basically have nothing to lose and everything to gain, and the reverse is true for them.
Depending on how you played the acquisition process, if you are a big share holder, you can make sure you've got enough support amongst the other share holders that you're basically in control (a year ago my employer acquired a small company... a few months later, their CEO was our CEO... and not by chance).
The thing is, for most entrepreneurs, they like to be in control. They hate it when they aren't. At the same time, when an acquisition comes, they tend to see it as an exit.. an end of the line. So they tend not to think too strategically about how they'll maintain control after the acquisition.
I mean, if you're at the 'blogging your rage' stage you probably don't care if you still work there tomorrow, but nailing down that if they screw up, you're allowed to publically state that on the way out might at least make it possible for future founders to reconsider their deal options.
Suppose you quit an acquiring company and bad-mouth it in the press.
First, you're probably losing money just by quitting. If they kept you around, they probably gave you some sort of incentive to stay. E.g., stock that gradually vests, or a portion of the acquisition price that was held back.
Second, you probably own a good chunk of the company's stock. If your bad-mouthing is successful, that price will go down. So you've just lost money that way.
Third, if you had partners or employees who also have stock, you've just cost them all money. Man, they'll love you for that.
Fourth, you are now on record in the press as the kind of person who bad-mouths the company you're working for. That might mean that the next people you work for won't cross you like that. But it certainly means that people are going to be more reluctant to hire you or acquire your next company.
Generally, I think the better play is to be classy about it. If you keep a strong reputation, odds are good somebody will eventually ask you on the quiet about the acquiring company or one of the executives involved. That's your chance to stick the knife in. Rather than making a little quickly-forgotten noise, you might be able to kill an important deal.
That's still stupid and could backfire badly.
No, the best plan is not to want anything out of the acquisition besides the cash. Sell it, walk away, do your next thing.
If all you want is the cash, fine. Sometimes people want more. And often they get it.
The point of the anecdote is that these deals are designed to align the acquired with the company if there are personal-career-satisfaction/play-along-nicely conflicts.
edit: typos and a recognition that this point was already made well while I was typing.
Companies develop reputations, and so do people. Liars should be called liars, and everyone should be reminded of it, most assuredly when those individuals are doing big PR pushes and want the media to give it front page headline space (as some have alleged another recent Yahoo acquisition was.)
Human psychology makes it difficult to speak negatively about things. People want to be around other positive people, not negative ones. In this case the author is being referred to as "bitter." I have another suggestion, we speak positively about people in business who do keep their promises, on and off contract.
Somehow, I doubt a chief architect's job would be made easier if the C-level executives were contractually obligated to attend his presentations.
Perhaps not, but blowing you off would sure be more difficult. Wouldn't this also at least give you an influential audience to sell your value to?
I'm not saying that clause is a good idea, it was just a example of something concrete enough to be contractually enforceable.
If a reasonable concern kills a deal just by discussing it, the deal must be very fragile. Even if terms are not added to the deal, I think bringing up the issue could be beneficial.
A big bag of money is an incredibly magnetic thing. Once most people walk into the room and actually see one, it becomes really really hard to walk out of the room without it. So what seemed like a reasonable concern before you walked in starts looking more like something you can live without, if the alternative is living without the bag.
The actual deal is an understanding between people. The contract is the bundle of sticks you use to beat one another if the deal falls apart.
Any contract term that tries to force a good relationship is basically nonsensical. If you're trying to enforce a contract, you're already in the situation where the relationship has gone bad.
I.e. if you are doing a deal, don't be surprised if only the immediate terms are honored. Don't bank on future promises.
I like the example of Dave getting the "Architect" title as a result of a deal - but afterwards the meaning of the title was ignored. Nice bait and switch! Something to look out for in a deal, I would have fallen for that.
Another example I hear about is: museum acquires a bequest of an art collection, but with some stipulation about how it is to be treated, kept intact, etc. Once the deal is done, the museum does what it likes. Now the museum may be squandering its capital in its reputation among potential patrons, but that's a calculation they make.
Dave himself admits that he felt like he had a disincentive to enforce the future promises due to what he had already received as a result of the more immediate terms -- a contract is, ultimately, not just a set of promises, but a set of promises that the parties feel need to be backed by the threat of legal action to ensure compliance.
If, for any of those promises, you aren't going to be willing to act on that threat when they are violated, and the other party knows the incentive structure that makes you unwilling to act on the threat, well, then the threat is gone, and if you didn't need the threat to enforce the promises, you wouldn't have needed a contract in the first place.
That doesn't really mean there is a difference between short-term and longer-term promises, it means that there is a difference between promises backed by the credible threat of legal action and promises not backed by the credible threat of legal action, which is rather the entire reason contracts exist in the first place.
The flip-side is, of course, that this is why it would be hard to decide to sell. sigh
> But a few weeks after the deal they broke the promise. They added a BlogThis! button to Google Toolbar.
I don't really see how adding something to the toolbar would be using your "power in search".
Promises made during acquisition are meaningless.
If you have to negotiate a made-up role for yourself during the acquisition of your own company, it's clear the company sees no value in your input and only wants your product and customers. I doubt David Karp had to negotiate a role for himself because his expertise, just as much as his company, was sought after.
I hope you upvote this enough so it's visible alongside the abusive stuff the trolls posted. Thanks.
That's unlikely to happen, because there's nothing interesting or valuable in your follow-up post (unlike the original post, which had a salient and timely point that was buttressed by a somewhat interesting anecdote based on personal experience).
It's basically just, "HN readers are 'trolls' and 'assholes' and 'they' are Wrong About Dave Winer." Well, buddy, welcome to the internet.
HN may be one of the better internet discussion forums, but it is still an internet discussion forum. Frankly, I'm surprised that the grandfather of blogging can get this upset by the comments of strangers on the interweb tubes. If HN comments really make you "depressed", then I think you should take a step back and think about why you care so much.
(Especially since other HN commenters pushed back against basically all of the really moronic "hurhurhur, Dave WHINE-er, get it" comments, and the bulk of the thread was either supporting your post or at least pointing out that the attacks on it were mostly stupid. But even if that hadn't happened, and every single HN user ridiculed your post: so what?)
Finally, regarding the idea that HN should let you block your posts from being linked here: sorry man, other websites aren't about you. They're about the people who create and use them. And if your (original) post was of interest to the HN readership -- which I'm pretty sure it was, since it made the front page -- then who are you to say who gets to link to it?
People can link to -- and say -- whatever they want. That's how this whole "web" fad works.
Well to be fair it is mostly true, and it doesn't hurt to repeat it every once in a while.
That's some selective memory Dave Winer has. I wonder what he said? Should I expect to find out on a blog post from Marissa Mayer on the subject, on her brand new Tumbler?
I believe they meant that Blogger blogs would not be given an advantage in the SE algo. Eg. given top search results just because of the blogging platform.
I think you took it wrong. Why would they buy Blogger and promise to never promote it? Doesn't make sense.
Conversely the other side might have thought "If Google runs a TV ad for Blogger they have to run TV ads for all other competing blogging systems and give them equal time."
Neither side is wrong, they just failed to convey what they were actually thinking when saying "no preferential treatment".
I've been in a similar situation where I has a partner in a small game dev company. We got a contract from a publisher to implement a game they had mostly designed already. When signing the deal we were told we could have input into the design. What the publisher meant was "We'll consider your comments and tweak a few things if we agree with them." What some of my partners heard was "The design can be 100% thrown away and re-created from scratch by us".
Needless to say there was lots of frustration on both sides.
I think any time you characterize somebody in a negative light, it's best to acknowledge the risk that you didn't have the whole story.
In addition the fact that lawyers and the law aren't mentioned is a big gap in the point Dave makes. If you're working with strangers in America on something that is worth more than ten thousand dollars to you,the extent to which you can get a llawyer involved is the extent to which you can safeguard your interests.
Now, at risk in the tumblr acquisition seems to be tumblr's handle on cool. The situation of how tough it is for suits to draw up an agreement that protects "cool" set against how important such a challenge is during an acquisition might have made for a more interesting discussion.
As it stands, the takeaway for this story is basically "don't forget to bring a lawyer!"
The Google interaction with Marissa Mayer was about a product integration partnership. That's completely different than an acquisition type discussion.
I've only met Marissa Mayer once at a conference, and was impressed by her technical knowledge of Google services. I'd also believe she might come off a little aloof at times, as she was a high-level executive at Google and Now CEO at Yahoo.
The fact is that Tumblr has limited cashflow to fund growth, and Yahoo has the cash.
I can't speak to why the meeting played out the way it did....but I could see myself doing the same thing. Google just spent $80M (or w/e the purchase price was) on an acquisition.
They didn't block other blogs (or platforms) from the SERP results or anything like that. They just used their reach to improve the value of the asset they just acquired.
To ask them to do otherwise is really selfish, imho.
Then to take that one action and extrapolate it over her entire decision-making apparatus at a new company and entirely different type of acquisition.....
Well yeah, all promises are meaningless. Were any of these promises in writing as part of the acquisition? I mean are they legally bound to comply? If not, why would you expect to have any control over operations and decisions, regardless of your title, after being acquired? It's not your company anymore...
Also there's no detailed information about the meeting itself to show us how you came to that conclusion however true it is. I'm guessing they wouldn't listen to your advice, but again why would you expect them to?
A typical Dave.
As an example, admittedly unrelated to this, when J.K.Rowling agreed for Harry Potter movie to be made, she negotiated and put a condition in the contract for the entire cast to be British or Irish.
This is news?
[Upon reading the comments, apparently it is.]
He does a disservice to other "older" developers and technology buffs, as not all of us want to regale you with tales of the old days, nor demand penance for having done something once.
The point was "Once they've bought it, promises don't matter", and there were two interesting stories that illustrate this point.
We all know yahoo are going to fuck up tumblr, and the promises that they've made won't matter.
Once upon a time, we enjoyed exchanging stories as a way of sharing and building on the wisdom learned from hard knocks, bootstrapping one another. Pretty sure that's how civilization progresses.