An internal note from Matt Mullenweg to Tumblr staff leaked. It details intentions to reassign employees to different teams within Automattic and operate Tumblr with a significantly reduced workforce. Mullenweg later confirmed the leak’s authenticity and explained the situation on Tumblr’s Struggles.
Tumblr’s Struggles with Its Earnings
Simply put, Tumblr’s anticipated turnaround didn’t materialize, resulting in earnings falling short of their planned targets. Automattic acquired Tumblr from Verizon for $3 million in 2019, with Verizon having obtained it through the Yahoo acquisition, priced initially at $1.1 billion. Despite the seemingly favorable acquisition cost, Mullenweg revealed that Automattic invested $100 million in efforts to revitalize Tumblr, but unfortunately, the turnaround never came to fruition.
What’s the Fate of Tumblr Employees?
The revealed memo and Mullenweg’s following Tumblr post clarified that 139 workers on Tumblr’s product side will be offered opportunities to explore alternative roles within Automattic.
To decode the internal team names:
- “Bumblr” refers to employees on the product side.
- “Happiness” is the internal moniker for the customer service team.
- “T&S” is shorthand for the Trust and Safety team.
Those in Customer Support and the Trust and Safety teams can stay on at Tumblr, and there are no intentions to part ways with them.
Mullenweg referred to different teams at Tumblr using their internal names in his statement.
Mullenweg’s leaked announcement outlined their strategy:
“As we’ve discussed, if the initial plan doesn’t succeed, we have a backup plan. We’re structuring the business to avoid layoffs, opting to assess and redirect our collective focus instead.
This shift is underway now: most of the 139 individuals in Bumblr will transition to other departments.
There are no intentions to make changes in Happiness or T&S.”
What’s the future of Tumblr?
There are no indications that Tumblr is shutting down. The strategy is formulating a plan for operating Tumblr with a smaller team. This is the real Tumblr’s Struggles.
Automattic remains committed to assessing performance and exploring possibilities in 2024.