March 1st, 2010
09:14 PM GMT
David Karp, the 22-year-old founder of social blogging site Tumblr, is shockingly young in appearance. I knew he was only 22, but when he sat down with me in his office, a pen and pad stacked neatly beside him, he seemed like a student.
The impression lasted only a moment. Karp has the focus of a seasoned CEO.
He is one of a handful of young entrepreneurs who are changing the way we interact with and share information.
I sat down with Karp recently to talk about the blossoming tech scene in New York City and the phenomenal growth of Tumblr. Here are a couple of the highlights:
NYC vs. Silicon Valley
A native New Yorker, Karp says he couldn't imagine launching his company anywhere else. Karp dropped out of Bronx School of Science at 14 to be home schooled and almost immediately started working and consulting.
He credited his parents for being very supportive of his unconventional path and joked they didn't let his brother off as easy - he had to finish high school.
He talked about the camaraderie among the tech community in New York, saying it feels less cut-throat and more creative.
One of the hardest things about being an entrepreneur has been managing the growth. Only three-years-old Tumblr boosts 27 million users and has grown from 2 to 10 employees.
Karp is treading carefully, noting that even small changes can make a big difference to users - and they are quick to let him know that.
He says it has been a little hard getting used to the fact that he has such a high profile in the tech world. (I teased him that it was rock star status … after all he did go to the Grammys!!)
Small is better. Whereas traditional media tried to reach as broad a group as possible, social media/networking sites are all about targeting small communities.
True re-tweets or re-posting blogs gives the potential to reach mass audience, but Karp and others are looking at the fact that many users are motivated by local events or niche interests.
It is clear Karp and his team are thinking a lot about the way people interact with social networking sites.
Toward the end of our chat he switched gears and started questioning me about how I felt when I blogged or tweeted, what motivated me. The interviewer became the interviewee. I could see his wheels spinning. Watch how New York is inspiring teckies
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