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The Yahoo Acquisition of Tumblr

May 7, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by Samuel Phineas Upham

When Yahoo announced it would buy Tumblr in 2013, the tech world collectively gasped. The Tumblr platform has become ubiquitous around the Web, building a following through simple features and sharable posts. Yahoo, in the eyes of many in the tech press, was set to ruin all of that as they had already done with Flickr and GeoCities.

But Yahoo has stunned non-believers with actual growth. Tumblr’s audience has grown by 22% since the acquisition, and the company has doubled its staff under the guidance of Marissa Meyer’s Yahoo. Tumblr is visually compelling, and makes it easy for users to post short text blurbs, images and rich media. It’s managed to hold up against competition from the likes of Facebook and Instagram.

The CEO of the company, David Karp, admits he did have fears that Yahoo would fundamentally alter the culture he had worked to cultivate. In fact, Yahoo has let Tumblr largely run its own show. The company plays an advisory role to the young enterprise, which can no longer bill itself as a startup. Tumblr still doesn’t generate enough revenue to be a major player yet, though.

Some question whether or not the Yahoo acquisition was a good idea.

Tumblr lost many of its early employees during the acquisition, which led to some internal turmoil. However, the size of Yahoo has given Tumblr some much needed life (and time). Tumblr is currently testing promoted posts, and a private-label blogging service for large advertisers in an attempt to monetize the service.

Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Samuel Phineas Upham on his Samuel Phineas Upham website

What Makes Apple Ads So Effective

May 2, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

This article was written by Phineas Upham

Apple was, and continues to be one of the most effective marketers in recent history. From the grand presentations by Steve Jobs to the brightly colored ads for the iPhone and iPod. The company uses simplicity to great effect, employing contrasting colors and sleek design to sell its products. Apple marketing is defined by three primary points of thinking, which are detailed below.


Apple strives to understand its customers more than any other company on the market. It does extensive testing internally for its products, testing for every day use cases and looking for ways to streamline their product design. Their products are generally thin, light and powerful.


Apple has a very limited number of tasks it focuses on in order to deliver amazing products. It largely lets application developers do most of the heavy lifting on the iPhone, but it takes great care in crafting its operating systems. Even programs like Pages are made with the user firmly in mind, streamlining methods to work and save one’s progress.


Apple products are perceived to be amazing. For a long time, “it just works” was a phrase that was thrown around to describe how people felt about them. They were viewed as devices that made computer usage fun and easy, elegant even. That perception is part of what cements the Apple brand into popular landscape. Apple works hard at cultivating the idea that PCs are complicated, and Apple computers are simple. Even though that is not always the case, Apple proves every day that perception is crucial to success.

About the Author: Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phineas on his Twitter page.