Mashable has published a lengthy article explaining the decline of Tumblr and its parent company Yahoo as a result of CEO Marissa Mayer’s leadership, after interviewing multiple current and ex-employees.
“Mayer broke the clear barrier between the companies by merging Tumblr’s ad sales team with Yahoo’s and putting them under a new executive who insiders say had little experience with Tumblr and even less rapport with its core employees,” wrote Mashable reporter Seth Fiegerman after speaking to numerous employees.
“Soon after, Tumblr’s ad sales department was on the verge of a mass exodus,” he continued. “The sales turmoil came at the worst possible time. Tumblr was fighting to hit a $100 million sales goal set very publicly by Mayer — a lofty target that surprised members of the media almost as much as it surprised employees at Tumblr.”
It is alleged that after one confused employee asked where that sales goal had come from, an executive at the company claimed it “was Marissa just picking a number.”
Tumblr was described as having fallen into the hands of people who didn’t know how to run it properly, and mass-departures of employees soon took place. Many Tumblr employees were reported to have been astonished after a Yahoo executive said Tumblr could “create the next generation PDF.”
“One time he came to an all-team meeting and told us we were going to be the new PDF,” said a former employee. “It didn’t make any sense. We’d walk away scratching our heads.”
Since Yahoo’s acquisition of Tumblr in 2013 for over $1 billion, the company has failed to meet their sales goals, and many Tumblr employees and users alike are reminded of the time that Mayer promised to “not screw it up.”
“It probably hurts the team to see stuff like that and freaks people out,” said former product manager Matthew Bischoff. “It is still a wonderful place to work — if you are happy being heads down and not thinking about implications of Yahoo’s sale,” said another Tumblr source.
“It’s such a black eye… It didn’t have to be this way,” another former executive added.
Some of the largest problems allegedly started to occur after Yahoo pushed aside key players in Tumblr’s advertisement section and replaced notable individuals with Yahoo executives, leading advertisers to be even less convinced.
“Even at its hottest, Tumblr wasn’t the easiest sell for advertisers,” said ad agency officer Ben Winkler. “At first it was because of content-safety concerns. Then it was because the ad products were limited… Finally, it was because the ad sales team switched over to Yahoo, who simply did not have the expertise of the previous, native group of Tumblr reps.”
Despite Mayer’s disastrous job at attempting to advance both Yahoo and Tumblr over the years, it was reported in April that the CEO could leave with a $55 million severance package should she be ousted from her position. This adds but another stab in the heart of the company’s employees, who are not only attempting to keep the company from collapsing but were also cruelly taunted by Mayer after she made a joke claiming “No layoffs… this week!” at a company meeting in January.