David Karp, the proud new owner of generational wealth (despite 2012 revenues of less than $5 million), is in France this week making some new best amis! At the Cannes Lion International Festival of Creativity—a posh back-patting bonanza designed to make advertisers feel special—Karp took the main stage, only to throw his employees under the bus:
"You guys are more talented than any one in the Tumblr office or in Palo Alto or Sunnyvale. We're constantly in awe, constantly in service."
Words like "humbled," "privileged," and "honored" tripped off his tongue, as did the hope that next year the crowd would be winning Lions for work created on Tumblr.
Of course, that didn't stop him from posting a little passive-aggressive exchange during festival with Tumblr's head of sales Lee Brown.
Kissing up to the "creatives" is par for the course of running an ad-supported company. With money running down and no VCs biting at the valuation he wanted, Karp was already planning to show more ads before Marissa Mayer came knocking at Tumblr's chic Flatiron headquarters.
What's notable here is Karp's about face from a mere three years earlier, when he said advertising "really turns our stomachs." The precious founder is still feeling queasy, but according to The Guardian, he told the audience that it's companies like Twitter that are grossing him out. (A complaint he's made before.)
The young US tech entrepreneur said: "We don't share stats, so your follower counts, your performance isn't published to the world. You can make little bets and try something small and experimental and not feel any sense of shame if you have only 2,000 followers that sort of thing, which I always think is really gross."
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[Image via Getty]