Insights from Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg on Tumblr’s Future Post-Reorganization

This week, owner Matt Mullenweg confirmed his company would be shifting the majority of Tumblr’s workforce to other areas at parent company Automattic in light of the social blogging site’s continued financial woes. In an effort to save the business, 139 of the site’s workers would be moved to other projects at Automattic. Mullenweg later responded to questions about Tumblr’s future in an AMA (Ask Me Anything). He acknowledged that the staff changes would take place on December 31, 2023. The team impacted is known as “Bumblr” which is the internal name for the product side of Tumblr. Mullenweg explained that Tumblr staff being reassigned will be able to choose from other projects at Automattic. He also mentioned that the company has engaged in performance management reviews and sometimes that means people are let go. Mullenweg confirmed that translation and localization will continue, and are not impacted by the changes. He also discussed the company’s monetization plans, stating that the best way to support the site is through a subscription. However, out of Tumblr’s 11.5 million monthly active users, only 27,000 are subscribers. Mullenweg also hinted at new ways to allow advertisers to more easily duplicate campaigns they’re running elsewhere with similar formats. In terms of product changes in 2024, Mullenweg admitted the team had spread them too thin and the company will “hone in on” the parts of Tumblr people love and put an end to the things that don’t work. He also mentioned that Tumblr will continue to innovate and stay on the bleeding edge of what technology allows and enables. Additionally, he said that Tumblr Live could be on the chopping block and that the company plans to increase its investment in Trust & Safety. Mullenweg also announced that Tumblr would add support for ActivityPub.

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