Look Out for Innovation and Stay Focused – A Visit from Tumblr’s CEO

The world, and especially New York, can’t get enough of David Karp.

The founder of the blog publishing platfom, Tumblr, spoke with Social@Ogilvy’s Managing Director, John Bell at Social Media Week yesterday.

Consistent with all reports about the young entrepreneur, and similar to his last visit to Ogilvy, he spoke with humility and true affection about his platform and the state of affairs for the social network community.

It has been months since David Karp has written code. He hasn’t retired engineering, exactly; he’s focusing on steering the ship, acting as a chief navigator for the little big site. He admits he’s out of practice, and dabbling with new code would only be a setback to his driven and autonomous team of engineers.

We’re now getting to the source of why this quiet creator is the darling of memes and Forbes – unlike many entrepreneurs, he has built a self-sufficient operation, which has allowed him to stay focused on the future of his company on a daily basis.

If you missed this honest and insightful conversation, you can watch Social@Ogilvy’s exclusive chat during Social Media Week below.

Here are are three quick things you should know from the panel:

1.  Mobile is in a transient place – Tumblr and sites like it work in tandem with the hard side of engineering – Karp gives real credit to the “creative horsepower of the new software.” Your ability to Tumble from your mobile changes Tumblr, demanding a mobile dashboard. Karp says to pay attention to this symbiotic relationship.

2.  Surprise people and you will do well – When it comes to the all too-familiar multi-screen experience, brand advertising, and storytelling, Karp reminds the audience that we like, reblog, and respond to unexpected cleverness. If you are looking to make waves – ooh and ahh the audience that sees a million things every day.

3.  Stay disciplined on where you put your energy – Karp cites Tumblr as an example – outsourcing analytics was a choice on behalf of the betterment of the company, to keep Tumblr moving on its projected path and vision. Remind yourself of your end-goal, ask yourself if your energy output is getting you there, or distracting you?

Karp is a celebrated individual – and deserves the credit for his business savvy and creative brainchild – but yesterday, he reminded us that the most important thing in professional and personal pursuits is to respond to the pattern of behaviors you are witnessing in the world – while staying true to yourself.

Publications that covered the panel: 

Social@Ogilvy Social Media Week 2013 Schedule – #SMWOgilvy

Events in Four Cites

New York

February 19th

Panel title: Mocial RX: Leveraging Mobile & Social in Healthcare

Location: Ogilvy & Mather Theater

Time: 2:00pm – 3:00pm

Summary: Health discussions have moved beyond a single screen and one-on-one exchanges. Mobile and social — what some call “Mocial” — is all about a new platform of on-the-go device and broader discussion. From geofencing to quantified self to the second screen, this lively exchange explores how “our networked life” influences behavior change, removes barriers, and adds value to connected communities.

  • Buddy Scalera, SVP, Interactive Content & Market Research, Ogilvy CommonHealth
  • John Nosta, EVP, Senior Strategist, Ogilvy CommonHealth
  • Andrea Hackett, Account Supervisor, Digital Strategy, Social@Ogilvy

Panel title: Pharma & Social: Better Apart?

Location: Ogilvy & Mather Theater

Time: 3:30pm – 4:30pm

Summary: The social health space continues to rapidly evolve, pivoting to serve new needs and voices faster than most pharmaceutical companies are used to acting.  Patients, caregivers, even doctors seem to do just fine taking advantage of existing forums to discuss their health concerns. Is there room for in the social sphere for prescription drug brands? Mixed views and industry case studies fuel a provocative discussion on whether and how Pharma can truly add value to these already active conversations.

  • Chris Cullman, VP, Digital Strategy, Ogilvy CommonHealth
  • Scott Friedberg, Director, Digital Strategy, Ogilvy CommonHealth
  • Andrew Teie, Senior Digital Strategist, Ogilvy & Mather

Panel title: The Social Engagement Hub: Re-Imagining The Contact Center As A Critical Marketing Tool

Time: 2:30pm – 4:00pm

Location: Advertising & Marketing Hub JWT NYC

Summary: Consumer demands for a new kind of relationship with the companies they buy from has changed how we manage customer relationships: forever.

In this session, Joshua March (CEO and Co-Founder of Conversocial), Evan Shumeyko (CRM Engagement Practice, Ogilvy), Michael Brito (Social Business Strategy at Edelman Digital) and Alon Waisman, Social Media Operations Manager at GoDaddy) discuss The Social Engagement Hub: How do marketing departments and contact centers need to evolve and restructure to deliver the best experience over social channels? Good customer service becomes your marketing strategy when the consumer is king.

  • Marketers, Social Media Managers and Customer Service Directors can join us to discuss:
  • How to build a Social Engagement Hub to bring stakeholders together
  • Why C-Level management should get behind Social Customer Service
  • How pro-active social customer service can revolutionize the contact center of the future
  • Success stories of companies offering unified and coherent customer engagement through social media.

February 20th

Panel title: A Conversation with David Karp, Founder of Tumblr: Brands Connecting Inside the Index of Passions

Time: 10:30am – 11:30am

Location: Ogilvy & Mather Theater

Summary: Join us as for a candid conversation with David Karp who has created one of the fastest growing communities of people sharing what they care about most. How can brands participate in Tumblr with meaningful brand or business impact and how do we do it without spoiling the beauty of Tumblr? Join Social@Ogilvy’s John Bell as he asks David Karp about his vision for brands and Tumblr.

  • John Bell, Global Managing Director, Social@Ogilvy

Panel title: The Rise of the New Community Manager: A Discussion with Ford, Whole Foods, iHeartRadio, and Ogilvy on the New Brand Role

Time: 12:00pm – 1:00 pm

Location: Ogilvy & Mather Theater

Summary: As more and more brands commit to Facebook, Twitter, and other social communities, the stakes of managing millions of fan relationships is rising. Increasingly the job of the community manager is evolving to a more complex and even senior role. Join Social@Ogilvy and hear from those in the trenches and those shaping how brands are managing fans and customer relationships. What are the new skills of the community manager? How will they fit into traditional organizations?

Panel title: The Live Google+ Jam with Caterpillar: How to exploit Google+ to its Fullest

Time:  1:30pm – 2:30pm

Location: Ogilvy & Mather Theater

Summary: Is it plumbing or is it search? Is it Hangouts or Communities? Stop all the hype and anti-hype. We’re going to roll up our sleeves and demonstrate just how brands can use Google+ today and tomorrow. We’ll be working through a LIVE session with Google+, Caterpillar and Social@Ogilvy to create the prototypical, full-out program for the world’s leading B2B brand – Caterpillar. It will be fast-paced, messy and insightful.

  • Gemma Craven, Executive Vice President, Social@Ogilvy
  • Dan Schreibstein, Vice President, Social@Ogilvy
  • Kevin Espinosa, Social Media Manager, Global Marketing Services, Caterpillar
  • Deitra Mara, Head of Social Solutions, NA, Google

Panel title: The Future of Social Customer Care

Time: 3:00pm – 4:00pm:

Location: Ogilvy & Mather Theater

Summary: Participate in a LIVE demonstration with Social@Ogilvy showcasing the next model of engaging social customers with meaningful dialogue, structure and cross-platform integration. You’ll want to attend if you have encountered any problems like these:

  • Are your customers putting service requests on a Facebook page that’s controlled by the marketing team so customer service reps can’t respond?
  • Is it impossible to keep up with spikes in social media activity?
  • Do you need to learn how to transition from a 1:1 response to a 1: many?

To participate, you can start in the weeks before the event using hashtag #SMWOgilvy to propose topics and challenge the panel with the questions our industry is currently facing in social customer care. We’ll work with select panel members and a few participants who will be plucked from the audience to interact with this engaging exploration of the science of social, digital strategy, and technology

  • Evan Shumeyko – Director, North  American CRM & Customer Engagement at OgilvyOne Worldwide
  • Jeff Simmermon – Director of Digital Communication, Time Warner Cable
  • Phil Blum – Social Media Customer Care Manager, Time Warner Cable
  • Dave Evans –  VP, Social Strategy at Lithium Technologies
  • Rebecca Lieb – Digital Advertising and Media Analyst at Altimeter Group

Panel title: Marketing Without Words

Time: 6:00pm – 10:00pm

Location: Stollway Event Space, 250 West 39th Street, NYC

Consumers are increasingly communicating with brands using images, not words. Visual platforms like Pinterest and Instagram offer exciting opportunities for marketers to create emotional connections with consumers, driving greater discovery, clicks, and revenue. On February 20, during Marketing Without Words: Social Engagement Through Imagery, industry thought leaders from social’s most successful brands and agencies (speaker lineup below) will come together to discuss the future of social media and how they’re leveraging Pinterest and Instagram to grow their audience, form stronger relationships with consumers, and drive serious revenue.

  • Kristin Fernholz, Managing Partner, Fashmark
  • Kate Gold, Social Media Director, Food Network
  • Jamie Gutfreund, Chief Strategy Officer, The Intelligence Group, CAA
  • Adam Hirsch, SVP, Emerging Media & Technology, Edelman Digital
  • Irfan Kamal, Senior Vice President, Social@Ogilvy
  • Summer Krecke, Director of Content Strategy, Digital Brand Architects
  • Jon Lombardo, Social Media COE, Leader, General Electric
  • Danielle Trencher, Senior Social Media Manager, Meredith Inc.
  • Farryn Weiner, Director of Social Media, Worldwide, Michael Kors

February 21st

Panel title: The Gif That Keeps on Giving

Time: 12:30pm – 2:00pm

Location: Helen Mills Theater, 137-139 W 26th Street NYC

Summary: Since adding some of the first animation to websites of the 80’s and 90’s, the animated Gif has enjoyed a renaissance in the age of Social Media. Emphasizing simple wit rather than flashy technology, animated GIFs have also become increasingly popular with advertisers. Our presenters will look at brands’ and agencies’ use of animated gif advertising and ask what’s next for this resilient medium.

Panel title: Masterclass Community Management 3.0 – The Evolution the Most Dynamic Role in Marketing

Time:  2:00 – 3:15pm


SMW Global HQ – NYC

125 West 18th Street

New York, NY 10011

Summary: Calling all community managers! It’s one of the most dynamic roles in the marketing industry, and as the social media landscape continues to evolve, so do the community manger’s responsibilities and required skills. This interactive class, led by two of Social@Ogilvy’s community management experts, will focus on “Community Management 3.0” – the new job description, new and common challenges, industry leaders putting it to practice, real-life scenarios for discussion and more to prepare you to take your brand to the next level.

  • Ashley Hurst, Director of Business Development & Account Director, Social@Ogilvy
  • Dhara Naik, Account Supervisor, Social@Ogilvy

Panel title: The British Pub Quiz Hosted by Chingwag

Time: 6:00 -7:30pm

Location: Ogilvy & Mather Theater

Summary: The famous, or should that be infamous, British Pub Quiz, dive deep into your brain to fish out those gems of knowledge, you know you once knew, but can’t remember how. Updated especially for SMWNYC, this quiz, hosted by Chinwag, is a chance to pit your social media wits against the crowd with a few British-themed brainteasers to win the title of social media brainbox. It’s a networking event, a workshop, a seminar and a bit of fun all-rolled into one with a few drinks to oil the wheels. It’s a chance to meet, mingle and get-to-know the group of Brits taking part in the Digital Mission to SMWNYC, a group of the UK’s leading digital startups and agencies, looking to launch and expand in New York. There’s prizes for the winning teams and a chance to enjoy a drink, test your brain power, meet, chat and connect, so come on down and join the Brits in one of our favorite past times.

February 22nd

Panel title: Contextual Awareness – What Is The Future of Social Intelligence?

Time: 2:30 – 4:30 pm

Location: Business and Entrepreneurship Hub at Bloomberg

731 Lexington Avenue

New York, NY 10022

Summary: How can social data make you and your phone smarter? How do apps such as Google Now (& Google Glass) easily take disparate data sources and help enhance your life? How does all this information make your life more efficient? The panel will discuss what current solutions exist as well as what is to come and what’s the timeline.

  • Gemma Craven, Executive Vice President, Social@Ogilvy
  • Stuart Tracte, Account Director, Social@Ogilvy
  • Brett Martin, Co-Founder & CEO, Sonar
  • Greg Wester, EVP Business Development, GM Research, Mobile Posse
  • Wesley Barrow, Co-Founder, Nomi


February 18th

Panel title: Hyperlocal: The key success factor of the web of tomorrow?

Time: 3:30pm – 4:30pm

Location: Palais Brongniart – Petit Auditorium – Paris

Summary: Connect together two people thousands of miles away, as initially appeared to be the greatest achievement of the internet. Anyway, today the web allows each user to know the right plan restaurant at the corner of the street, the essential information of the football club of his neighborhood or that of his friends walk within 30 meters. Finally, hyperlocal has become a very strong trend of Web 2.0. This dimension is particularly important now for social networks trying to provide relevant information to their users. The hyperlocal did he become the niche social web of tomorrow? Is it enough to be hyper to be relevant to users?

  • Moderator: David Mennesson, Director Tellmewhere
  • Rasmus Michau, Founder, bonjourbonjour.net
  • Natalie Rastoin, Managing Director, Ogilvy France
  • Raphael Chenol, Head & Tablets New Media, Mobility Services Directorate, PagesJaunes
  • Jerome Léger, Founder Admoove

February 21st

Panel title: Crisis communication in the event of social media

Time: 2:00pm – 2:45pm

Location: Palais Brongniart – Petit Auditorium – Paris

Crisis communication has always existed. Nevertheless, the emergence of the internet and social media in particular has upset its fundamentals. They have indeed brought the crisis communication in a temporality much narrower and require today unprecedented responsiveness to the risk of mistakes. Social media should they be media communication around a crisis? How to manage the immediacy while keeping the mastery of this communication?

Eric Maillard, Directeur Général, Ogilvy PR

Panel title: Social CRM: real communication tool or customer service?

Time: 3:00pm – 4:30pm

Location: Palais Brongniart – Petit Auditorium – Paris

Historically limited by the media (mail, telephone…), the customer relationship is under going a revolution with social media. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and forums are all means of expression for dissatisfied customers. Brands are now faced with new forms of interaction with their customers and prospects through social platforms for the new generation. What are the challenges of social CRM? What practice sand tools used are they different from traditional CRM? What are the best practices?

Washington DC

February 22nd

Panel title: It’s Not Just About Likes: Measuring the Effectiveness of Social Media

Time: 9am – 10am

Location: Ogilvy Washington DC

Summary: Generating great content and engaging social media conversations can be exciting, but does it affect the behavior of your target audience? Is all of your social media activity resulting in your desired actions? In this session we’ll take a look at a framework for measuring social media efforts to gauge their effectiveness at creating real behavior change, not just engagement.

Panel title: Juggling Social Media Across Cultures

Time: 11am – 12pm

Location: Ogilvy Washington DC

Summary: Take a dozen social platforms, multiply by distribution technologies, add in multiple languages and then divide by cultural differences both subtle and overt and you’ve got a social media manager with a heart attack. Join Ogilvy, Noor, the World Bank, USAID and more to calculate the keys to success.

Panel title: Transportation in a Shared Economy

Time: 2pm – 3pm

Location: Ogilvy Washington DC

Summary: The Taxicab Commission is battling Uber, a public bicycle rental service is changing the face of city streets and any mobile developer with a few hours to spare can use free public data to build an app to compete with Metro’s. What does public transportation look like now that the public — and not the city — is firmly in charge?

Panel title: Show, Don’t Tell: The Rise of the Visual Web

Time:  4pm – 5pm
Location: Ogilvy Washington DC

Summary: With the rapid popularity of Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram, 2012 was a breakout year for visual content marketing. As social audiences access more and more social content through mobile devices, consumption habits trend toward succinct content with strong imagery and design. Learn how to make a picture worth a thousand words — and figure out how to cut through the legalese of those Terms of Service (ahem, Instagram…) and learn who really owns and can profit from the pictures you post.


February 20th

Panel title: What makes great social?

Time: 4:30pm – 5:30pm

Summary: There is much debate about what drives memorable social media marketing. Is it an idea built on a social insight? A social campaign that drove sales? An experience that leveraged the latest platform? Join three social brand managers as they unveil the secret ingredients that drive social for their brands. Networking event to follow the session.

3 Insights From #TumblrCEO David Karp

#TumblrCEO David Karp visited Social@Ogilvy New York last week to share some of the key drivers of Tumblr’s explosive growth.

1. Keep Conversations Positive and Authentic

Karp believes, “Commenting is flawed. It slows conversation, and can be pernicious.”

As a result, Tumblr only offers users the ability to either reblog or “heart” content.  This strategy prevents negative comments and focuses user attention on a natural conversation flow, which helps explain why the average Tumblr blog receives an amazing nine (9) reblogs.

As a comparison, the industry average is 0.83 comments per blog post on other blogging services, says Karp.

Here’s an example of a creative illustration that has been reblogged almost 2,800 times.

2.  Celebrate the Artist

According to Karp, “there are 150 million Tumblr users across the globe, 60% of the audience is currently international.”

However, what really stands out is how 75% of page views on Tumblr are from logged-in users.  The strategy of developing a community is clearly working.  People log in because they want credit for their creations and don’t want to be anonymous when they comment on other’s work.

As a comparison, YouTube is currently seeing approximately 1% of views that come from logged-in users.

3. The Secret Weapon

According to Karp, ‘Tumblr Radar is like your friend who says, “Hey, have you seen this yet?’”

As a result, “the Tumblr Radar is the most sought-after spot in our network” because it showcases the most creative and interesting media in the network.

From a reach perspective, the Tumblr radar generates over 120 million daily pages across mobile and desktop devices. Cream rises to the top, as the Tumblr Radar is only updated a few times a day with only the best content.

More from the #TumblrCEO event: