Yahoo didn’t just buy a company, it validated, to the tune of a billion dollars, the notion that bad business is worth pursuing. The entire concept of what makes something a good idea continues to be inverted, warped, and thrown in a gully. This is the idea economy, remember—the industry of fantasy. It doesn’t have to “make sense.” Money isn’t valuable. Success isn’t lucrative. Profit is pointless. These are the industry’s norms. All you need to do to become a billion-dollar business is make people entertained and vaguely interested.
David Karp did just that. Over 100 million entranced humans blog with Tumblr, and not a single one pays for the privilege. They’re free to swap reality show GIFs, aspirational shopping photos, and masturbate, with only the faintest whisper of marketing reaching their ears.