How Tumblr Changed My Life


by Tumblr User #2839: The Guy Who Was Hired from a Little Town in Florida to Help Make Internet Joy in New York

In early 2009, I was a burned-out web developer in sunny St. Pete, Florida, secretly fascinated with my popularity on this thing called Tumblr.

That’s when I got an email from Tumblr’s president, asking if he could fly me to New York to meet in person. He wanted to talk about how I might be able to help the company.

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

I was completely blown away, yes, but also nervous. Like, really nervous. It was literally “These people are serious internet startup professionals (ha ha) in the middle of Manhattan, and I’m an awkward, introverted programmer with a silly internet persona! And I’m from Florida!”

I figured they wanted to meet some longtime users and it was just my turn. It’s the only thing that made sense. Having no idea what I could possibly help with is probably the only thing that kept my panic manageable.

One week later, I was on my way, diverted to Orlando due to a technical problem. I actually remember being momentarily pleased by this inconvenience, because I’d psyched myself up to the point of thinking I could literally solve anything I set my mind to and we’re gonna fix this goddamn plane right now, people!

That passed, and I eventually landed safely in New York. I took my first Subway ride from Tribeca to Tumblr HQ. I met the team. Played with some new Tumblr template code. Froze my ass off. Also, I fit in.

That night, I attended one of the first Tumblr meetups. I recognized some people. Some people recognized me. When I finally got back to the hotel at the end of the night, I emailed my mom to say that I was happier than I’d been in a long, long time.

A few weeks later, Tumblr’s president called and invited me back for good.

What’s your Tumblr story? Has Tumblr changed your life in any profound or personal ways? We want to know — and if you’re game, your story could become part of STORYBOARD, a big secret project we’re working on. Post your story (or your gif, or video) with the STORYBOARD tag, or if you’d like to submit privately, use this form.

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