(Founder Stories) Tumblr's David Karp: My Heroes Are Steve Jobs And Willy Wonka

Some Internet wunderkinds don’t bother to finish college. Tumblr founder David Karp dropped out of high school, and now runs one of the fastest growing publishing platforms on the Web. In our final segment from this week’s Founder Stories (also watch parts I, II, and III), Karp answers some of Chris Dixon’s rapid-fire questions in the video above. He talks about his best business decision ever (shutting down Tumblr’s profitable, niche, Web development business), why he has trouble sleeping, and how hiring the youngest, most brilliant engineers will become Tumblr’s “biggest recruiting advantage.”

On this last point, Karp says when Tumblr gets to “Google-scale” and Google is still only hiring Ph.Ds, “I want to grab 16-year-olds that are going to be brilliant and help them get there.” What about engineers with at least a college degree? Karp isn’t anti-education so much as he isn’t seeing colleges churn out the talent he needs. “The bigger problem is college isn’t making very good engineers and that is what this industry needs,” he says.

We also learn that Karp’s biggest heroes are “Steve Jobs and Willy Wonka.” Jobs makes total sense. Karp grew up being “obsessed with Steve Jobs keynotes” and the art of “the reveal.” But Willy Wonka? “It’s sort of the same as Steve—the idea that there is this magical factory, and you can’t begin to imagine what went into these things,” he explains. And, by the way, he thinks “Apple is way scarier” than Willy Wonka’s factory.

In addition to the rapid-fire questions above, you can listen to the full interview below (which we’ve already posted as separate clips over the past few days):