The Public Dashboard

I really like how Tumblr publishes some key stats publicly every month in their own stylized dashboard.


I also like the way they foreshadow upcoming product features:


As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

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#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. andyswan

    And yet, a video is rarely worth more than 140 characters.

    1. fredwilson

      Something about instant comprehension

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Indeed. Some of The Economist’s adverts have been superb examples of just that, with an added twist of word-play and intrigue also. Brilliant stuff.

    2. ShanaC…Good art, especially video art, should be worth more and less than the 140. (Bruce Nauman)

  2. garyvaynerchuk

    :)………that is all

  3. chipcorrera

    Inspired by Ray Kroc

    1. fredwilson


  4. Daniel Easterbook

    Love it!!!! Go Tumblr.

  5. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Very nice and effective. Style/design still seems sadly overlooked and neglected in the execution of most web sites/apps. This is one area where we should look and learn re: newspapers/magazines (old media) – not necessarily for a literal replication of, on the web medium, but certainly to study more and be inspired by re: the better design elements of old-school hard-copy.

    1. fredwilson

      I think that is one of NYC’s strengths and differentiators in web services

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Very true. This will become increasingly significant, which bodes well for NYC in this area.

        1. robertavila

          Top graphic designers can tell you precisely where your eye will go on a page and why, can explain exactly what will be seen on a page and what will be missed, why one type face will communicate and another will confuse, how one set of colors supports your intent, while another derails it. On the other hand there are numerable graphic artists that can make something look prettier often much prettier but to no particular purpose or end. These artists are often working with clients who in turn have no clear idea as to what exactly is important, nor even what the message IS that they wish to convey. As a result Darwinian forces take over and people simply imitate what has been successful. Occasionally some one will try something truly different and it will either work or fall on its face. If it works it is copied. BUT too few have as yet the analytical language or intuitive understanding to address questions of look and feel and graphics with the same clarity of vision and purpose that they bring to the business plan. This is an amazing fact given the breadth and scope of the technological breakthroughs in digital graphics, type faces, animation, etc. etc. There is so much we have yet learned to use…

          1. ShanaC

            It takes years of practice. Look I’m trying to (partially) cross over into graphics work. After drawing experience in studio (fine), where they can and will grill you, I have a pretty well developed eye, but I still can’t always tell you why things are wrong. I know they are though. It is frustrating as hell, let me tell you…

          2. robertavila

            When you find someone who really knows what they are doing they can take your breath away…

          3. ShanaC

            That’s true of all good art and science. It’s inherently deep. With hugenew areas to discover.

        2. Mark Essel

          Should most web startups have a design founder/first employee? Me and Tyler have been wrestling with VictusMedia’s need for a superb designer.

          1. kidmercury

            craigslist. 100 million+ USD per year in revenue.wikipedia. one of the largest, most visited, and most connected web sites in the as necessity? pfft. (but now as for usability…..)

          2. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Good points/examples, Kid’ – yes, they are entirely ‘Fit For Purpose’ – Form Follows Function and all that. One could include eBay in that list of examples. A truly awful end-user experience – ’twas ever thus – but people don’t visit such sites for leisure/pleasure.However, what is the ‘function’ of many of the web apps we’re engrossed with? None, as such, when compared to the objective service provided by the examples you give – hence leisure/etc oriented web sites need much more ‘design’ to stimulate and engage the user.Usability? I am not sure about that as a term (even though I realise it is an acknowledged term in this context) as to me that relates more to the ergonomics/mechanics of a web site/app. The Design/User Experience is where most sites seem to desperately need improvement.

          3. Mark Essel

            I feel it’s important to aspects of VictusMedia, but something we can skimp on until we find a compelling utility/fun application of the information we’re juggling.

          4. ShanaC

            Stop skimping, it drives real people crazy. The utility is partially driven by the design process.

          5. Mark Essel

            The trick is designing an interface to an underlying utility. Without the utility, it’s just fluff. I can pay for some gorgeous fluff now, but it’s based on an unknown compelling offer (that offer will affect how they design it). Think gorilla in a prom dress, under the dress they’re still a gorilla.Ugly sites can say beautiful things. Once we offer enough to make opting in worthwhile (minimum compelling offer/minimum viable product you know the deal), no expense will be spared on a smooth flow of new visitor, to happy returning user.Everyone has different tastes so by definition they all won’t be happy. The gamble is that enough will enjoy our streamlined view to hop aboard the Victus Media Adaptive Web crazy train.I’ve nearly got a new visual interface ready to go live (image browser of users & lists), and Tyler cooked up a groovy article browser so we haven’t completely ignored the importance of design.Ps: appreciate all the helpful feedback and time spent communicating what would be more appealing to a larger audience. Your web vision is genuine & inspiring.

          6. kidmercury

            agree mark. ugliness ftw!

          7. ShanaC

            The utility is often tied into the design. They often go hand in hand…And while there are ugly sites that say beautiful things. they have a deepbeauty that makes you stare and come back. That’s what is called uglybeautiful and is often shocking and rare. However, that ugliness is oftenpart of the design process and there for explicit reasons.And while I know people have different tastes, I still hope that one day Ican move people to act differently than they every did before. or to thinkdifferently. Or something. through the design process. Through theinherent craft of the object…just a thought…

          8. Mark Essel

            sweet. That’s our take so far-> we can build something that’s useful fun first, and then pretty it up later, like putting a gorilla in a prom dress.

          9. Carl Rahn Griffith

            “Gorilla in a prom dress”, lol – never heard that before 🙂

          10. Mark Essel

            It’s our new company motto at Victus Media.Tyler’s busy implementing open communication standards (open social protocols like OStatus and Salmon, I covered a few open formats a couple of days ago) while I nail down an image interface to twitter streams. Google search api powered images can sometimes be shocking so it’s pretty raw (not live yet, but likely this weekend)

          11. ShanaC

            Marissa Meyers was and is very heavily involved in design, and it shows up in all but the most complicated of matters.

          12. paramendra

            My favorite KidMercury comment to date. 🙂

          13. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Essential, I’d say, Mark – caveat: depending on your target-user profile, as per my comments to Kid’.

          14. Mark Essel

            Appreciate the feedback Carl

          15. Gerald Buckley

            Mark – An important aspect of the founding team is to have a vision of the user’s experience with the site/app. Does that mean the founders have to have design chops of their own? Certainly not. It helps any designer who’s brought in to have the blueprints from the founders though. Outside of Shipley, Zeldman and Veen I’d be hard pressed to name many founders in the web/app space with design credentials.

          16. Mark Essel

            Thanks for the feedback Gerald, much appreciated.It’s a tricky thing to create the right combination of information and tools to materialize a usage pattern that replicates and resonates throughout the web. Both my co-founder and I share roles, but he’s more adept at rails and web frameworks, I’m rapidly learning ruby on rails (I’m pseudo dangerous with ruby now) and a would be javascript hacker.Part of my challenge/charter is putting a dynamic set of images on topics that people and groups of people talk about. I was able to use javascript to dynamically grab images from google search to match to keywords we extract from various social streams. While we used to be a twitter app, but our ideas have always been to expand beyond that start. Now we’re working to be fully web friendly (push and pull streams and feeds).Victus Media will be a discovery portal for user/group centric web content (social + other user desired feeds), effectively an aggregator/information tool that also can serve as a way of users describing their interests (adaptive web). Users can add & delete their own topic tags but that content will be read/write through our api and a feed.

      2. Mark Essel

        NYCs instant blogging competitive advantage over say a west coast instant blogging platform ;)?

      3. Joe Siewert

        Speaking of which, I really like the changes happening on right now. They’ve done a nice job enhancing the history page and adding venue categories.

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Agree. I suspect more people will begin to ‘get it’ now.But, as I commented on my Twitter a year or so ago, I just wish these cool tools had been around a few years ago, when my life was more interesting … 🙂

        2. fredwilson

          Yes. I love the new history page

          1. Mark Essel

            Joe, you’re enthusiasm is the most compelling draw of Foursquare to me.I’ve checked in a few times, but don’t feel the lock in, so I don’t remember/bother to check in often.What groovy stuff would make me need to checkin more often?

          2. Joe Siewert

            Haha, thanks, I appreciate that.I agree that the incentive for checking in right now is fairly minimal as many places are unaware or not engaged with the service and therefore your check in is not that valuable beyond telling friends where you’re at.The analytics tool I mentioned above is an important step to adding more value to the check in. The data and analytics that foursquare can provide is something venues have never had visibility to before. If they can present that data in a meaningful way that helps businesses better understand their customers and trends I think we will see really interesting promotions that will make check-ins much more valuable.See this recent example from a place in Milwaukee. Same idea we tried in the Twin Cites last month, but with even greater results.http://blog.steffanantonas….

          3. Mark Essel

            The magic of getting people to perform a new behavior is what I’m most curious about. There’s a psychological power to great games that break all the other rules.If I can help put together a service that get’s the approval and admiration of one Joe Siewert out of a thousands of visitors, it’ll win.

  6. Eric Leebow

    This would be neat on a billboard in Times Square!

  7. karen_e

    I just love Tumblr. It has so many endearing qualities. It’s nuts to get so fond of a product/service/brand, but it happens! And isn’t that what makes us Americans such ravenous consumers anyway? The ability to love brands?

    1. David Noël

      Why only Americans?

      1. karen_e

        Certainly not *only* Americans, but we are the definitive consumers of the world – notwithstanding our current troubles, I am pretty sure — and have been since, what, the Industrial Revolution?

        1. David Noël

          I’ve been a pretty definite consumer since, what, the moment I could fund my consumption 😉

    2. andyswan

      That and a lot of wealth

      1. kidmercury

        international theft ftw!

  8. David Noël

    The stats are awesome, so happy for Tumblr. Quite intrigued by that second screen, though. Can’t wait to learn what it’s for. I’m ready to pay Tumblr for whichever additional value they can offer to a product I loved for more than 2 years.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      I really must make the time to play with my somewhat dormant Tumblr account.I love what people with a creative bent can do with it – eg, a personal fave of mine is Ben Watt’s.He’s the erstwhile 50% of ‘Everything But The Girl’ and nowadays focused on his own (very cool, if into this genre) DJ/mixing stuff, and his wife, Tracey Thorn, (the other erstwhile 50% of EBTG) is focused on her own music nowadays (which is wonderful, by the way – follow the links in the Tumblr below – is worth a listen if not familiar with her/their work/EBTG).

      1. David Noël

        Really cool, I’ll check it out. Tumblr has an amazing music community within the community and the reblogging dynamics can be a great driver to help make an artist popular. Just look at the Fredfactor, every track he posts/reblogs gets 1000+ plays and 20+ reblogs.

  9. LIAD

    just seeing your tweet ” A picture is worth a thousand words” – i knew the post would relate to that graphic which hit the internet yesterday.tumblr, bar none, has the best graphic design on the internet and i am sure it’s a huge reason for their superb growth.their creative director – is definitely one to watch.

    1. fredwilson


  10. David Noël

    Just wanted to suggest a Fredland group blog on Tumblr for Fredlanders to submit/reblog related posts but the URL is already taken.

    1. Mark Essel

      Great idea David, we could use more community projects to direct our endless energy 🙂

      1. David Noël

        Looks like someone came first, don’t shoot the messenger :)Kid was that you?

        1. kidmercury

          lol, i wish i could say i did something as patriotic as start a group blog on tumblr! but alas, it was not me.

  11. Mark Essel

    I enjoy how Tumblr and Posterous can prompt new bloggers to create a web presence (which we’ve covered before). Although, I prefer the distributed wordpress model for my own site.I have tumblr and posterous blogs too, I use Posterous as a photoblog and Tumblr as you use friendfeed and Buzz Fred.The advantage of Tumblr for non-bloggers is a good interview question.As a user, the stats don’t translate to value. The design and service features are what captures my imagination. And once a service earns that, they just got another free marketing fan.

  12. daryn

    Love the design of the infographic, and really impressive stats, go Tumblr!Can’t wait to see what I can finally pay them a dollar for 🙂

  13. BmoreWire

    I love tumblr, use it every day, just get frustrated because it takes forever to load their dashboard and upload photos. I’ve been so close to dumping them about a dozen times but keep staying because of the SEO i get and the re-blog feature.My wish to Tumblr…..either get faster servers for upload and dashboard…..or keep the features coming so I will ignore the slow load time.

    1. Joe Siewert

      What kind of SEO does tumblr do out of the box? Just curious.

      1. BmoreWire

        well, link url structure and stuff like that. I don’t know, I just know whenever I post a story google picks it up in about an hour or less and with wordpress I would have to install all sorts of plugins and work on url structure robot.txt…..with tumblr it just works.Also, i was referring to the SEO switching cost, so if I dump tumblr, all of the seo I have will be scrapped and re-structured and who knows if I will get the same action from google.

        1. Joe Siewert

          Gotcha. When I setup my WordPress installation I did have to do some messing around with my Apache and WordPress configs to get URLs displaying nice.There definitely is a switching cost to changing platforms once you have built up content and SEO.

          1. fredwilson

            I didn’t swiitch. I just went with a long form blog and a short form blog (and a microblog)

          2. Mark Essel

            I went with the same blog pattern as Fred. It covers a wide spectrum of sharing channels.

          3. Joe Siewert

            That’s true. For me I’m not sure where a short form blog like tumblr fits in. Between doing long form and micro, it feels like adding a short becomes too much.

    2. fredwilson

      I’m with you. They need to focus on making it snappier

  14. ShanaC

    I have to say one thing: what am I paying $1 for. And how often? I am suspicious. Interested, but suspicious. What is the big change?? I more curious about that…

  15. Duncan Rawlinson


  16. Guest

    Those are some impressive stats! While not a Tumblr user myself, this has certainly piqued my interest…

  17. Avihay

    Yet another reason why I love Tumblr

  18. paramendra

    I am new to Tumblr. I signed up a long time ago, but have only been active for over a month now. It is a listening tool for me.

  19. Jan Schultink

    Quote: “someone who is unemployed or is doing consulting work (which is often the same thing as being unemployed)”This is a stereotype I am often fighting. I am an independent professional, but do my work as a career choice: get to pick the clients I work with and the work I do. I am loving it. My business is unlikely to scale to become a Fortune 500 company, but I am getting so much other value out of it that it is well worth the trade off.The Internet will further fuel the continued growth of people that have left big corporates and are now – for the first time – able to market their skills to a wide audience and becoming credible competitors to their former employers in niche segments.