Cautionary Tales Go Down Easy

Because nobody listens and nobody learns.

The only lesson that matters is eventually everything dies. Photo: daniel.stark/Flickr

Tumblr’s stumbles under Yahoo may go down as a cautionary tale, both for the perils of a large corporation buying a hot startup and for Silicon Valley’s belief that any social network reaching hundreds of millions of people will inevitably generate boatloads of cash one day.”

— Go ahead and read Mashable’s piece about how Yahoo derailed Tumblr, but know this: There are no cautionary tales. There is laughter and there is forgetting, and that’s all there is. We do the same stupid things over and over because we are able to convince ourselves that this current scenario is somehow distinct from the previous scenario in which the stupidity was so obvious because a) we’re smarter or b) it’s a different environment now or c) something something technology. We are idiots who walk into the same open trenches where thousands of others dropped down before, sometimes while we are reading the history of previous ditch-plummets. It’s nice to think that there are lessons we learn, but learning, like love, is a lie we tell ourselves to keep from being reminded that our lives are largely lacking in significance. Anyway, there’s a great bit in the Mashable piece where a Yahoo exec tells the Tumblr kids that they could “create the next generation PDF.” You couldn’t make it up!