Remote Leadership at Tumblr, with Lance Willett

September 30, 2021

In this episode I speak with Lance Willett, Chief Product & Technology Officer at social media platform Tumblr. We talk about remote work, leadership, and, of course, Tumblr 🙂

Lance Willett
Lance Willett, Tumblr

Lance Willett, the Sensible Leader

Lance Willett is a business executive, product manager, and software developer focused on creating high-quality and engaging experiences for people online. His purpose is to help people make beautiful websites — but it’s more than just websites. It’s about freedom, about possibility, and about helping people carve out their own livelihood, whether it’s by making a living through their site or by working in the Automattic ecosystem itself with Tumblr, WordPress, WooCommerce, and Jetpack. Blogging on tech, UX, productivity, leadership, and more at

While the bright, burning light dazzled the crowd, a persistent and sensible voice kept on calmly delivering delightful experiences daily. Routine things done better, because details matter, and changes compound with every signup, every reblog, every share. Captain Sensible championed a deliberate approach to activate a culture of purpose where people do their best work — with an expectation of a positive outcome. This approach didn’t capture the broadest attention. But it actually did some good.

– Lance Willett


Listen to this episode to see Lance’s take on these questions:

  • What does great people or team management look like in a remote organization?
  • What are the key tradeoffs for managing a remote team?
  • What are your general views on “product” vs “project” vs “program” management? How does this impact your work with Tumblr?
  • What’s your leadership philosophy?

We also covered:

  • The history of Tumblr, and developments since its acquisition by Automattic
  • Lance’s priorities: People, Products, Process, and Plan

Links mentioned in this episode

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