Interview With Matthew Mullenweg – The Founder of WordPress
This is an awesome interview. I am most impressed with Matt’s candidness – clearly he has not let all his success go to his head. Matt is clearly a no fluff kind of guy - look at his powerful / to the point replies to our questions. Sort of explains why he was responsible for creating one of the simplest, easiest to use blogging platforms in the world. Lets face it – we all love WORDPRESS!
First off – can we have a little background information on you Matthew – Where you live? How old you are? (if you don’t mind answering) What motivates you? What inspires you?
I live in San Francisco and I’m 24 years old. I’m motivated by working with great people towards and democratizing publishing on the web.
1) Many of us are WordPress users but can you give us some of the early history of WordPress and how it has evolved so quickly to become the leading blogging software?
Early WordPress was very slow, the software was very basic but from the beginning we tried to focus on the user experience. But it wasn’t a quick evolution at all, it’s taken 5 years to get where we are now!
2) If you were starting a Project like WordPress again, is there anything in particular that you would do differently?
I would try to centralize more of the add-ons like plugins and themes earlier on. We do it now but we were very tardy on it.
3) Tell us about Automattic Inc – just about everyone has heard of WordPress, but not so many people know about Automattic and the many other software projects it is involved in.
Automattic is a company I created to pursue some of the more commercial interests around the WordPress ecosystem, such as offering services like stats and anti-spam and providing WordPress hosting on WordPress.com.
4) Do you have any suggestions / resources you can recommend young programmers / developers who are working with open sourse?
Two books I’d recommend:
Producing Open Source Software by Karl Fogel
Open Sources 2.0 by Chris DiBona
Between those two you’ll learn everything you need to know about running, participating in, and using Open Source.
5) What do you consider the best opportunity / language for young web developers to be getting involved in right now.
Learn Python and do your project in PHP.
6) What is next for WordPress? What next for Blogging Software? What kind of organisation do you feel WordPress / Automattic will be 10 years from now?
WordPress is coming up on its 2.7 release, which I think will provide a solid foundation for our growth in both user-base and feature set in the coming years.
I hope that in 10 years WordPress will be ubiquitous on the web, quietly and invisibly running a large portion of content on the web.
For Automattic I hope that we continue to scale elegantly, both on the people side and the infrastructure side.
7) Do you have any suggestions for coping with set-backs, negative experiences?
There’s nothing magic I think – sometimes things are rough and it’s just not easy. The two things are remember to keep perspective, the world is a big place and many of the things we think are real problems are actually results of things we’re lucky to be experiencing at all.
Second, load this link a few times:
Always makes me smile.
8) Do you have any favourite business related or personal development related books that you can recommend to other entrepreneurs?
Recently I’ve enjoyed:
* Devil Take the Hindmost: A History of Financial Speculation by Edward
* The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas
* The Halo Effect by Phil Rosenzweig
* Leaders & Followers by Dick Ruch
9) What is the best advice you have ever been given?
There’s no such thing as a wrong note, and to focus on people first.
10) Have you any plans (personal or business) that you can share with us about your future plans / goals / lifetime goals?
Right now I’m trying to catch up with uploading all the photos I’ve taken in 2008 and spend some more time with the piano and sax over the holidays.