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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Secret to Wordpress Success: Interview With Matthew Mullenweg

I watched the interview of Matt Mullenweg, the Founder of WordPress with Chris Valerio of Bloomberg Venture and tried to translate the video into text. Hoping this could be a help to fellow online marketer whom also would like to know the Secret to Wordpress Success.

Translated: Cris Valerio Interview with Matt Mullenweg (Bloomberg Venture, broadcast March 28th, 2011)
Video Resource: http://wordpress.tv/2011/03/28/bloomberg-mullenweg/

"An interview with Matt Mullenweg, the Founder of Web Development Company Automattic and its leading project Wordpress which is grown into the internet giant this day viewing as itself by south west in 2005.

Matt: WordPress is a publishing platform for the web. It’s a free and open source way that you can make a blog or really any website you can imagine.

You guys host 12% of the Web essentially. I wanna know the type of overhead that it takes to maintain infrastructure like that. For that much of the web.
We’re lucky on that WordPress is related skilled well so it’s relatively efficient and so even though we have 13 hundreds and 50 servers that’s relatively small number compare to numbers of service that google has or amazon has on the things that they’re doing.  It’s also true that, the cost is relatively low for us.  So I think our total infrastructure cost or are liken to a 300-400 thousands a month and when you think about that’s nothing! 10 years ago, it would been the 10 million dollars a month. And I don’t know if we would be around just because it would been so much more expensive.  Every year get cheaper and cheaper to do what we do. In fact sometimes we get rid of source.

How many employees do you have right now?
So we’re now at 80 people and I believed that across 62 cities.

How do you run a company like that? How do you managed, The HR.. What does it look like?

It was natural evolution for us. Because we cannot have open source project and how open source project works. The Best example for regular folks is like the way a  Wikipedia. I mean you have something that thousands of people are contributing to from all over the world and it’s with a comment and what you created together is better on what you can create if you work by your own. ""Wordpress is like that applied to software, Open source is that applied to software. So as we are starting and there are people spreading out all over, I think the initial folks are Vermont, Ireland, Texas, San Francisco. I mean why not keep working that way.

As a business it evolves a little bit differently. So for example, whenever one has no email, all the emails I get from other people. We used blogs actually its wordpress, instead of coordinate our work to each other. There’s a team in wordpress called 1P2 theme.com – It’s a FREE Open Source. Somewhat like twitter in a box. It’s like our own internal twitter – And what people do is they post what they’re working on, mock up of new products,  different ideas, conversation they had, and after that I post, or talk to them and moreover and can turn into a whole thread about someone new one in the company is talking about that. It’s a pretty cool way to communicate, coz its better on email. Because you can have a rich text powerful conversation that are archived and indexed so let’s say someone has to join the company I don’t have to give them a gigabyte worth of email they can just read to the archive or blog and catch up on everything we’ve been talking about for the past year and Its better than chat coz its stay synchronet. People will just drop by as they need be.

What is this that you want to say a lot is that WordPress is not just about blog it’s really website, right? And one idea that carries over really really well to is not just about you’re talking about solution, internal business solution but also how many media companies have adopted WordPress to used as their website versus blog like GigaOM, Mashables, CNN, NBC Sports, was that something just to happened in the beginning or is there a marketing at work that you thought this is something that would be helpful for them.
Actually we never good in marketing. It’s something we’re still running. But it always comes from the bottom up. So what happened is that WordPress first and foremost is created for the end user. Someone has options. And it’s small and it’s easy and cheap. They’ll join our IP program which really is inexpensive or something like that. And we’ll be like a Blogger in a corner. And everyone used it loves it. Wow! we can launch a website in a few days versus the 3 months we used to take with a custom CMS and outside vendor or something like that. And it really empowers folks and then it just starts being a larger and larger portion of their web partner."

"What is this thing that we’ve seen would really come to the four and the last 2-3 to 4th years is microblogging, right? So you have site not only twitter but also tumblr and a bunch of this other sites. Severally blogs are not is coming as perhaps this micro blog we’re you can just post a picture or just post a quote. How have does that played into the development of WordPress and the product that you offer.It is something particular with our latest released, 3.1. We’re starting corporate a lot more. I started micro blogging probably like 6-7 years ago with my own blog. With these days I have little short entries or just short links something that I can start very quickly coz I was get busier and busier with WordPress. I don’t have the time to write a longer entry. And I think that there is more of those posts it’s just the function of the link. It’s much easier to just click the button and post the link than it is just actually write something around it. So there always be a sort of a proportionally more of those than there is longer post. But the cool there is that on WordPress you can debug.

So how WordPress is working on this world is kind of a Digital Hub. So you have your own domain in an open source software that you can have complete freedom to control over.  And what you can do is that you can post something on that and we can auto post than on Facebook, twitter and everything else. So you can have the distribution of this new mechanism that undeniably cool. Like who doesn’t use twitter and facebook everyday? But, you still get people coming back to your own site. And you have the Ultimate control of your destiny there. It is not something that Facebook should turn off tomorrow if they want, or that twitter aside here comes in terms of service, it’s YOU."

How WordPress Got it starts

"So let’s talk a little bit about just kind of the beginning how you guys started. Because you actually founded WordPress.org in 2003. Talk to me a little bit about you were in Houston Texas, University of Houston, coding a way on your dorm room give us the paint of a picture.
I was blogging and the software I was trust them a little bit and I felt it could be easier and it could be more adjustable to folks and the lead developer of the software has started working on it and I  team up with this other guy name Mike Little spoken England. And we’re started working together and that what would become WordPress.

And you guys met obviously online, I’m assuming?
It actually, we never really  been interact one on one. But I have done a blog post saying you know “wanna be great to have something that had the ease of use of a blog. Which is actually the only one still around that I mentioned and then the flexibility will move with faith. Elegant of text pattern and the flexibility will be there too which also I was using. And he left the comment saying are you serious about this? Why not? I love to help.

What was it that you we’re doing? And what was it WordPress.Org become as kind of an open source location.
So at the time if you wanted a website you’re either coding all the page by hand, manually and if you want to update the title of your site it update like thirty different round or you’re running this really complex web script that would require more coding knowledge and things like that. And what we tried to do is just to push man to make it easy so instead of going to configuration panel and change of something that you want to change let’s say the title of your site you can just open a web page and update it. Which now, sounds so ridiculously. Delivery that time was a big deal.

"I want you to take me through How WordPress.Org eventually became WordPress.com and took about 2-3 years and obviously it took up. So talk to me a little bit about how you went just from working on that little apartment to really scale to it in a level that you did job out of school and worked on fulltime?
What happened was about a year and half maybe 2 years in the WordPress I visits San Francisco for the first time and it was just like knock like I could imagine some place where there just one have passion about the web as I was. And when I was out there, I  visited google, and yahoo, and cnet and  all the different company  and when I return to Houston a few company fall upon and contact me and the most interesting opportunity was CNET and because there were media company, they were completely ok with the retaining of the intellectually property right to the software creator, WordPress. So I can still create open source and continue distributing the WordPress which is obviously the most important thing to me on that time. They offer me a job and it was just you know this is the job I can help to get and in a few years when I graduate or I can do this now and move to San Francisco

And so you move out to San Francisco and you start working for CNET and I guess tell me how that in 2005 you decided to fund a company Automatic which basically kind of the grandfather of WordPress and several other sites

Ultimately it’s the son, the grandson of WordPress. I learned the terms of CNET and its brands but I also wanted to be more control of with my own destiny. WordPress has really started to take off. And it became obvious that there was some Commercial opportunity around more than just have this free software that people can download and upload and etc. There we’re businesses that starting to use it and CNET was starting to use it, Big People starting to use it. So we have this idea what if we can make WordPress just one Click easy to use. You just put on your email and have a blog seconds later "

"Was it scares for you Matt coming from Houston world not a massive taxing coming from the music industry. How do you navigate all of that?
I think we are very fortunate and that we didn’t need money in the very beginning and we have a full support partners. These people who really understood the core mission of wordpress first and foremost which is to democratize publishing and how Automatic was fit in to that world so was something you know that we gonna take for free in charge of or delivery for existing user.

If it’s an open source how you’re making a money from WordPress?
I think the value shifts from being just about the code. And so that intellectual property is all open to everyone. We make services around that. We provide different toss from those folks, it could be back up and security, it could be anti spam, or it could just be additional functionality that makes your blog better or your site more performance. Those are just thing that like are a razor blade to a razor’s workout.

You make money from different types of services that you’re offering. What a margin looks like in that type of business? When your service is something for that is free.
Well none of the point in our business where we really think about margin or anything like that.

"So you’re not casual positive at this point
When that blocked But is just sort of function how quickly  we can hire rather than focusing on our profit margin or anything like that, really It’s 12% of the web, but I want that to be 20, 30, 40% and I really believe that the web has a whole than open source platform we can built on.

I wanna know what is more important for you guys or for a service such as you offer? The number of unique people that are building a site or the number of people that visiting the site. Which one matter to you?
Pages have metric that important thing . If you want to, its easy you go to website and theres a slide show and you have to click on every single slide you just throw 18 pages instead of 1.  I think there’s a metric that’s has going away a little bit. Unique, we think about a lot. We have a half a billion visitors to about  call it 10 million bloggers what happening there is that every single blogger prosper cause WordPress is the highest in the market or because they invest more time creating the contents or anything like that can gather much more audience and I think is the medium secondary.
The Medium showed it’s all about what you want as a consumer but for your perspective as a business owner that medium obviously drive certain number of unique views or whatever will drive money toward your company depending on kinds of service window or stuff like that of the site So we can create amazing experience for you to offer. Just be invisible. Get out of the way. Like it should be just something that you think about the concept, you think about what your writings, you think about your message more than the software you’re using then you’ll be successful. And on other that we can credit are really fantastic experience for your visitors so the site should load instantly.

You know, if there’s gonna be a slideshow for them it should have be on the same page rather than reloading every single time and being slow just to drive more pages  when things like that there optimizing for the wrong metrics. And I truly believe that you optimize for the users experience. For happiness really of people using your product or visiting your product. And in a long term you figure out the business model because ultimately it also something more more  of the web and more more people in time will be in your property.

You’re obviously a very smart individual so there has to be some kind of watching what other people are doing and who do you consider competition?
I think innovation comes from everyone. Ahm.. everything that WordPress has ever done has been done before. There’s really nothing original. And that because WordPress does so many different things for so many different people, it could be with different folks to different level. So on the open source CMS side to other open source CMS it’s called Drupal Joomla  and the sort of next generation publishing site we compete with twitter, thumbnail, posterous, squarespace,  all of these folks  it doesn’t really the big one and I’m also watching out for the next little thing, the next kiddie Houston building a CMS who has just have a little idea about it or think things differently and I tried to learn from all those.

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