Matt Mulenweg Interview: The Future of WordPress

Presenters
John Battelle, Exec Chairman Federated Media
Matt Mullenweg, Automattic/ WordPress

WordPress has become more than just a blog. There are 13-thousand + themes that make it more than that. Currently about 12% of the web is powered by WordPress.

Stats:
How many people go to WordPress.com?
29-million uniques/month 330-million/month on WordPress.org

It’s invisible when at it’s best and it’s just a tool. It’s all about the people who create it.

Some bloggers said blogging is dead
There are a lot of different mechanisms for publishing on the internet. WordPress adds a blog every 2 seconds. As people grow more comfortable with publishing, the number of bloggers grows as well.

People say blogging is dead because of Tumblr and Twitter.
Tumblr
– It’s a fantastic product and works really well for photos. Tumblr gets about 90 page-views per visitor and currently are ahead of WordPress.
Twitter – They have integrated the reading/writing experience. You are one step away from writing when reading.
What have these services inspired you to do with WordPress?
It has made us pay a lot of attention to mobile. Twitter gives you everything your friends say very very quickly.

Ads on WordPress.com
Ads only show at the bottom of a post for those coming from a search engine direct to a permalink and are not using Firefox. The ads are needed to pay the bills, but they don’t want them to be totally intrusive. In Twitter, ads are tweets. In WordPress they are just another smaller thing on the page. The goal is to show as few ads as possible.

How else do you make money?
Upgrades. Akismet, and video services. It is a user saying, “This is valuable” and they open up their wallets and give money.

Jetpack
A new plugin for wordpress that brings the best stuff into a single plugin for wordpress.org – things that have been in wordpress.com for a while. The goal is to have feature parity between .com and .org

Guided Transfer
For $99 we will help you move off wordpress.com and get you out on your own hosting.

Recent DDOS
A botnet was pointed at wordpress.com filling up the “tubes.” It was possibly politically motivated (Vietnamese sites). It was mainly coming from China. Turns out it was not politically motivated. It was some gaming related site.

Your story is similar to others (own company with lots of venture, young)? What have you learned by being the young tech founder?
It started at SXSX in 2002 when 19yrs old. It started in Houston and was good to be outside Silicone Valley. The more I’ve given away, the more I’ve gotten back. It was built on an existing open source product. They got so much out of that open platform they were building on that it made sense to give back.

Talk a bit about WordCamp
Started about 5 yrs ago in San Francisco, and wanted to do an even like everyone else.  Could we create a free, or cheap conference to help the community to exchange knowledge. Now they are happening all over the world. They are mainly community driven. We’ve created a template to help other people do them.

Twitter Questions:

Can you deflect future attacks?
We always learn something. We now have a better relationship with the Tier 1 providers to make it better next time.

I want to know about the future of WordPress!
3.1 just came out, 3.2 work hasn’t started. Things to come… media! Image handling, video handling, audio handling. Full-screen mode improvements to make it a really great writing experience. First users are authors (bloggers) everything else will follow.

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