I was recently in Hong Kong for a tech conference where I had the chance to meet Matt Mullenweg. For those of you who don’t know who Matt is, Matt took a piece of open source blogging software 12 years ago and started modifying it and improving it, and eventually turned it into WordPress, the content management software which powers 24% of all websites on the internet today.
Matt is the CEO of Automattic, which is the company that manages wordpress.com and offers a range of products and services that are part of the WordPress ecosystem. Automattic today is valued at over a billion dollars.
Matt runs a very different company, and that’s something I go into with him in this conversation. For the most part, noone needs to go into an office. Their 400 employees work at home or in shared offices in dozens of countries around the world. Matt hopes to scale that up to 4,000 someday.
They also rarely use email and instead use an internal blogging platform they created called P2 which they use to communicate.
In the first half of the conversation we talk a lot about WordPress and Matt’s vision and plans for WordPress, and for his company, Automattic.
In the second half of our conversation we talk about writing. Matt talks about a bunch of things, like:
- Why writing is one of the most important skills he looks for in the people that he hires
- He talks about the importance of writing to his work as the CEO of a company that is now valued at a billion dollars
- He goes through his own writing process and shares some of the books that have inspired him to become a better writer
- And he explains why he believes that “an ugly blog with incredible content will win over a beautiful blog with crappy content”.
A couple quick announcements
The first is the music. This is the first time I’m playing this piece on my podcast. It’s composed and performed by the Grammy award-winning jazz pianist and composer Gonzalo Rubalcaba. My wife and I met Gonzalo at his studio in Miami Florida last year, where he played this piece for us. I created a video of him playing the piece which you can find on Youtube here. That link will take you to Youtube where you can watch him perform the piece, which he dedicated to his son, Joao.
The second thing I wanted to mention is about me. I got a nice little shout out last week from a fellow writer: Justin Bariso, a columnist for inc.com, included me as one of the six writers who he says “can make you smart, more productive and make you laugh”. He had some kind things to say about my writing and I was humbled to be one of the writers on his shortlist.
If you want to check out his article just go to writewithimpact.com/inc and that’ll take you to his article on inc.com.
If you’d like to follow Justin’s writing head over to Twitter where he’s @justinjbariso, or find him on LinkedIn.
Matt’s blog: ma.tt