1. Carl Hancock

    I think that a lot can be learned from what Facebook has done in the mobile space and the conclusions they have come to: multiple apps is the way to go.

    Personally I don’t use the WordPress Reader functionality at all. With the shutdown of Google Reader I switched over to Feedly and never looked back. They have a great web app and great mobile apps. I supplement that with Pocket (getpocket.com) for saving things for future reference.

    I definitely think WordPress could compete with Feedly with it’s Reader but it would take rethinking how it currently works and creating apps specifically for that purpose. Who knows, maybe this is something in the works at Automattic. I’d consider switching from Feedly if it was. But it would have to be as easy and nice to use for both WordPress and non-WordPress powered sites with it’s own standalone mobile app optimized for mobile phones, tablets, etc.

    When you look at the evolution of WordPress and how it’s gone from being used primarily as a blogging tool to being used as a CMS for all kinds of web sites and applications, multiple mobile apps makes perfect sense. Especially when you factor in the wide variety of plugins that people use with their WordPress site. An official WordPress app is going to be able to encompass all of that which is where function specific mobile apps will come into play.

    ManageWP’s mobile app is a perfect example of this.

    Personally I don’t like doing too much writing on my iPad or iPhone so I wouldn’t use the app to do anything more than quick updates or site maintenance. Anything more than that and i’ll be using my laptop. I get that mobile is extremely important, but I don’t think it’s the end all-be all. It’s certainly an important piece of the puzzle that needs to be accounted for.

    I’m looking forward to seeing what Automattic introduces over the next year. It’s been interesting to watch as they’ve had to differentiate WordPress.com itself by introducing new admin tools, etc. specifically for it in order to cater to the market they serve vs. the self-hosted WordPress space.

    As much as WordPress has evolved, I think we’ve only scratched the surface of where it can go. Exciting times.


  2. Jeff Chandler

    It’s been interesting to watch as they’ve had to differentiate WordPress.com itself by introducing new admin tools, etc. specifically for it in order to cater to the market they serve vs. the self-hosted WordPress space.

    Fantastic to see someone else making the same observations I have. I was going to mention this in the article but couldn’t think of a good way to say it. WordPress.com and the open source project are different products serving different needs for different markets. However, in many ways, both are intertwined with features.

    I think of it like the capital Y. WordPress.org is going one way, WordPress.com is going another, but sometimes, the two overlap with the same feature. What I think is fascinating is how long WordPress.com and .org have been able to not be that far apart. However, with Reader and a slew of other specific .com features, the question I have is how long can both projects continue to intertwine before specific .com features force it to become it’s own seperate entity, away from the development timeline of WordPress.org.


    • Carl Hancock

      It’s really already a separate entity, operating on it’s own development timeline and it’s own goals while still being intertwined. WordPress.com is the biggest application built on the back of WordPress the open source project. When you hear people in other open source communities (Drupal, etc.) who claim WordPress isn’t suitable for building a scalable web application on top of they obviously aren’t paying attention because that’s exactly what WordPress.com itself is. That is the beauty of WordPress itself and what it has become.


      • Jeff Chandler

        Well of course I know all that, I didn’t explain myself very well, I normally don’t. I mean, how many more specific WordPress.com features will be added before it doesn’t make sense OR both projects no longer intertwine as much as they do.

        Also in the Forbes interview, Matt mentions having thousands of Automattic employees. What the heck does a thousand or two Automattic employees work on? That’s a crap ton of iteration that’s able to take place.


        • Carl Hancock

          Note: When I refer to simply “WordPress” below it’s in reference to the open source project itself. As we all know it can confuse some LOL.

          WordPress.com will continue to add features and functionality to meet the demands of the market it serves as well as expand upon it, but it doesn’t mean it won’t make sense to continue doing so on top of WordPress. If there is something within WordPress itself that doesn’t meet their needs and it’s something that doesn’t make sense to add to WordPress, they can simply work around it. Which they already do as needed.

          I think there will always be some level of intertwine between the two as WordPress.com is basically a managed hosted web site solution and WordPress is an open source web site solution.

          I don’t see that stopping unless WordPress.com is getting out of the web site business. But it doesn’t mean Automattic is strictly in the web site business.

          Automattic could create entirely new products in entirely new spaces that aren’t directly tied to WordPress.com itself or are loosely tied to it (ie. have some level of integration, or not).

          Look at Google and it’s diversification. Hardware, self driving cars, etc. Look at Facebook with it’s purchase of Oculus.

          So as far as the growth goes and years down the road having thousands of employees, it certainly doesn’t mean thousands of employees working on WordPress.com itself.

          There’s still a myriad of places they could go from a WordPress.com perspective that would require a lot of people in order to make it happen.

          If they wanted to dig much deeper in niche markets is one of them. They’ve dabbled in it with industry specific solutions such as http://www.wordpress.com/restaurants, etc. but they are just that… basic.

          In order to go big in a niche market they would have to go much further than the basics. That takes people. People that know those industries intimately. People that can build those industry specific applications. People that can sell the product to the businesses within that industry.

          That can most definitely be built on top of WordPress and it would most definitely require hyper growth in order to move into multiple industries simultaneously and independently.

          So even without diversification like Google and Facebook into markets you wouldn’t have originally thought they’d move into there is plenty of places Automattic itself could go.


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