On September 22nd, Matt Mullenweg participated in a question and answer session on Product Hunt. Product Hunt is a site that lets users share and discover new products. In the session, Mullenweg answers questions like what advice he’d give to his 20 and 25-year-old self and how he combats burn out. Here are a few highlights from the session.
Nikhil V – Hello Matt, with the upcoming release of the WP REST API in WordPress core, what do you hope to most see built with its capabilities?
Matt Mullenweg – I’m hugely excited about the REST API! Once the infrastructure is in, I think we’ll see really widespread adoption from plugins that right now are creating their endpoints in very ad-hoc ways. Once we iterate a bit more on the core content endpoints and authentication I think we’ll see a lot more specialized interfaces built on WP as like a content kernel, an engine powering a wide array of applications and interfaces you’d never imagine having WordPress behind them today.
Erik Torenberg – If you could go back in time and give advice for your, say, 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself? How about 25?
Matt Mullenweg – To my 20-year-old self I would say to be okay with things building up over time. Something I didn’t appreciate until recently is that there any many productive decades ahead with which to build the things that I feel need to exist in the world. One of the best things I did then was avoid any press or capitalization on my age (to the extent I could) because youth is an ephemeral asset and just a novelty in business.
To my 25-year-old self I would tell him to slow down and think about health more, I burned the candle at both ends that year. I would also say to not get as caught up in mailing list and IRC arguments and discussions, just focus on building.
Sydney Liu – In the early days of WordPress, what was the 20% that got you the 80% of the results?
Matt Mullenweg – There’s no simple answer there, if I had to pick one thing it would be luck.
Kristof Bernaert – How do you see WP about 5 years, or how do you want it to see?
Matt Mullenweg – In 5 years I think that WP will be infinitely easier to use for both power-users, developers, and newbies. You will be able to have a full experience of core, plugins, themes, docs, and support in several dozen languages that will be as large or larger than English. There will be over a million people making their living on top of the platform. Most people will be creating from touch devices, and their content will mostly not come from keyboards (virtual or physical) as an input device.
Tys Bradford – Your accomplishments with WordPress have literally changed the face of the internet and enabled people without programming skills to make beautiful and functional websites. Do you think this could be replicated ever with mobile applications (iOS/Android)? I have seen a few companies try, but none have come close to delivering in the way WordPress is able to.
Matt Mullenweg – Thank you! The ecosystems and app stores for iOS and Android right now are too locked down, and the discoverability and overhead of apps is too distorted, for an approach like WordPress’ to work for mobile applications. The environment for the foreseeable future there is going to favor more centralized apps, my only hope is that at least a few get really successful (including ours) that aren’t advertising-driven.
My Question Was Not Answered
Unfortunately, my question was not answered. However, I’m going to ask it in this post with the hope that he’ll answer it in the comments.
You’ve spent a lot of time, money, and energy trying to create a great mobile experience in WordPress via dedicated apps. As more of the WordPress backend becomes responsive, how will this affect (if any) the priority level of developing the mobile apps versus putting that time and effort into a 100% responsive WordPress backend?
Mullenweg answers a lot more questions than what’s listed above but those are the ones that stand out to me. You can read the entire session on the Product Hunt site.