Matt Mullenweg Hosts Impromptu Q&A Session On Facebook

WordPress co-creator, Matt Mullenweg, stopped by the Advanced WordPress Facebook group and participated in a WordPress edition of ask me anything. After receiving a warm welcome from the group, Mullenweg outlined what types of questions he would answer.

Rules Of Engagement
Rules Of Engagement

Once the gates were opened, the questions started pouring in. Here are a few of my favorites along with Mullenweg’s answers.

What is the most important thing we can do to support and bring value to WordPress?

Everyone really sets their own path. Think about the thing that makes you happiest, what you consider your gift that you can share with the world, or something that you want to learn a lot more about.

What are your thoughts on the businesses and entire industries that are built around WordPress and what opportunities do you see in the future?

I think it’s awesome there are whole industries built on WordPress, that was part of the idea from very early on. It’s counter-intuitive, but I actually think one of bigger opportunities is in consulting and building sites right now. WordPress can get people 90% of the way there, but that last 10% represents a lot of opportunity for clients from the Fortune 500 to the smallest personal sites.

I’m curious about Automattic’s policy about unlimited vacation days. I have never heard of this policy anywhere else. How does that play out? Seems like such an awesome place to work.

I think open vacation policies are becoming more common, here’s an article that covers the pros and cons fairly well and says 1% of companies offer them now: The Pros And Cons Of Unlimited Vacation Policies

I think it really comes down to hiring. With the right people you can have very liberal policies like this because people think about the organization as a whole and do the right thing. If anything we sometimes have to encourage people to take a bit more time off, something I don’t always set the best example of but I’m trying this week. I’ll be completely offline Thursday through Sunday.

Is the Codex really going to disappear eventually?

We’re not going to take down the Codex until we have something better to replace it. It’s more likely you’ll just see more links default to someplace new and Codex traffic will trail off until at some point, we’ll put it into archive mode.

Do you think now that JSON support in WordPress core is coming, should it be used over RSS for building things like Mobile Apps? What you would recommend?

Whether you use the prototype JSON API or RSS for a mobile app I would say depends a lot on what it does. Think of the JSON API more as replacing XML-RPC.

What would be great for everyone is to start to try and build applications on top of the prototype API, and let the team know where you get stuck or find things hard to understand. I’m extremely anxious to have a cleaner API in core, but I feel strongly that it should remain a plugin until we’ve built a few independent third-party applications on top of it when it’s in plugin form, utilizing every aspect of the API, so we know where it works well and where it’s lacking.

This is a lesson I’ve learned from my experience at Automattic. You can never design a perfect API and anticipate all needs, you really need to use it to solve real problems a few times before you can iterate it to have it be something that works well and that you’ll want to support for many years to come.

This is just a sample of the questions and answers within the conversation that took place on Facebook. If you want to see the rest of them, you’ll need to join the Advanced WordPress group on Facebook. It’s free and the moderators are quick to approve new members.

I’d Like To See More Of These Types Of Events

Conversation With Matt
Image Courtesy of Bucky Box

This was just a sample of the questions and answers within the conversation. If you want to see the rest of them, you’ll need to join the Facebook group. It’s free and the moderators are quick to approve new members.

Seeing Mullenweg join the Facebook Group and then participate by answering questions was a shock to me. I know from experience that he likes to hang out where discussions of WordPress are taking place but it’s rare that I see him participate in the discussions, let alone host an impromptu Q&A session.

I’d like to see more of these types of events from Mullenweg whether it be on his blog or through a medium of his choice. Perhaps once a month, he can hold a Q&A session at a different WordPress hangout.

The community can be a fickle bunch but I think it would be beneficial if he participated in more discussions outside of what’s going on in core. In his roundup post, Matt Cromwell hits the nail on the head on what it means to some folks to have a direct conversation with Mullenweg.

I hope Mullenweg drops by again in the future. For him it may have been a quick dip into the WP Community. But for boat loads of WordPress developers, it was the highlight of the week.

Just out of curiosity, if you had one question to ask Mullenweg, what would it be?


4 responses to “Matt Mullenweg Hosts Impromptu Q&A Session On Facebook”

  1. Thanks for the mention, Jeff! Ya, it was pretty impressive that he not only joined, but invited discussion and has been (meaning he’s STILL doing it) answering basically every single question. Pretty impressive. But for the sake of WP development, I’m sure he’s moving on to better things soon. But you’re right, him being present online with users and specifically developers is win-win all around.

  2. how much of the WordPress development is he involved in now a days?

    Why does 99% of the times his name is mentioned and not Mike Little, if they are both credited as CO-founders?

    If you had to give up WordPress and had to move to either Joomla or Drupal, which one would you pick and why? not picking = universe blows up and we all (along ET and his home planet) blow up.

    • Good to see these questions from you Miroslav. You can ask them directly to Matt at Advanced WordPress. There are many more questions answered by Matt. It was an interesting session and I saw the whole group participating. Its hard to find such enthusiasm on a Facebook group of WordPress. Matt Cromwell will agree with me on this!


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