USA Today’s Jefferson Graham sat down with Matt Mullenweg the other day to talk WordPress. The article covers the brief history of how Matt got involved with the WordPress project as well as how Automattic was founded. Much of what was stated in the interview can be found in Matt’s Wikipedia entry but he did make a few quotes which are worthy of repeating.
The first quote is:
“People might start with LiveJournal or Blogger, but if they get serious, they’ll graduate to WordPress. We try to cater to the more powerful users,”
I simply like this quote because of the way Matt pimps his own blogging platform.
The second quote I find to be particularly important. When Mullenweg was asked by Jefferson on how much money Automattic brings in, here is what Matt had to say:
“We’re profitable”. “Our goal was never to make the most money possible, just enough to sustain our growth and contribute as much back to open source as possible.”
Think about that for a second. Automattic was not created to become this giant monolithic corporation that hoarded the goodness the WordPress.org project has to offer. Since Automattic was founded, its employee base has grown slowly as well as making excellent use of the $1.1 million dollars they raised for their first round of funding. That money simply allowed them to take a few risks without worrying about payroll but because the success of WordPress.com grew so quickly, they ended up using very little of that funding money.
Too many people in the WordPress community get this notion that Automattic is the only company that can make money off of or through WordPress while at the same time, flattening every one else’s business opportunities. If you haven’t listened to the special two hour interview I conducted with Matt Mullenweg, I highly encourage you to do so. You can find that episode here.
In that episode, it becomes apparent that Matt’s passion is the WordPress.org project. He wants to see as many people as possible become successful through the likes of the software albeit with a simple request to abide by the license for which the software is filed under (GPL). Also in this episode, you find out that Matt is not such an evil person that some in the community would like you to think. He is a smart man, is passionate about not only the software but the people contributing to its success, the people using it, and most importantly, the open source nature of it all. He does things that he believes is best for the community. While we may not agree with all of the decisions he makes, he always puts the community first.