This CEO runs a billion-dollar company with no offices or email

WordPress CEO runs a billion-dollar company with no offices or email


Matthew Mullenweg is one of the co-creators of WordPress, which sees extensive use in countries situated all around the world. For proof, look no further than the number of top blogs that are reliant upon it to run. Currently, Mullenweg is serving as the CEO of Automattic, which encompasses both WordPress and a number of related products and services.


Matthew Mullenweg is one of the co-creators of WordPress, which sees extensive use in countries situated all around the world. For proof, look no further than the number of top blogs that are reliant upon it to run. Currently, Mullenweg is serving as the CEO of Automattic, which encompasses both WordPress and a number of related products and services.

AIWA! NEWS INTERNATIONAL|Glenn LeibowitzInc., BUSINESS INSIDER|Even if you aren’t familiar with what WordPress is, or use it to publish content on the internet, there’s a good chance you’ve visited a website that runs on it — and probably within just the past 24 hours.

That’s because WordPress — an open-source content-management system — powers an astonishing 25% of all websites today.

READ RELATED: 10 Things You Didn’t Know about Matthew Mullenweg

I recently spoke with Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress and CEO of Automattic, the company that offers a range of products and services for WordPress users.

Automattic is valued today at over $1 billion.

Matt joined me for a wide-ranging conversation on my podcast, in which he shared his aspiration to capture the 75% of the internet that WordPress doesn’t already manage.

He also explained how his 400-person team works largely from home or in co-located offices in 43 countries, and relies almost entirely on an internal blogging platform for communication and collaboration — while avoiding the use of email.

The following are excerpts from my conversation with Matt, which you can listen to in full on my podcast.

Automattic’s mission is to democratize publishing. Where do you think you are today in terms of achieving that?

It’s probably a lifelong mission, to be honest. The idea is to give everyone, regardless of what language you speak or how much money you have, the ability to have a voice online using the best software in the world.

You or I can download and publish using the exact same software that The New Yorker uses for newyorker.com. And I think that is relatively unique in the history of the world. We don’t have access to the same printing press as The New York Times, but in the digital world we can have the same software as The New Yorker.

You’ve been a fierce advocate for the open-source movement. What’s the state of play today with the movement?

Right now, we power about 25% of all websites — the largest of any of the content-management systems. The number two has around 3%. But we are not happy that we have just 25%, and we see a lot of work to get the remaining 75%.

Certainly, our near-term goal for WordPress is to try to get to a majority because I feel when a majority of the web is driven by open-source software, that will drive the web to be a better place. It’ll be more open, more inclusive, with fewer closed gardens and silos, and it will drive as well the proprietary folks to be more open.

You’ve got a highly decentralized, dispersed work force spanning the globe — people working from home and, for the most part, never stepping foot into an office. How is that working out?

Automattic is a totally distributed company, so everyone works from wherever they are in the world. It could be a coffee shop, it could be their home, it could be a co-working space. We hire people regardless of where they are.

We now have folks in just over 40 countries. This has been amazing for the company in that we can attract and retain the best talent without them having to be in New York or San Francisco or one of the traditional tech enters.

So far this model has worked extraordinarily well, and we plan to continue it.

The “Automattic creed” states that communication is the “oxygen” for a distributed company. For a long time, you’ve used a blog theme called P2 for internal communication and collaboration. And for the most part, you avoid using email for communication inside Automattic.

I think email is definitely on its way out, between things like P2 and Slack, which is a work place chat tool. Email just has so many things wrong with it. I’ve never heard anyone who’ve said they love email, they want more of it — have you?

Imagine if, in your company, instead of email, everyone could post and comment on a blog. Different groups or teams could have their own space on it, but fundamentally everything was tagged and traceable and transparent. That’s kind of what P2 looks like.

P2 also has its own sort of internal Google alerts, so you can keep up with everyone without having to read everything that goes by.

It’s free actually, so go check out p2theme.com. I invite anyone to try it out.

Why is knowing how to write well so important at Automattic?

Skill in writing is one of the things I look for the most in hiring, because I feel that clear writing represents clear thinking, regardless of someone’s background, or whether they’re a designer or coder or whatever.

The ability to communicate effectively and clearly in written form is not only super important in a distributed company, but I think reflects well on how they approach life in general.

Part of the reason I started blogging and started working on WordPress was because I love writing.

If I can become a better writer, perhaps I can become a better thinker.Read the original article on Inc.. Copyright 2019. Follow Inc. on Twitter.

Advertisements
Trump doesn’t think the New York Times is failing. He thinks it’s failing to give him credit where credit is due.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: “I came up from Jamaica, Queens, Jamaica Estates, and I became president of the United States; I’m sort of entitled to a great story from my — just one — from my newspaper.”

President Donald Trump in the Oval Office in January 2019. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Donald Trump in the Oval Office in January 2019.
 Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Trump doesn’t think the New York Times is failing. He thinks it’s failing to give him credit where credit is due.

EMILY STEWART, VOX

AIWA! NO!|For President Donald Trump, his ongoing battle with the New York Times is personal — he just wants a good story about him from the big newspaper in the city where he grew up.

Trump sat down for an interview on Thursday with Times journalists Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker as well as the newspaper’s publisher, A.G. Sulzberger. Trump had initially requested an off-the-record meeting with Sulzberger, but the publisher declined, saying he would only agree to an on-the-record interview with Times reporters.

Haberman and Baker conducted most of the interview, but Sulzberger specifically decided to press Trump on his attacks on the media. The president, who often declares what he calls the “fake news” to be the “enemy of the people,” defended his stance that he is often treated unfairly by reporters. He took specific issue with a number of outlets, including the Times.

But what becomes clear through his comments, a transcript of which the Times published, is that Trump, who was born in Queens and spent his whole life in New York, just really craves the paper’s approval.

“I came up from Jamaica, Queens, Jamaica Estates, and I became president of the United States,” Trump said. “I’m sort of entitled to a great story from my — just one — from my newspaper.”

Trump often uses social media as a way around the media; he (often successfully) tries to shift the news cycle with a single tweet. In his Times interview, he bragged about his social media following but still indicated that, in his mind, it’s not the same as the write-up he wants in the New York Times.

Social media “gives you at least a voice,” he said. “That’s not — you know, the New York Times is the New York Times.”

At one point, when an aide tried to help wind down the conversation, telling Trump he had some important calls, he responded, “I’ll be in in a little while. What’s more important than the New York Times? Okay, nothing, nothing.”

Later in the interview, when White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tried to cut things off, Trump said if the Times treats him “fairly,” he’ll do more interviews. “We’ll do it a hundred times,” he said.

Trump doesn’t think the New York Times is failing. He thinks it’s failing to give him credit where credit is due.

Trump has for years derided the “failing New York Times” in the media, on the campaign trail, and on Twitter. He often claims that stories about him are false and unfairly slanted.

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

Really disgusting that the failing New York Times allows dishonest writers to totally fabricate stories.4,3622:44 PM – Jan 19, 2016Twitter Ads info and privacy2,080 people are talking about this

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

The Failing New York Times wrote a story that made it seem like the White House Councel had TURNED on the President, when in fact it is just the opposite – & the two Fake reporters knew this. This is why the Fake News Media has become the Enemy of the People. So bad for America!96.2K12:06 PM – Aug 19, 2018Twitter Ads info and privacy45.8K people are talking about this

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

Despite so many positive events and victories, Media Reseach Center reports that 92% of stories on Donald Trump are negative on ABC, CBS and ABC. It is FAKE NEWS! Don’t worry, the Failing New York Times didn’t even put the Brett Kavanaugh victory on the Front Page yesterday-A17!91.1K1:01 PM – Oct 10, 2018Twitter Ads info and privacy50.3K people are talking about this

Yet he keeps on talking to them.

He’s called out Haberman and Baker directly on Twitter, but during his Thursday sit-down, his exchanges with them seemed largely calm and familiar.

He brought up Baker’s book on former President Barack Obama, telling him it was a “very good book,” albeit not about “my favorite person.” When Haberman pointed out that sometimes Trump calls Times coverage inaccurate when it is, in fact, accurate, he said they sometimes miss “little things,” like his routine for watching television. At one point, they all joked about exchanging phone numbers:

PETER BAKER, chief White House correspondent: [Handing the president a notepad] Put your number right there, and I’ll be happy to call.

[Laughter]

HABERMAN: We’ll just — we’ll call you.

BAKER: We’ll be happy to call.

HABERMAN: Can we go through the switchboard? We’ll call you. [Laughter]

TRUMP: Do you have a hard time — when you call me, let me ask you this, when you call me you go through — do you ever call for me and —

SANDERS: Two Sundays ago you called — [inaudible]

TRUMP: — and I don’t get back?

HABERMAN: Ish.

Trump said that he’s “very busy” but speculated that if a subject of someone’s reporting doesn’t get back to them, maybe they would “be inclined to do bad stories.”

This is not, generally, how journalism works. Journalists often reach out to the subjects of their reporting to give them a chance to respond to their reporting. But whether someone calls back does not determine whether a story is “good” or “bad.”

But the somewhat relaxed nature of their exchanges, per the transcripts, show that a lot of Trump’s derision of the press is performative. He knows it plays well with his base — and with a lot of voters who are distrustful of the news — and that it’s easier to declare a negative story as false than to accept it and explain what’s going on.

Of course, the stakes are high: Violence against journalists is a very real thing all over the world, and the leader of the United States, which is supposed to be an advocate of free speech and press, constantly attacking media has real-life consequences. Trump said he wants to bea defender of free press but went back to complaining about bad coverage of him. He outlined what he saw as his accomplishments, in real time trying to convince the reporters to do that positive story he so craves.

Trump seems to understand the media game — long before arriving at the White House, he was spinning reporters, even as his own fake spokesperson, to try to get good stories out there.

“You’ve been dealing with the press longer than I’ve been in it, longer than he’s been in it. Longer than Peter’s been in it,” Haberman told Trump.

“I hate to hear that,” he said.

“That’s a long time,” she responded.

“Let me look at a mirror,” he joked.

Trump thrives on media attention, good and bad — and the press has largely given it to him. But the Queens guy has got his eye on a glowing write-up from the New York Times.

“I became president and I didn’t have a good story,” Trump said.