Matt Mullenweg Interview - Blogger help, tips and hacks

Matt Mullenweg Interview


Below we have an interview with Matt Mullenweg. Matt is the founding developer of WordPress, the free blogging software that is used by tens of thousands of bloggers from around the world. He is one of the founders of Automattic, which is the company behind WordPress.com, Akismet, and more and is also an advisor to Sphere and WeGame. Matt’s personal blog can be read at PhotoMatt.net.

1. How did you get your start in blogging?

I started with Movable Type in a subdirectory of another domain. The blog was pretty lame. Later I switched to photomatt.net and began to write about economics, music, and politics with software called b2, which eventually became the basis for WordPress.



2. Where did the inspiration behind Wordpress come from?

It wasn’t inspiration, it was frustration. The software available at the time was very difficult to use and adapt, and didn’t lend itself to things like permalinks that would actually be permanent. I wanted to create a blog that could age gracefully.

3. Why did you elect to make Wordpress free to use unalike many of your competitors who charge for their platforms?

WordPress was based on open source GPL software, and there was never a second thought in my mind that WordPress should continue the same. Selling software is dead, it’s just not where the value is anymore. The WP team isn’t primarily concerned with making money, we want to impact the world. Charging for the platform would limit that.

4. Do you think people should host their own blogs or create a blog at Wordpress.com? What are the advantages (in your opinion) to both options?

I think both are fine options, it just depends on how much time you want to spend maintaining the software and how much flexibility you want to have. If someone is just getting started, I usually recommend they experiment with WordPress.com and buy the custom domain upgrade. If they ever decide to leave for .org, all their links will be the same and there’s a lossless export.

5. How will you use your recent purchase of Gravatars in upcoming releases?
Right now Gravatars are widely used in comments, but I think there are a thousand of other places that Gravatars would be useful.

6. Can you give any information on what we can expect to see from Wordpress in the future? Where do you see the platform going in the coming years?

Ask our community, they drive it.

7. What is Sphere and how can bloggers use it?

Sphere.com is a great company that I advise. They have a widget you can add to your blog that allows your readers to see related content to yours from across the blogosphere, and can also drive traffic back to your blog. The technology is really amazing, and their widget is used from everyone from AOL to the NY Times.

8. What is your opinion on using Wordpress as a CMS and are there any plans to build a Wordpress optimized for use as a CMS?

WordPress has always been a CMS, and was the first in the blog realm to add “pages” outside of a blog chronology. Some of the most innovative uses of the platform I’ve seen recently have been sites that look nothing like blogs at all, and that’s definitely behaviour we want to enable more in the future. I don’t think a CMS-specific version of WP is needed, but it might be useful to have a plugin pack.

9. What is bbPress and what advantages does it have over its competitors?

bbPress is the WordPress philosophy applied to forum software. So much of the forum field is still stuck in 1999, where to add a “plugin” you have to go to a certain line in the program and copy and paste some code in. The world has moved on, and we think that the elegance and extensibility of WP will appeal to this market. Some people try to suggest that blogs and forums are the same things, but after 4 years of doing both we think there’s enough differences between the two to warrant software focused on both.


10. What is the number one piece of advice that you have for bloggers?


If a blog feels like work, you’re writing about the wrong thing. Find a topic or format that’s effortless, and just let the words flow. (And don’t forget to upgrade your software.)


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