Tuesday, 06 March 2012
Exclusive Interview with Matt Mullenweg, Founding Developer of WordPress
Matt Mullenweg is the 28 year old Co-Founder of WordPress.com, principal and founder of Audrey Capital, and the Founder of Automattic, a startup focused on providing open source software to "make the web a better place".
Mullenweg, who blogs about Wordpress at Ma.tt has been named one of BusinessWeek’s 25 Most Influential People on the Web, PC World’s Top 50 People on the Web, Inc.com’s 30 Under 30, and Vanity Fair’s Next Establishment. Matt created the WordPress software when he was 19, quit his job at CNET at 24 to focus on developing the platform further, and the rest is history with WordPress by far the most popular blogging platform in the world today with estimated 500,000 new blog posts by its users every day.
We contacted Matt at his current startup, Automattic, which has generated a lot of buzz and raised $29.5 million in funding in 2008. Here is our exclusive interview with Matt, hot off the (word)press, and his answers straight from Matt himself:
Q. How did you start out as an entrepreneur and how did you choose your current field?
A. “I started developing software because I wanted to use it myself. Even though I thought I was going to go into music full-time, I was always passionate about technology since a young age.”
Q. What kind of support did you receive from your family and friends as you were progressing with your startup?
A. “Family and friends have always been very supportive, which is great because when you’re starting something new everything is uncertain and in the air, so having a strong foundation of people who support you really helps ground you.”
Q. How did you find funding for your company and your team when you were starting out?
A . “A journalist named Om Malik was an early user of WordPress, and when I moved to San Francisco he introduced me to many of the investors and business partners who I have worked with ever since.”
Q. How have you gotten clients, customers and venture capitalists to respect your company and you yourself as a young entrepreneur?
A. “ I don’t think respect was ever anything we ever explicitly targeted, we more just focused on the quality of the product and making sure our users and customers were happy so they’d tell their friends.”
Q. What has been your favorite project as an entrepreneur so far ?
A. “One of my favorite projects recently has been working on a Metro / Windows 8 interface for WordPress.com, which was just announced a few days ago. The interface is pretty fresh, and I’m looking forward to seeing more development along that line.”
Q. Where do you see yourself and your company in the next five or ten years?
A. “A decade from now I expect to still be working at Automattic, hopefully with an even broader and more diverse set of colleagues trying to make the web a better place.”
Q. How do you motivate yourself after becoming successful what motivates you to give it your all every day?
A. “For me the biggest motivation has always been impact, reaching as many people as possible with the work you do. Whenever I go to a WordCamp I meet dozens of people who tell me their life has been significantly changed by WordPress, and that’s a great feeling.”
Q. What message would you give to college students or young people who want to start their own company?
A. “I’d recommend getting as much experience as possible working and volunteering at different organizations, because you’ll learn a ton about what you want (and don’t want) to do when you start your own.”
-Clyde Marin, EntreRev.com