Matt Mullenweg

Just listened to:

Some things that stood out:

Automatic is very much a written communication culture, and I believe clear writing represents clear thinking, and we filter for this when we’re hiring.

One of the best advice I got early at Automattic. I actually hired a CEO, I consider him like a co-founder, Tony Schneider. He’s like my business soulmate. One of the things he taught me early on was make reversible decisions quickly and irreversible ones deliberately, and I still return to that on a weekly basis. If it’s a reversible decision we’ll probably learn a lot more by doing it.

I believe all proprietary software to be an evolutionary dead end. Maybe it’ll take 50 or 100 years, but what happens, just like what happened fairly quickly with Encyclopedia Britannica and other encyclopedias and Wikipedia is that the thing which is open to all and gets everyone working together if it truly gets that humanity working together on the same shared resource, you get the opposite of the tragedy of the commons, versus the field being overrun, each person operating in their own self-interest kills the environment or kills the shared thing, and in digital world, we can do that because we have economics of abundancy versus economics of scarcity. That’s why open source will eventually win every market it’s in.

Matt runs Automattic, which is the company behind Wordpress. I’ve used Wordpress for years – one of the best software projects I’ve ever used.

Another interesting discussion with Matt:

The first 100k users are always the hardest

My notes:

  • be your most passionate user – think about and interact with what you are doing every day
    detail oriented – be a new user every day
  • get off the computer – everything I do on the computer is a barrier. Pencil & paper, offline, away from daily distractions; write out sites copy longout, draw out layout; force yourself to slow down
  • do your own support – especially in beginning stages; best feedback from first couple 100 users; intensely feel pain;
  • have a tag line – distill what you are doing into less than 5 words; have different tag lines for different groups people; talk about you, not me; tell what you are going to do for them, not how great you are; also works for documentation – talk about desired end goals instead of the program;
  • 1.0 – get out as soon as humanly possible; nothing beats real users using your product; the first version will always be bad – deal with it;
  • have metrics – if you’re not measuring, you’ll never know when you get there; what means you’re successful; not anticipating success is one of biggest problems
  • users are tricky – do as they do, not as they say;
  • simplify
  • start strong, end strong – every page needs to be as strong as your home page;
  • be a pain killer not a vitamin – everyone has a life, kids, family, your new website is the last thing on their mind; they have things they want to do; service needs to do something drastic, not just help a little;
  • have to fail as soon as possible – and then adapt
    need to provide immediate value – wordpress made switching cost as low as possible; 5 min install;
  • took from 5 min install to 5 sec install
  • don’t listen to anyone who says that market is full
  • don’t innovate everything at once

Others have written notes on this: