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Episode #17: Matt Mullenweg

In this episode we were joined by Matt Mullenweg, CEO of the multi-billion dollar company Automattic, which is responsible for some of the Internet’s most well known products such as WordPress, Gravatar, Akismet, and WooCommerce.

Matt is driven by the mission to allow anyone in the world to have a home on the internet where they can express their thoughts and base their business. At 19 years old, bored with his classes at the University of Houston, Matt first discovered his passion for code and writing. His personal blog was reaching more than 20,000 people at the time but the blogging software was outdated, so he decided to create a new platform, which is known today as WordPress.

This is the fifth episode of the second season of the Hacking UI podcast, ‘Scaling a Side Project’. In this season we interview designers, developers, and creative entrepreneurs who built and scaled successful side projects  that we admire.

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Key points from this episode:

  • Learn what first motivated Matt to start building WordPress, and how he organically grew it to the community that it is today.
  • Find out which strategies Matt used to promote WordPress and get the reach it needed to expand.
  • Understand the significant impact of growing your network and word of mouth marketing and how that can snowball the expansion of a company.
  • How was WordPress first monetized? Learn how an anti-spam software launched WordPress into positive profits.
  • Learn why the key to community is treating people well and how an online community is similar to a party; if you do not take care of the people they will leave.
  • Understand why Matt lives by the philosophy of always creating more value than you capture, especially when it comes to valuing your customers.
  • Find out more about the culture of Automattic, especially the ability for employees to work on whatever they are passionate about, including side projects.
  • How can companies best create loyalty? Learn why respecting people is key to growing trusted customers.
  • The daily practice of writing will make you grow. Understand why writing is a muscle that needs to be practiced every day.
  • Find out Matt’s tips to getting over the fear of taking on the role of thought leader, and why using metrics is important for both your business and personal life.

Links from the show

Transcript

If you’d like to read the full text of this episode, you can  download the transcript.

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About The Hacking UI Podcast

The Hacking UI podcast is hosted by Sagi Shrieber and David Tintner, a designer and developer who are also both entrepreneurs, bloggers, productivity/time-hacking maniacs, and all around tech geeks.

We started this podcast off with the ‘Scaling a Design Team series’ where we spoke with design leaders from top notch companies like Facebook, Apple, InVision, and Intercom, to discuss team structures, responsibilities, and workflows.

A few months ago we quit our day jobs to work on our former side project, Hacking UI, full time. So we found it fitting that our second season of the podcast should touch on that subject. The second season is called ‘Scaling a Side Project’, and we’ll interview creative entrepreneurs that we admire in order to get them to share their tips, experiences, and secrets to success.

About David Tintner

David is the developer half of Hacking UI. He is also the CEO of ThoughtLeaders, a company that helps content creators and curators to spread their ideas. Previously he was a co-founder of Tapdog (acq. 2013). He also worked as a senior front-end developer and team leader at SimilarWeb. When he's not cranking out lines of CSS or testing out new JavaScript frameworks, David enjoys reading, traveling, and music and arts festivals. He lives in Tel Aviv and if you're ever in the neighborhood be sure to say hi.