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Posts from the ‘wordpress’ Category

WordPress vs. Facebook

April 18, 2008


Fred Wilson got a great discussion going on WordPress vs. Facebook, or, more specifically, how and why blogging is going to become the social network for adults.

It’s a good provocative post but even better is the conversation in the comments.

Mine is here.

WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg’s is here.

Other interesting comments from less notorious bloggers (haha!) are here and here and here

WordPress Goes Social

March 5, 2008


One of the cool things happening over at Automattic is that they are starting to bring aboard projects and developers who have taken the WordPress open source software and build really cool apps/tools/plugins, but don’t have the resources to offer a hosted version at Internet scale. That’s what Automattic did, and did really well, with WordPress software, and is now doing with other things like forum software bbPress, spam blocker Akismet, and Gravatar.

And, Matt Mullenweg has posted that Automattic is now doing the same with BuddyPress, a social network platform developed on the WordPress MU (that stands for “multi-user”) codebase. GigaOm has some observations on this, too.

The trend of bringing great software development projects onto the WordPress platform, and the fact that WordPress will be offering more social features, are both cool.

WordPress as an “Invite Only Level 3 Internet Platform”

October 14, 2007


There is a term I have started to use: “VC vanitudes,” referring to the numerous vain platitudes that any of you in the startup ecosystem routinely hear us throw around.

For example, 80% of VCs have “top quartile returns.” I haven’t figured out that math yet.

We reject deals that won’t deliver “venture returns.”

We build “world class management teams.”

We spend our time looking for the “next big thing.”

And, one of the most common VC vanitudes is that we only invest in “platforms,” a term of art which, I would wager, less than 25% of VCs have paused to consider what it actually means.

About a year ago I was chatting with a BIG NAME VC from one of the BIGGEST NAME Sand Hill firms. When I told him that I had recently invested in the company behind WordPress (notwithstanding the fact that he holds himself out as that firm’s Internet guy, I had to tell him what WordPress was), he condescendingly explained that his firm would never invest in a blogging “tool,” since they only invest in “platforms.”  Having been required to check my ego at their imposing Sand Hill Lobby, I didn’t respond, though I can’t resist noting that last I checked his portfolio consisted of a hardware product, an ecommerce tool, and two web consumer apps.  Platforms are great when you find them, but, let’s be honest, most big VC hits really aren’t platforms at all.

With Facebook’s announcement of the opening of the “Facebook Platform” a little while back, there has been lotsa chatter in the blogosphere (not to mention VC pitches) about internet “platforms,” a widely used but poorly understood term.

Coming to the rescue, recently converted powerblogger Marc Andreesen has offered  a lucid exposition on what it means to be a platform:

A ‘platform’ is a system that can be programmed and therefore customized by outside developers — users — and in that way, adapted to countless needs and niches that the platform’s original developers could not have possibly contemplated, much less had time to accommodate.

We have a long and proud history of this concept and this definition in the computer industry stretching all the way back to the 1950’s and the original mainframe operating systems, continuing through the personal computer age and now into the Internet era. In the computer industry, this concept of platform is completely settled and widely embraced, and still holds going forward.

The key term in the definition of platform is ‘programmed’. If you can program it, then it’s a platform. If you can’t, then it’s not.

So, if you’re thinking about computing on the Internet, whenever anyone uses the word ‘platform’, ask: ‘Can it be programmed?’ Specifically, with software code provided by the user? If not, it’s not a platform, and you can safely ignore whoever’s talking — which means you can safely ignore 80%+ of the people in the world today who are using the term ‘platform’ and don’t know what it means.”

Andreesen goes on to summarize the 3 different levels of internet platform:

  • A Level 1 platform’s apps run elsewhere, and call into the platform via a web services API to draw on data and services — this is how Flickr does it.
  • A Level 2 platform’s apps run elsewhere, but inject functionality into the platform via a plug-in API — this is how Facebook does it. Most likely, a Level 2 platform’s apps also call into the platform via a web services API to draw on data and services.
  • A Level 3 platform’s apps run inside the platform itself — the platform provides the “runtime environment” within which the app’s code runs.

Not surprisingly, Andreesen states that the only Level 3 platform out there today is Ning. I think he may be missing one.

Specifically, WordPress honcho Matt Mullenweg has offered the following:

“I think WordPress and is a level 3 platform, because plugins run on the same platform as the application itself, so you get whatever scalability is there in that system.

For users this is just their blog host, but on it’s our internet-scale infrastructure. However we don’t allow arbitrary plugins on, so it’s like an invite-only level 3 platform.”

I like that — an “Invite Only Level 3 Internet Platform.”

I am checking with Marc to see if he agrees. I’ll let you know 🙂

WordPress Traffic Growth

October 9, 2007


The little company that could continues to crank. 90 million uniques! Here are the stats from Quantcast:


WordPress Millionth Blog Party

May 20, 2007


Sometime this week will host its 1-millionth blog (a few million other blogs use the downloaded WordPress software, but they are not hosted by It has been a phenomenal 18 months since Automattic first launched the hosted blog service. Congrats to Matt, Toni and the team!

To celebrate this and a few other milestones the gang is having a party tomorrow night in SF.  Matt has details on his blog.

‘Tis the season for portfolio parties…

“Overnight Success”

May 10, 2007


 Speaking of WordPress, WordPress “founder” Matt Mullenweg has a terrific post up today.

I like it so much I am going to quote it in its entirety:

One thing I’ve noticed about talking to certain types of press, particularly mainstream, is that they have a pattern in mind before they write about something, and the better you conform to the pattern the more coverage you get.

I think what they really want is an unusually young founder, possibly with a partner, who stumbled on an idea in an epiphany moment, implemented it in days, and then enjoyed overnight success, preferably capped with some sort of financial hook such as a huge VC funding or selling out to a large company for millions of dollars.

It’s not uncommon to get leading questions trying to hit a point in the above patterns… Yes, WordPress really is four years old. I was 19. No, I didn’t create it alone, if I did you would have never heard of it. Actually, it entered a rather crowded field, not even close to being first. No, not planning to sell it, there isn’t really anything to sell, it’s more of a movement. No, I didn’t make 60 million dollars in 18 months.

What’s worst is I think these stories sell a false promise and hope to people outside of the industry — it attracts the wrong type of entrepreneurs — and inside of the industry it distracts us from what really matters.

Someday I think there will be a realization that the real story is more exciting than the cookie-cutter founder myth the media tries frame everything in. It’s not just one or two guys hacking on something alone, it’s dozens of people from across the world coming together because of a  shared passion. It’s not about selling out to a single company, it’s dozens of companies independently adopting and backing an open source platform for no reason other than its quality. I’m not a millionaire, and may never be, but there are now hundreds of people making their living using WordPress, and I expect that number to grow to tens of thousands. That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning, not the prospect of becoming a feature on an internet behemoth’s checklist.

Finally it’s not Web 2.0, or another bandwagon me-too content management system with AJAX, it’s a mature project that has been around and grown up over four years of hard work, and it has many, many more years of hard work ahead of it. I smile these days when I see WordPress referred to as an “overnight success,” if only they knew how long an overnight success takes.”

Rumors of the “Market Correction” of Blogs are Greatly Exaggerated

March 29, 2007


There have been rumblings lately about a decline in blogging.

Duncan Riley of 901 am recently wrote that the death of blogs is exaggerated — blogging is going through a “market correction,” not a death, he contends.

I’ll go a couple steps further. Blogging is not even going through a market correction, but in fact continues to see steady, and very healthy, growth.

The mistake Riley and others make is focusing on the rising number of abandoned blogs.

Those who have been watching the blogosphere closely for the last couple years — most notably (for me) the WordPress team — know that there always has been and always will be a healthy chunk of folks who try blogging only to find it isn’t for them.  Blog abandonment is a constant element of the blogosphere.  It just so happens that, we are now seeing the natural wave of abandoned blogs which is following the wave of blog creation over the last 6 months or so.  But that far from an indicator that blogging itself is on the wane.

What is the right measure of “blogging?”

Simply looking at the number of blogs created always has and always will overreport the level of “blogging.”  It makes alot more sense, instead, to look at more specific measures of blogging activity, things like number of posts, number of comments and audience.  These are the measures of activity we at the Automattic board take more seriously than the number of blogs created.

If the WordPress numbers are any indication of the blogosphere more broadly (I am pretty sure they are), each one of these measures has continued to enjoy very consistent, strong growth over the last 12-18 months.

WordPress Envy

February 14, 2007


Fred Wilson has coined a phrase I think I am going to use alot — “WordPress Envy.”

As a ‘pressie myself, I suppose I am biased.

Video Blogging on WordPress

January 23, 2007


I have finally gotting around to trying the WordPress “Post It” integration with YouTube.

And, I have to say, it is awesome.

All you do is register your WordPress blog with YouTube, and then you can post YouTube videos directly to your blog with a single click of the mouse, without even leaving YouTube.

It is really, really easy, and, for this blogger, really really cool.

Expect to see lots more videos…

WordPress Extends Beyond Blogging

January 9, 2007


A number of folks are starting to use WordPress not just for a blog but for a full fledged website.

In fact, Ford just launched a site based on WordPress.