My TRUE thnx to Mullenweg…..AND all of the entrepreneurs of America, and around the world. This is an article to be published in the Sept. 24 issue of Forbes. I just must say, that I would have called it….WORLDpress….but what do I know. I am just a sucker for entrepreneurs……-PlanetPrisoner
Matt Mullenweg was a 19-year-old freshman at the University of Houston when he clicked “publish” on a new blog post. His personal website, Photomatt.net, was growing, he explained, but he needed a better publishing tool to replace the neglected, open-source software called b2 that he preferred. “It would be nice to have the flexibility of Movable Type, the parsing of TextPattern, the hackability of b2 and the-ease-of-setup of Blogger,” he mused, citing the popular blogging services of the day. “Someday, right?”
That hit-the-button moment on Jan. 24, 2003 can’t quite compare with Cyrus Field’s first transatlantic telegraphic message or the flick of George Westinghouse’s electric switch at the World’s Columbian Exposition. But Mullenweg made his own history. He immediately set out to create WordPress, the online publishing software that is now the Web’s lingua franca–the world’s leading blogging platform and the crown jewel of Automattic, the San Francisco outfit Mullenweg runs with CEO Toni Schneider, a veteran developer, entrepreneur and venture capitalist.
Today WordPress powers one of every 6 websites on the Internet, nearly 60 million in all, with 100,000 more popping up each day. Those run through its cloud-hosted service, which lets anybody create a free website online, attract 330 million visitors who view 3.4 billion pages every month.
Automattic’s enterprise option, WordPress VIP, is now the default digital publishing tool for major media companies (including Forbes.com). For many of these organizations, it’s the promised land–a standard, easy-to-use, multimedia-friendly platform–after a decade of lurching through clunky, expensive, jerry-rigged content-management systems.
Given the ubiquity of WordPress, why isn’t Mullenweg, now 28, a billionaire? Since its founding in 2005 Automattic has chosen scale over scratch, giving away much for free. Only 1% of WordPress.com devotees pay. Not among them: users of WordPress.org (the open-source version), who run servers and implement the software themselves. A small percentage has only recently been coaxed into paying for additional features like file backups. Automattic implemented an ad-sharing service–on a limited basis–just last year.
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