In 2003, the world told Matt Mullenweg, founder of Atuomattic, that there was no room for another blogging system.
“Typically, I feel that the most interesting things come from what people say is a bad idea,” says Mullenweg. “Don’t let people tell you it’s already been done.”
Indeed when WordPress was created, it was hardly the first blogging system to market. But what began as a playful modification of code soon became a platform that powers 20 percent of the Web, or 1 in 5 websites.
A big factor in Mullenweg’s success is the extension of the open source that powers WordPress to the company culture of politeness he has fostered. To him, an open source always provides something amazing to build on top of.
That mentality gives his employees the power to voice their opinions about the company, set their own hours, and adapt it to what they want. And by allowing the company an opportunity to remain open in how it functions, WordPress and Automattic can then adapt interesting solutions to any problems they face.
Mullenweg finds email broken in many different ways, and therefore does not use it across his company. Instead, the company adapted to use P2s for communications and has been able to build a scalable model for future employee growth.
With minor issues like this resolved, they have been able to produce some real progress on their platform updates. WordPress v3.7 was just released yesterday, which allows for auto-updating, and v3.8 is scheduled for December.
They have also revamped their updated timeline and are looking to put out five to six updates over the course of next year. This is progress that the power of an open platform mentality can provide.
“We’re 10 years old, it’s by far the longest relationship I’ve been in and it’s my life work,” says Mullenweg. “I’d be happy 20 or 30 years from now still working on WordPress.”