Building the Web's Operating System with Matt Mullenweg (Automattic, makers of Wordpress)

Everyone uses WordPress, but who is the brains behind the machine? Meet Matt Mullenweg - musician, rap enthusiast, WordPress founder, entrepreneur and investor. Startup Grind New York City had the pleasure of hosting Matt for a fireside chat. Almost 200 people were in attendance on November 20th at the super cool Google offices in Manhattan to learn more about one of the most popular blogging platforms in existence. In addition to his work with WordPress, Matt also founded Automattic and Jetpack and is an investor in 35 companies. Matt spoke with Startup Grind founder Derek Anderson and gave a smart and funny interview. Since Matt lost his voice the day before, the audience was literally hanging on his every word!

Catch our full interview with Matt Mullenweg of WordPress & Automattic here, and read our highlights below.

"All Good Companies are More Motivated by Impact than Money"

WordPress is the most popular blogging platform in the world. As with most great companies, WordPress started because the founder saw an unfulfilled need. Matt was a blogger, but he did not like any of the existing online publishing software, so he built his own.

What started out as a frustration became an all-consuming passion and today WordPress has over 131 million users, as of 2016, with 100,000s downloads each day. Initially, growth was very slow and organic, but the company eventually reached a tipping point where the platform’s popularity took off tremendously. Matt’s belief is that when businesses think short term and focus only on a quarter to quarter strategy, they go off track.

"I Love the Entrepreneurial Process, When Something Goes From an Idea that Everyone Thinks is Stupid to Taking Over the World"

The WordPress mission is to democratize publishing. Matt is a strong believer in open open source code and wanted to show that a company could be built using open source without messing up the Open Source Project. This motivation is what subsequently led to the creation of Automattic. As a result of his faith in a platform and the product, Matt employs the same strategy before funding a company. Now supported by 430 remote employees around the world, the company is the 5th most trafficked 

As of November, Matt has invested in DailyBurn, SendGrid, BranchOut, Hipmunk, Getaround, Summly, BlackJet, SmartThings, Crowdtilt, and quite a few more companies. In response to a question about his funding criteria, Matt replied, “When making an investment, I look for great entrepreneurs.”