The Future of WordPress: John Battelle Interviews Matt Mullenweg

Loose notes from SXSW 2011 session: John Battelle interviews Matt Mullenweg

Audio available at link above.

WP currently powers about 12% of the web. Future of WordPress is as a full platform/CMS, not just a blog.

wordpress.com 290 million uniques per month. Adding a new blog every two seconds.

WordPress at its best is invisible – it gets out of the way.

Mullenweg: Twitter has done a good job of integrating the reading and writing experiences. When reading, you’re one click away from writing.

Twitter does a great job at instant gratification – a hit of content as soon as you launch it.

The things that make Tumblr so successful are also the things that get in the way. When you get re-blogged, that content is no longer in your stream – you’re no longer making money from it.

Battelle: WordPress is the largest media business in the world that doesn’t see itself as a media business.

M: We have our ad system set up to show as few ads as possible.

What’s unique about Twitter ads is that they themselves are Tweets. That’s not possible for most media products.

Just launched:

Jet Pack: Brings best stuff from wordpress.com to wordpress.org users – eight features in a single plugin. Creates a two-way connection between your external blog and wordpress.com.

Guided Transfer: They’ll even help you migrate off wordpress.com. Battelle: “You not only show as few ads as possible, but you want them to move off your platform. You guys are nuts.”

Distributed Denial of Service attack last week: A botnet pointed at us. Possibly politically motivated. In first day of attacks it was raw TCP traffic, untargeted. 98% of it coming from China. But it turned out to be a gaming-related site.

Battelle: The content farms love them some WordPress. M: We delete up to 5,000 blogs per day. We don’t want the bad actors to de-emphasize the good actors. When Google started supressing the content farms, wordpress.com traffic actually went up.

WordPress was built on the shoulders of giants: Apache, PHP, MySQL – all these open source projects buoying each other up.

Mullenweg: “All you need to do a good event (WordCamp): A venue, a WiFi provider, and booze.”

The founding principle of WordPress: “The more you give away, the more you get back.”

The WordPress staff is totally decentralized, scattered around the world, never “go to work.”

P2 Theme totally changed the way we do business. We have dozens of installations. Superior to email” http://t.co/6HS6ib0

Mullenweg recommmends BackCache plugin for very large scaling (millions of hits per day)

On deck for 3.2: Much better image and video handling. There’s a lot of work involved there. Planned big improvement to full-screen writing mode.

With BuddyPress, we went the wrong direction, and forked WP. We’re now rebuilding it as a plugin, like we should have done to begin with.

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