Jan 7, 2011 - Podcast    9 Comments

The Philosophy of Open Source

The first episode of 2011 features an interview with Matt Mullenweg, technological optomist and lead developer of WordPress – the dominant open source web publishing platform of the Internet. Matt is a native of Houston, Texas, who loves a good BBQ. In 2004 he dropped out of college, moved to San Francisco to work for the tech media company CNET. A year later, he left CNET to found his own company, Automattic, which runs hosted blogging services on WordPress.com and champions the open source community around WordPress.org. With 60 people across 49 cities around the world, the company is truly distributed, or as Matt has characterized it “one that does not support geographic discrimination”. Statistics now show that WordPress powers up to 10% of the websites on the Internet. In 2007 Matt was listed as number 16 on the list of 50 most important people on the web according to PC World. He was also named by Inc.com as one of America’s 30 coolest young entrepreneurs under 30 in 2008.

He steps off the edge with me to discuss:

  • The history of launching WordPress
  • The practicalities, possibilities and philosophy of open source
  • Web Services as Governments and if Apple is a Monarchy, Facebook is Russia, what is WordPress?
  • His dream that the majority of the web can be built to run on open source software
  • What his life is like as the benevolent dictator of a platform which some have characterized as the modern day printing press.

In the interview Matt touches on a few things which I hope will be common narratives as the episode count climbs on this podcast. Things like companies having a philosophy that is about more than money, the competitive value of sharing, level playing fields impact on innovation and not believing you have to operate using operational models of yesteryear.

The Podcast pick of the month is the Extraenvironmentalists. Seth and Justin are in their early days of podcasting like me and bringing a lot of stories in need of sharing to light from the perspective of two individuals outside the system trying to understand it. They recently scored an excellent Extraenvironmentalist exclusive interview with Nick Claus Jr, the son of Santa Claus. You can find them at extraenvironmentalist.com or on Twitter @xenvironmental.

Show Notes – Music

Interested in getting started with WordPress?
Check out wordpress.org to host your own site or wordpress.com where you can sign-up for a site and Matt’s company Automattic will take care of all the complex computer stuff for you. It’s kind of like the difference between renting versus buying a house – the house is identical but there are a different set of costs and complexity involved depending on what you want.

I’ll add more links to help get you started later this weekend!

Feel free to share it any which way you like with people who you think would enjoy it – unless of course you hate it and then your seething silent rage is thanks enough 😛 Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated, even the stuff where you tell me how horrible it is.


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  • One hour and seven minutes? Maybe you could have a shorter version featuring the important parts of the discussion – all of us don’t have as much time! Or the bandwidth!!

    • Thanks for the comment. I do my best to give a detailed summary of the main topics of conversation in the show notes for people to consider if an episode is worth their time / bandwidth.

      was a 10-minute teaser for episode 1 and it took just as long to produce as the full version. I also feel that hearing the highlights in context of the larger conversation is important.

  • I’m trying to listen to the interview. It’s over 8 minutes into the podcast now and it still hasn’t began. You’re really wasting our time.

  • OK, so it was pretty good (once I forwarded the music etc.) Thank you!

    • Glad you enjoyed it in the end and hope that the experience gets better with each episode. I’ll aim to put time-codes on the next show notes to make skipping to interview content easier for those that just want that. I’ve also been looking for how to create chapters within an MP3 using Audacity but haven’t had success yet.

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