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Matthew Charles Mullenweg

Matt Mullenweg in Milan (2008)
Born January 11, 1984 (1984-01-11) (age 26)
Houston, Texas
Occupation Entrepreneur, Automattic
Known for WordPress and other software
Website
http://ma.tt

Matthew Charles Mullenweg (born January 11, 1984 in Houston, Texas) is an entrepreneur living in San Francisco, California.

He is the founding developer of the popular open-source blogging software WordPress and writes a popular blog ma.tt, a domain hack. After quitting his job at CNET, he has devoted the majority of his time to developing a number of open source projects and is a frequent speaker at conferences, such as Canada's Northern Voice and the WordCamp events organized around WordPress software.

In late 2005, he founded Automattic, the business behind WordPress.com and Akismet. Mullenweg attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts where he studied jazz saxophone.[1] Mullenweg is also a Dvorak Keyboard user.[2]

WordPress history

In June 2002 Mullenweg started using the b2/cafelog blogging software to complement the photos he was taking on a trip to Washington D.C. after participating in the National Fed Challenge competition. He contributed some minor code regarding typographic entities and cleaner permalinks.

Several months after development of b2 had stopped, in January 2003, he announced[3] on his blog his plan of forking the software to bring it up to date with web standards and his needs. He was quickly contacted by Mike Little and together they started WordPress from the b2 codebase. They were soon joined by original b2 developer Michel Valdrighi. Mullenweg was only nineteen years old, and a freshman at the University of Houston at the time.[4]

In March 2003 he co-founded the Global Multimedia Protocols Group with Eric Meyer and Tantek Çelik. GMPG wrote the first of the Microformats.

In April 2004 with fellow WordPress developer Dougal Campbell, they launched Ping-O-Matic[5] which is a hub for notifying blog search engines such as Technorati of blog updates. Ping-O-Matic currently handles over 1 million pings a day.

In May 2004 chief WordPress competitor Movable Type announced a radical price change[6] which drove thousands of users to seek alternate solutions. This is widely regarded as the tipping point for WordPress.

In October 2004, he was recruited by CNET[7] to work on WordPress for them and help them with blogs and new media offerings. He dropped out of college and moved to San Francisco from Houston, TX the following month.

In December 2004, Mullenweg announced bbPress[8] which he wrote from scratch in a few days over the holidays.

Mullenweg and the WordPress team released WordPress 1.5 "Strayhorn"[9] in February 2005, which had over 900,000 downloads. The release introduced their theme system, moderation features, and a new front end and back end redesign.

During late March and early April 2005, Andrew Baio found at least 168,000 hidden articles on the WordPress.org website that were using a technique known as cloaking.[10] Mullenweg admitted accepting the questionable advertisement and removed all articles from the domain.[11]

After a somewhat quiet year, in October 2005 he announced he was leaving CNET[12] to focus on WordPress and related activities full time.

Several days later, on October 25, Akismet was made public to the world.[13] Akismet is a distributed effort to stop comment and trackback spam by using the collective input of everyone using the service.

In November 2005 Mullenweg's project WordPress.com stopped being invite-only and opened up to the world.

In December 2005 he announced Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com and Akismet. Automattic employed people who had contributed to the WordPress project, including lead developer Ryan Boren and WordPress MU creator Donncha O Caoimh. An Akismet licensing deal[14] and WordPress bundling[15] was announced with Yahoo! Small Business web hosting about the same time.

In January 2006 Mullenweg recruited former Oddpost CEO and Yahoo! executive Toni Schneider to join Automattic as CEO, bringing the size of the company to 5.

It was discovered in April 2006 through a Regulation D filing that Automattic raised approximately 1.1 million dollars in funding[16], which Mullenweg addressed in his blog. Investors were Polaris Ventures, True Ventures, Radar Partners, and CNET.

The first WordCamp conference in July 2006 was pulled together in 3 weeks, in the style of BarCamp, attracting over 300 people to the Swedish American Hall in San Francisco. The first WordCamp Argentina event was held on October 31, 2007 in Buenos Aires.

In March 2007 he was named #16 of the 50 Most Important People on the Web by PC World, reportedly the youngest on the list[17].

In October 2007 Mullenweg acquired the Gravatar service[18] and was rumored to have turned down a US$200 million offer to buy his company Automattic[19].

January 2008 Automattic in raising an additional US$29.5 million for the company from Polaris Venture Partners, True Ventures, Radar Partners, and the New York Times Company[20]. According to Mullenweg's blog the funding was a result of spurned acquisition offers months before and the decision to keep the company independent. At the time the company had 18 employees[21]. One of the reported plans for the funding was in a forum service called TalkPress[22].

In July 2008 Mullenweg was featured on the cover of Linux Journal wearing a Fight Club t-shirt[23]. Later that month a San Francisco Chronicle story put him on the cover of the business section and noted he still drove a Chevrolet Lumina and WordPress.com was ranked #31 on Alexa with 90 million monthly page views[24].

September 2008 brought more press coverage with Mullenweg being named to the Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30 by Inc. Magazine[25] and one of the 25 Most Influential People on the Web by BusinessWeek[26], again the youngest on BusinessWeek's list.

In January 2009 Mullenweg told USA Today that Automattic was profitable, had 35 employees, had gotten an office on Pier 38 in San Francisco, and had landed CNN as a client for WordPress.com[27].

It was reported in May 2009 that due to Mullenweg's unwillingness to comply with Chinese censorship WordPress.com was effectively blocked by China's Golden Shield Project.[28]

Notes

External links

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