"Thesis, Automattic, and WordPress. A 10,000 word story to describe a conflict of ideology." by Brian Krogsgard
Chris Pearson and Matt Mullenweg have hardly communicated with one another in the last five years, but they are ideological enemies. They have very strong personalities and unshakable beliefs on business and software. This is a story of their dispute, their idealism, and the implications it will have on the WordPress project. Chris Pearson and Matt Mullenweg have hardly communicated with one another in the last five years, but they are ideological enemies. They are both wealthy individuals (though of different magnitudes) thanks to their online endeavors, with very strong personalities and unshakable beliefs on business and software. This is a story of their dispute, their idealism, and the implications it will have on the WordPress project.
Matt Mullenweg co-founded WordPress, founded Automattic, and is one of the most successful entrepreneurs of his generation. He runs a billion dollar “unicorn” startup centered on a culture of embracing open source technology and has achieved incredible success embracing principles counterintuitive to either Silicon Valley or big corporate culture. He’s paving a new path for how to create a valuable software company while religiously defending and
When we launched this website two and a half years ago (oh my was that so far back?), together with a lot of novelties in the way we follow WordPress news we introduced a unique algorithm that measures member contribution to the site. It is somewhat based on Google's PageRank algo and it awards users that upvote good content and punishes those that upvote spammy stuff.
Tom Harrigan is first and Ryan and Donna are soon going to be in the 10.00 club too. As a reminder, vote strength of 10 means that Tom's vote counts as 10 new account votes. So if a bad article is shared, and a spammer creates nine accounts and upvote it, an article that Tom shares around that same time would still outrank it. Same goes for voting on an another article.
If a WordPress news organization wants a new editor they know where to look :)
Congrats Tom and thanks to all members for making this website a great one!
ps. full list of members is available here
Read thoughts of Tom McFarlin about The WordPress Community which he believes is a Comedy of Drama, Ego, Oligarchies, and More
I don’t know why I feel compelled to begin a post like this, but this is going to be a lengthy as it covers quite of a bit of the state of the culture of WordPress right now. As someone who loves the software, makes a living off of it, and tries to follow along with everything going on with it, things have gotten really intense over the past few weeks – more intense than usual, that is – and it’s kind of a bummer to see.
Secondly, I’ve been told on a couple of occasions in the past that I don’t do a good job of staking my own claim in terms of how I perceive a given situation. That is, I’ve been told that I tend to hang out in the gray versus the black or white of a issue (so I try to weigh both sides of an issue – big deal :) – but I thought maybe I’d take this time to lean in one direction or the other a little harder than I usually do.
Like I said, I don’t know why I should preface what I opt to write about in this post (as it kind of enforces the point above), but I figured it was worth giving some background of where I’m coming from.
And my experience won’t be the same as yours and yours won’t be the same as mine or the next persons, but this is my take on what I’ve seen over the
Pippin shares the highs and the lows of building his business around eCommerce platform. Pretty insightful to say the least.
At this time three years ago, I released a small eCommerce plugin to the world called Easy Digital Downloads, and now it’s anything but a small plugin. During the last few years, I have had some of the best highs of my life, and a few of the deepest lows. For my own reflection, I would like to look back at a few of hardships and a few of the peaks I encountered along the way. The team
First, I cannot thank enough the team of people that have helped propel us to where we are today. It may have started as a one man journey, but it was only that way for a short while. Today the Easy Digital Downloads team consists of four full-time developers and support staff, two part time support staff, and two very active contributing developers, and on May 1 we are bringing on another full time team member to manage documentation. To each of these individuals, I must express my most sincere gratitude for believing in the platform, trusting me to lead it, and sticking along side the rest of the team through good and bad. Without the hard work of everyone on the team, Easy Digital Downloads would only be a shadow of what it is today.
Growth of a code base
Easy Digital Downloads began as a relatively
Good luck on your new adventures Vid. Now.. well isn't this interesting...
Automattic has taken over a majority stake in Pressable, the managed WordPress hosting company, with a purchase of Pressable CEO Vid Luther’s shares of the company. They were already a significant investor. Automattic has purchased a majority stake in Pressable, one of the earliest managed WordPress hosting companies, founded in 2010. They were first known as ZippyKid, and rebranded in 2013.
Automattic was already a shareholder in Pressable, most recently as the primary investor of a $1.5 million round in April of 2015.
Technically, Automattic purchased common stock shares from Vid Luther, the CEO of Pressable. The monetary value of that common stock was, “enough to be debt free,” according to Vid. He owned about 37% of the company, or 4.5 million shares of 7 million shares of common stock (versus preferred shares). The company has also been in debt, reportedly close to $1 million worth.
Automattic is now the majority owner of Pressable, and since Vid sold his shares, this is effectively an acquisition, and Automattic will be able to set the direction of the company from now on. Chris Lauzon, a Happiness Engineer at Automattic, is the interim CEO. There are other smaller investors in
Alex King, one of the original contributors to WordPress, founder of CrowdFavorite, and all around nice guy has passed away after a battle with cancer.
Big news for the WordPress core leadership team: Andrew Nacin has joined the United States Digital Service.
Andrew Nacin now works at the U.S. Digital Service, the federal government service that aims to “redefine public service for a new generation.” Nacin continues his role as WordPress lead developer, but is stepping back from working on the project full time. Andrew Nacin hasn’t worked at Audrey Capital since January. At Audrey, he has worked for more than four years for WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg, exclusively on the WordPress project. He has joined the White House’s new U.S. Digital Service.
The U.S. Digital Service is a new organization that operates from the White House, with an aim to modernize and transform the way the federal government operates digitally.
When I was approached, I have to admit that I was nervous to step back from the day-to-day buzz of WordPress because I’ve invested so much. But the community stepped up, in most cases not even knowing about my life change. That’s the beauty of open source, and the fantastic WordPress community in particular. WordPress continues to play an important role in my life. With Matt Mullenweg’s support and encouragement, I’m taking time away from Audrey, where I’ve worked since 2010. I’m still actively involved in the project,
Great news! The website and code are all coming in under the WordPress.org umbrella and financial support is also involved.
WP.org no longer redirects to WP Beginner. Owner Syed Balkhi transferred ownership to the WP Foundation.
Over the last year and a half, if you typed in the domain wp.org, then you were redirected to WPBeginner. This was an unexpected and unpleasant surprise for many because you really wanted to visit WordPress.org, home of the popular content management system. Today, I’m pleased to announce that we have donated the domain to the WordPress Foundation. For majority of you, this doesn’t mean anything and life goes on as usual. For those who’re more involved in the WordPress community, this is a huge deal because now you can type wp.org in your Tweets, Slack messages, Facebook statuses, etc without cursing at me or WPBeginner.
I know this redirect was frustrating because many of you tweeted at me or sent us angry emails. To all of you and even those who took the high road, I want to apologize for my actions.
Now you’re probably wondering what changed?
The short answer is A LOT.
My wife and I are pregnant with our first baby. This has given me a new perspective on life as whole.
From ironing out a new will to working on expanding my life insurance coverage, there’s a lot happening. For the first time in my life, I’m thinking about unforseen circumstances.
A new benchmark of the 10 most popular WordPress caching plugins.
A speedy website attracts more traffic, reduces bounce rates, and ranks better on search engines. Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your site’s caching needs and invest in an upmarket plugin to reap the rewards of your hard work. High page load times have an adverse effect on your WordPress website and caching ensures that you never have to face them head on. In this article, we’ll aim for the lowest possible page load times with the right caching plugin by evaluating several different available options and ranking them based on page load times conducted in a real-world testing environment.
Let’s put this all into context before we move on to the tests.
A Note on Caching
In a nutshell, a cache is a component that stores data so future requests for that data can be served faster.
Generally, data is cached to reduce site speed and improve data fetching times. This is immensely useful in cases where a user frequently returns to a particular website. The site is cached and the browser doesn’t have to retrieve the entire site – it restores the cached version and receives the fresh information thus resulting in faster page load times.
Search engines take site speed seriously in their ranking
WordPress.com just announced AMP for their users- for self-hosted WordPress site they've released a plugin to enable the AMP support.
Your sites are about to get even faster on mobile devices: starting today, WordPress.com sites support Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) – a new initiative spearheaded by Google to dramatically improve the speed of your pages loading on phones and tablets. The best part? WordPress.com users don’t need to do a thing. AMP works automatically, loading a lightning-fast version of your posts. This means readers will get your content even faster on mobile when they come to your site from Google search, or news apps like Nuzzel.
To see AMP in action on WordPress.com, check out this article, or see a Google search demo at g.co/amp.
Speed matters on the web. AMP is an open-source framework that allows browsers and apps to load your sites quickly on mobile devices. See the AMP site for more details on how it works. We’re proud to be a partner in this initiative.
And if you have a self-hosted WordPress site, we’ve got you covered too. Here’s a free AMP plugin – click here to install it.
Expect to see more apps and sites embracing AMP in the weeks and months to come – and as a WordPress.com publisher, you’re ready right now.
Missing out on the latest WordPress.com developments? Enter
Andrew Nacin spoke at Loopconf about how utf8mb4 (aka Emoji) support was, to a degree, a guise for fixing a critical security vulnerability in WordPress.
Andrew Nacin, lead developer of WordPress, just finished a talk at Loopconf, where he talked about a WordPress security fix that was two years in the making, and included into WordPress core under the guise of Emoji support. Andrew Nacin just spoke at Loopconf about the nature of a critical software bug.
No strict mode on WordPress databases
At a base level, the problems originated in that WordPress did not enable strict mode for MySQL. If STRICT_ALL_TABLES has been enabled, the security vulnerability that was addressed in WordPress 4.2 would not exist.
Without strict mode, MySQL allows more flexible inputs, and doesn’t require the same level of precision in what it allows. For example, a long username would just truncate to the maximum allowed characters, versus be rejected.
Since MySQL can do strange things without strict mode enabled, there are obscure but significant ways for hackers to take advantage.
Defining the scope of a vulnerability
A vulnerability was disclosed to the WordPress security team about two years ago. At its core, the method for forcing MySQL truncation was by using four-byte characters, and then using tricks to store nefarious code in the database.
I am very happy to announce that we are launching the newest addition to the ManageWP.org site - the super-cool Plugin Discovery Tool.
Unlike 5 years ago, currently it is very hard for new plugins and plugin authors to build a name for themselves among the thousands of others. Yet, great plugins are being built each day.
Continuing with our mission to place the lesser known members of the community under the spotlight, the plugin discovery tool has the main goal to expose the best new plugins to the wider audience. Explore best new plugins in two categories under 100,000 downloads and the very new rising stars up to 5,000 downloads. The lists are updated and recreated every week so hopefully we will finally reduce the need for those repetitive top xxx plugins of the month type of posts.
That is not all, you can browse top lists of all WordPress plugins, get detailed information about them and even compare two plugins. Finally we introduced a Plugin Quality metric, which takes into account 7 different metrics to calculate the final score. This should help look beyond downloads and ratings to other things that matter like the dynamic of plugin updates, WordPress compatibility, handling support forums...
We used some pretty cool technology to achieve all this, and as you can see the page load times for the results are so fast you won't believe it.
In the future we have plans for an open API, including known security issues to plugin pages (via integration with WP Vulnerability database), allow plugin authors to edit their plugin page to add link to premium support and much more...
Last but not least, I would like to ask the members of this community to help spread the word about the new tool. Specifically if you run a news publishing site, or a blog or happen to write for one, this is a great opportunity. Thank you!
ps. I wrote a more detailed preview of the tool here: http://managewp.com/managewporg-plugin-discovery-tool
My Predictions for 2015 and beyond for WordPress, both the good, bad and ugly but end on a upbeat message I guess.
The secret of WordPress Caching Plugin Growing Their Monthly Revenue From Nothing to $35k
Congrats to ManageWP. And also kudos to Post Status for the scoop, or at least one of the first ones out the door with the news.
GoDaddy has acquired the WordPress website management service, ManageWP. ManageWP will remain a standalone app, and GoDaddy will integrate several features into their GoDaddy Pro and WordPress hosting plans. GoDaddy has acquired ManageWP, the popular website management service. The terms have not been officially disclosed, but it’s my understanding that the deal is structured based on a post-earn-out valuation that could change depending on performance. The deal closed on September 1st. GoDaddy declined to comment on the specifics of the financials.
ManageWP was founded in 2011, officially launched in January 2012, and has more than a quarter million websites on their service. Their team of nearly 30 people is headquartered in Serbia, but is capable for remote operations, and the entire team will join GoDaddy. Up to this point, ManageWP was fully self-funded. The company was founded my Vladimir Prelovac, who is coincidentally moving to the US, and will now work from GoDaddy’s Sunnyvale office; the company CEO is Ivan Bjelajac.
Speaking to Vladimir, he says the discussions with GoDaddy began several months ago, when they were seeking a potential partnership. The relationship
As discussed in length previously https://managewp.org/articles/11009/shall-we-allow-posts-that-are-not-strictly-wordpress-related
we are introducing the new Pro category.
The purpose of this category is to open our reach a little bit without losing our identity as the go-to place for exploring the WordPress ecosystem.
Basically the articles submitted to the new Pro category should answer a simple question: Does this article help a WordPress professional?
This means that the article falls under one of the categories we already have (Development, Security, Business, Community... ) just is not strictly related to WordPress, yet it would have an application in the WordPress (professional) world.
Vova Feldman gave a great example:
"For instance, an article about coding practices in Java is not relevant for MWP. Having said that, a cover of PHP7 upcoming features is very relevant, even if WordPress is not mentioned at all in the post. "
We are going to be super careful and super selective about the content here and I wouldn't be able to do this without the help of two new moderators:
Tom Harrigan https://managewp.org/members/884/tom-harrigan
and Jason Resnick https://managewp.org/members/3251/jason-resnick
Tom is the most influential person on managewp.org according to our statistics https://managewp.org/members so I beleive we will be in good hands.
And finally take a peek at the new Pro category:
The definitive guide on WordPress hosting performance and speed. It tests 19 WordPress hosting companies and a variety of plans to see which can handle large amounts of traffic reliably.
Sponsored by LoadStorm. The easy and cost effective load testing tool for web and mobile applications. This is the third round of managed WordPress web hosting performance testing. You can see the original here, and the November 2014 version here.
Note: Pressable and WebSynthesis [Reviews] were not interested in being tested this round and were excluded. WordPress.com dropped out due to technical difficulties in testing their platform (a large multi-site install).
Every company donated an account to test on. I checked to make sure I was on what appeared to be a normal server. The exception is WPEngine*. They wrote that I was “moved over to isolated hardware (so your tests don’t cause any issues for other customers) that is in-line with what other $29/month folks use.” From my understanding, all testing was done on a shared plan environment with no actual users on the server to share. So this is almost certainly the best case scenario performance wise, so I suspect the results look better than what most users would actually get.
†Tests were performed with SiteGround‘s proprietary SuperCacher module turned on fully with memcached.
The Products (Click for Full-Size Image)
Finally: "We’ve gained tremendous operational experience and confidence in our systems. The beta label is simply not necessary any more."
Let’s Encrypt announced that the project is exiting beta this week. The initiative, which aims to encrypt 100% of the web by making trusted certificates available to everyone at no cost, launched its beta seven months ago. Since our beta began in September 2015 we’ve issued more than 1.7 million certificates for more than 3.8 million websites. We’ve gained tremendous operational experience and confidence in our systems. The beta label is simply not necessary any more.
According to Let’s Encrypt sponsor Mozilla, more than 90% of the certificates are protecting websites that never had encryption before. Automattic is one of the early sponsors of the initiative and has partnered with Let’s Encrypt to add full SSL support for all sites hosted on WordPress.com. With the success of the beta period, Let’s Encrypt continues to renew and add sponsors to its roster, including Cisco, Akamai, Gemalto, HP Enterprise, Fastly, and other organizations.
“A mix of people and organizations use Let’s Encrypt,” Mozilla representatives told TechCrunch. “Many individuals and smaller entities use it, but quite a few larger organizations such as WordPress.com, OVH, Akamai and Dreamhost use it as well. It’s
If you knew about WordAds at WordPress.com it just opened the gates for self-hosted WordPress sites.
Automattic announced today that its WordAds advertising network is now available to self-hosted WordPress sites via Jetpack and the new AdControl plugin. WordAds, which bears a name confusingly similar to Google’s AdWords, delivers all the advertising seen on WordPress.com’s free sites. (Ad display on VIP or upgraded sites is opt-in.) Self-hosted WordPress site owners who want to earn money with WordAds must first apply to join the network and are required to meet a minimum traffic requirement. Automattic doesn’t publish the exact minimum necessary for eligibility but the WordAds FAQ page says “a site generally needs thousands of page views each month.” The site will also need to have both Jetpack and the AdControl plugin installed.
“We’ve been working on the plugin off and on (mostly off) since mid 2014,” said Derek Springer, a Code Wrangler at Automattic who helped write the AdControl plugin. “We took a big pause to completely re-work the back end (WordAds 2.0) which is what we are now using all over WordPress.com.”
WordAds 2.0, unveiled in November 2015, integrated WordAds into WordPress.com’s main Settings interface with earnings reports and payout information. It also introduced
I am pleased to make an announcement that we are launching another part of the site, called Events!
The main idea of this tool is to make finding an interesting WordPress event easier. Let's say you are traveling to Europe and want to see what WordCamps and other WordPress related events you can check out while on the road? We have a map for that that you can filter by dates as well.
As with the Plugin discovery tool launched previously, we took something that is missing in the community, delved into the problem, added a bit of magic and the result is the most comprehensive WordPress event tracker today. We track WordCamps, meetups and all non-WordCamp conferences around the world in an easy to use, beautiful looking interface.
Find an event you'd like to attend, or claim or create an event if you are an organizer. The Event tracker is the result of a lot of hard, manual work and the way we want to keep it scalable is to have event organizers 'claim' and update their events in the future. So this is also a call for all of you who have their event listed to email email@example.com with your information and ManageWP.org username so we can assign your event to you.
I'm very happy to announce that today we are officially launching ManageWP.org.
Over the past six months we made a lot of effort to make this ship sail, and I hope some of that is visible on the surface from the way the site looks & feels. We still wanted to keep minimum of features for the first release so please feel free to suggest anything you're missing on ManageWP.org in this thread as well as any bugs you might find (we are ready for that :)
Finally, we'd love any help spreading out the word and getting best WordPress users to this ship.
Brian interviewed Matt Mullenweg and asked about stuff related to REST API and Calypso. Must read, must listen category :)
Matt Mullenweg is the co-founder of WordPress, and founder and CEO of Automattic. In this interview, we talk about their new WordPress.com editor, and more. I had the opportunity to interview Matt Mullenweg about an ambitious project that included more than a year and a half of development to create an all new WordPress.com interface, both for the web and a desktop app. The project was codenamed Calypso, and we talked about many aspects fo Calypso, as well as a variety of subjects that relate to it.
You can subscribe (and you should!) to the Post Status Draft Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or via RSS. If you like the show, I’d highly appreciate if you share it with your friends and colleagues.
Why did you make such a big bet on Calypso?
Matt has talked for a while now about his vision that WordPress can become an “app platform”, and this is an example of what that meant to him.
He also notes how he’s always looking for things that will “move the needle” for greater WordPress adoption. We were both thinking about the same statistic: that roughly 96% of WordPress.com users (and probably a high number of WordPress.org users too) essentially abandon their websites after a short tenure. So