HOW WORDPRESS AND TUMBLR ARE KEEPING THE INTERNET WEIRD
Matt Mullenweg is the CEO of Automattic, the company that owns WordPress.com, which he co-founded, and Tumblr, the irrepressible social network it acquired from the wreckage of AOL, Yahoo, and Verizon.
Matt’s point of view is that the world is better off when the web is open and fun, and Automattic builds and acquires products that help that goal along. That bet is perhaps most pronounced with WordPress itself. Around 43 percent of all the websites on the internet run on WordPress, which is a piece of open-source software anyone can download and use for free. It is officially administered by the WordPress Foundation, but if you don’t want the hassle, you can just go to WordPress.com and pay Automattic to do most of the work for you. It is an absolutely fascinating model that has obviously worked really well, and I wanted to know more about why Matt set it up that way and what the challenges of that structure are.
I also wanted to talk about Tumblr — it’s Taylor Swift’s favorite social platform, and it is one of those things that users have kept alive no matter how many corporate owners have tried to kill it. But like every social platform, it has meaningful moderation challenges. Famously, to get an app on Apple’s app store, it had to ban porn, which users are still upset about. Matt and I talked about those challenges.