While a decision has not yet been finalized, judging by the responses so far on this blog post discussing the pros and cons of participating, it looks like WordPress may not be part of the event this year. Google Code In is an annual event sponsored by Google that is aimed at students between the ages of 13 and 17. The goal of the program is to encourage youths to participate in open source which is in contrast to Google Summer of Code which is aimed at university students. We’ll know whether or not WordPress is part of the program either through the WordPress.org website or when Google announces the participating mentoring organizations on November 9th.
By Jeffro on October 19, 2011
By Jeffro on September 27, 2011
A few days ago, I was linked to an article on ITProportal.com by Desire Athow who asked the question, When Will Microsoft Buy Automattic & WordPress?. The article is confusing to follow because the author failed to delineate between WordPress the open-source project and WordPress.com. However, the usual suspects cleared things up within the comments of the post. For everyone else, here is a reminder.
WordPress.com is a service that is owned and operated by Automattic, a privately funded company. WordPress.org which is also known as self-hosted software is an open source project that is owned by no one. WordPress is a trademark that is controlled by the WordPress Foundation. Therefor, the open-source project can never be acquired while WordPress.com and or Automattic could be.
Personally, I hope Automattic is never acquired but seeing as how they are spending someone else’s money to run the business (investors) and I don’t have any specific information with regards to company ownership, there might be a time in the future where acquisition becomes the exit strategy. When talking about who would or could acquire Automattic, Microsoft seems to pop up all the time. I think this would be a huge waste of cash by Microsoft and a terrible acquisition. Windows Live Spaces was Microsoft’s attempt at hosting a blogging service which after 4 years, ended up being migrated over to WordPress.com. So in a way, Automattic acquired Windows Live Spaces without spending any cash. But if Microsoft were to ever offer a billion or two for Automattic, who knows what could happen.
When we talk about acquisition, it’s important to note that at one time during the history of Automattic, the company was ALMOST acquired. Matt Mullenweg pulled the trigger but thanks to the lengthy time period during negotiations, doubts took over his mind. He eventually decided that it was best to stay independent and go for it. Thank goodness he did because Automattic has grown into a very healthy company. However, the question that I have is, would Matt be willing to pull the trigger again?
I don’t think so, not unless it was the nuclear option. Since 2007, Matt has shown glimpses that money is not the end all be all. It’s not his number one priority in life to be wealthy. Instead, it goes way beyond the materials of life. If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend reading the Automattic creed which is tied to the company but it works for the open source WordPress project as well.
I will never stop learning. I won’t just work on things that are assigned to me. I know there’s no such thing as a status quo. I will build our business sustainably through passionate and loyal customers. I will never pass up an opportunity to help out a colleague, and I’ll remember the days before I knew everything. I am more motivated by impact than money, and I know that Open Source is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation. I will communicate as much as possible, because it’s the oxygen of a distributed company. I am in a marathon, not a sprint, and no matter how far away the goal is, the only way to get there is by putting one foot in front of another every day. Given time, there is no problem that’s insurmountable.
The most obvious thing to point out in this creed is the line I am more motivated by impact than money, and I know that Open Source is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation. Between WordPress.com and the open source project, the impact those two things have had has been tremendous stretching from the world of publishing, to giving people a voice in which they might not have had one otherwise. When it comes to money, it’s easy to see from the initial rounds of VC funding that money is not the main priority. The first round was $1.2 million dollars which was secured in 2006 that lasted through 2008. On January 23rd, 2008 Automattic secured $29.5 million dollars. Compared to other rounds of funding for many other companies, this is pocket change. That money has been spent on service acquisitions, hiring more Auttomaticians, and generally making WordPress.com a better service which at the same time, helps to increase that IMPACT that was mentioned earlier.
Over the past four years, it’s become obvious to me that Matt and Automattic have lived by the company creed and take it very seriously. Automattic is what helps Matt pay the bills while at the same time, satisfy his passion for open source software through WordPress. Up to this point, Matt has done a great job of being able to balance the two and if you were to remove him thanks to an acquisition, I feel we would have one screwed up situation on our hands with that balance being ruined.
Despite my wishes for Automattic to never be acquired with Matt at the helm, I realize that everything has a price. I just hope that price is something very few people or companies can pay.
By Jeffro on September 14, 2011
WordCamp Central is now managed by Andrea Middleton instead of Jane Wells. Within the post, Jane mentions that she will take on more of an advisory role while Andrea will be handling all of the management activities associated with the position. According to the facts presented within the introduction post, it certainly seems as though Andrea has the right credentials for the job.
By Jeffro on September 5, 2011
Joost de Valk who is pretty popular these days, especially after the release of his Yoast SEO Plugin tells us the story of how one of his sites was hacked because a theme containing the TimThumb vulnerability was not updated. If that were not interesting enough, Joost shares a statistic that doesn’t surprise me one bit. According to Joost, after he releases an update to his plugins, he rarely sees more than 20% of the user base upgrade within the first week.
We, as a community, need to get better at that.
I agree. People such as myself have harped on the fact that people need to start upgrading their WordPress installs sooner rather than later once an update has been released. I don’t have the numbers to back it up but I’m willing to bet that thanks to the easier upgrading processes built into WordPress, there is a larger number of people updating within the first week compared to when users had to manually upload the updated files to the server.
As if keeping abreast of updates for WordPress were not enough, users have to be vigilante on knowing when there are updates for both plugins and themes. Despite WooThemes publishing the information on their website regarding the security flaw and the associated fix, Joost still became a victim one month later. It seems as though KNOWING about the update is at least half the battle. Therefor, what do you think is the best way or ways to keep users abreast of updates for plugins and themes, especially as it relates to security releases? As it stands, the only time I know of when a plugin or theme needs to be updated is when I’m at the dashboard screen and I see the notifications. Should there be a built-in function in WordPress that plugins as well as themes can use to send email notifications to administrators when an update is available? Or, do we rely on plugin and theme authors to individually come up with ways to help their user base keep in touch with updates?
By Jeffro on September 2, 2011
WPCandy has announced that they have launched a new service called Pressed Ads. While WPCandy was initially surviving ad free thanks to their Powered By System, reality has sunk in. Their powered by system will now be going in two directions, one for their readers and one for businesses. The unique advertising network will be centered around WordPress centric products and services while also being invite only for advertisers and publishers. It looks like the goal is to have Pressed Ads show up on the most influential WordPress sites which will provide extremely high relevancy with regards to the type of advertising that will be displayed on those sites through the network. Since the beginning of the year, the powered by system, has enabled Ryan to work on WPCandy full time which is amazing in and of itself.
I for one wish Ryan the best of luck. If he can manage to find a way to get paid enough money to live a semi decent life while putting food on the table not made of Ramen noodles which also allows him to work on WPCandy full-time, more power to him. He would then be accomplishing everything I didn’t. I tried advertising and managing that myself, affiliate programs, the botched VIP section in the forum and in fact, donations. None of the revenue was guaranteed and at times, I would go a few weeks without receiving a dime. I think my downfall in the advertising was that I was not a salesman and for the most part, didn’t want to be one. The best situation that could have happened for me was if I could find someone willing to pay me a flat fee on a weekly basis. Sort of like an investment, an investment in ME and the content I publish. That way, WPTavern ended up more like a job for me that I knew I was going to get paid for versus busting my ass and sometimes reaping no rewards. But I could never figure out how I’d convince anyone to go through with that type of investment, at least not anyone with the kind of income that would even consider it valuable to do so. I just wanted to concentrate on generating the content I and my readers/listeners enjoyed without going broke.
Right now, WPCandy is the place to be. It’s the hip spot when it comes to WordPress news and community. Ryan knows the people he needs to know and it’s obvious he has the support of some great companies that are backing him on his work with WPCandy and now, Pressed Ads. Now it’s time to see if his passion and desire along with all that support are enough to get him and the site up to the next level.
By Jeffro on August 29, 2011
If you’re still looking for a book to help you learn the basics of both the self hosted version of WordPress and WordPress.com, The Complete Idiot’s Guide To WordPress might be for you. Pierre DeBois over at SmallBizTrends has given his review of the book and from his perspective, it looks like a good read that sets the foundation to excel with WordPress.
By Jeffro on August 24, 2011
WordPress Developer, freelancer and friend of mine Ptah Dunbar, was recently in a head on collision accident that nearly took his life. Everything you need to know regarding what happened can be read on the following Google Plus page but to make a long story short, Ptah found himself going headfirst off of his motorcycle through the windshield of a taxi without wearing a helmet. He was actually pronounced dead on the scene but was able to be brought back.
Thanks to the awesome people that make up the WordPress community, a website was started to help pay for some of his hospital bills as well as living expenses called GetWellPtah.com. Shortly after going live, the goal of $6,000.00 was reached and in fact, was exceeded by about $500.00.
A big thanks to all that donated to help Ptah get better. I’ve known the guy since attending my first ever Wordcamp event back in 2007, WordCamp Dallas. He has an awesome sense of humor while also being a talented coder. Ptah, I sincerely hope you get better and if there is any money left over, please buy a super cool helmet so this doesn’t happen again!