Automattic Series C

We announced some funding news today – so no need to keep reading those rumor based posts :)

Here are the official details from our CEO, Matt Mullenweg:

I’ll start with the big stuff: Automattic is raising $160M, all primary, and it’s the first investment into the company since 2008. This is obviously a lot of money, especially considering everything we’ve done so far has been built on only about $12M of outside capital over the past 8 years.

And a good recap by Liz Gannes and Kara Swisher over on re/code.net.

What do the WordPress VIP Workshop & the Google exec team retreat have in common?

While reading this post about Google & Larry Page on Business Insider, I ran across this blurb:

In February 2013, Google’s senior executives flew in from around the world to meet at the Carneros Inn, a rustic resort in the hilly vineyards of Napa Valley. This was Google’s annual two-day, top-secret retreat for senior executives.

Carneros Inn is a magical place – and is also home to our annual VIP Developer Workshop.

USC Talk & a surprise about Snapchat usage

I gave a talk at USC earlier this week about Automattic and WordPress — something I’ve done for 3 years in a row now.

It’s always a ton of fun, and I make sure to do a survey (by show of hands) each time to see what these undergrad & grad students are using in terms of popular services.

Here are the results:
WordPress: about 75%+ use WordPress in some capacity
Facebook: 100%
Twitter: about 75%
Tumblr: 33%
Note taking: Evernote vs Simplenote vs Pen & Paper: About 33% Evernote, the rest a combination of email, other apps, or nothing. And one person still using a pen & paper.
iOS vs Android: 75% iOS, 25% Android
SMS vs GroupMe vs MessageMe vs Snapchat: SMS still used by everyone, but the surprise here was Snapchat being used by over 50% of the class.

I asked the obvious question of what they were using Snapchat for – and the answer was that it was just a free SMS-like service, easy to send media, works all over the world and w/ friends overseas — and basically that everyone is on it. Was pretty clear it’s moved beyond the salacious roots (or at least how it was covered early on).

So a big thanks to Zach Posner for having me, and for his entire class for engaging in a really fun and interesting discussion – appreciate the tweets and Instagrams too :)

WordPress and Politics Plus DNC 2012 Pix

For this election cycle, both the DNC and RNC powered their sites with WordPress, and a good many candidates this year at all levels did as well. It’s a huge signal that among those building sites in politics who want to take advantage of great CMS capabilities, top notch social integration, and out-of-the-box search friendly content — that the natural choice is now WordPress..

For a bit more context, WordPress powered 40% of the sites involved with the US Senate races, 35% of Congressional races, and over 41% of Gubernatorial races. We just put together a great infographic, WordPress Powers Politics, that is worth checking out with more of these stats.

In terms of events, our WordPress.com VIP team was in Charlotte earlier this month at the Democratic National Convention. I was able to swing by for a couple of days of meetings and to get an overall sense on how our government is using WordPress.

This DNC was my first one, and I had also been to the RNC when it was held in NY in 2004 when I was working at TIME.

Here are a few pics that I took:

New Liveblogging Add-On for our WordPress.com VIPs

Really excited about this new feature that the VIP team built – and just in time for Apple’s September 12th announcement :)

More details on vip.wordpress.com/liveblog-add-on/

5 Years at Automattic

Thanks to my wonderful colleague Mo who reminded that I’ve now been @ Automattic for 5 years !

I can’t imagine having a better job and a better set of colleagues to work with — I’m looking forward to the next 5 years.

And as I did after my one year anniversary, here are some fun stats to look at:

Biggest traffic day:
May/June 2007 – 8 million pageviews
May/June 2008 – 35 million pageviews
May/June 2012 – 130 million pageviews

Number of blogs on WordPress.com:
May/June 2007 – A bit over 1 million
May/June 2008 – 3.3 million
May/June 2012 – 32+ million

Unique Monthly Visitors to WordPress.com:
May/June 2007 – 40 million
May/June 2008 – 168 million
May/June 2012 – Over 350 million

How to Know What Powers that Website

Over on W3Techs they do great work analyzing which platforms power the top 1 million sites.

It’s a fascinating bunch of stats and insights into what is going on, and WordPress as a platform has the top spot with 16.6% overall, and over 54% of the content management systems:

It’s hard to visualize that 16.6% number which is nearly 6 times larger than the next platform. It’s also very hard to know when you are on a WordPress powered site.

Unlike Twitter or Facebook which always have “twitter.com” or “facebook.com” in the address bar, tens of millions of WordPress sites are either self-hosted running their own domain, or on WordPress.com and running a mapped domain (as I do on this blog). So just because a site doesn’t live on “example.wordpress.com”, doesn’t mean it’s not using WordPress.

So how do you know when you are visiting a WordPress powered site ? You can view-source and look for some specifics, or check the http headers — but most of us won’t be doing that on a typical basis.

But there is an easier way. If you are running the Chrome browser, an extension called Chrome Sniffer will show you what is powering the site you are visiting by placing a small logo of that platform/service in the address bar:

The code for the extension itself is GPL and the project lives at nqbao.com/chrome-sniffer.

Here is what my address bar looks like when I visit my own blog after installed the Chrome Sniffer extension:

For Firefox users, a similar extension is available at wappalyzer.com. And if you don’t want to install anything, you can manually paste in web addresses into ismyblogworking.com and it will provide similar info plus a bunch of other useful bits.

So give it a shot, you’ll be surprised to see what powers the sites you visit each day.

Great Panel on the Science of Sharing

Beyond and MBooth put on a great event last night at the Box SF space.

The first part of the evening detailed the findings of the study by Beyond and M Booth which examined how consumers interact with brands online and identified the channels that influence them.

The second part of the evening was a panel discussion with myself, Rick Silvestrini from YouTube, Carla Bourque from Buddy Media, and Drake Martinet from AllThingsD (a WP.com VIP) – and moderated by David Hargreaves and Josh Rosenberg.

We covered a ton of topics and one in particular was the question of where to author your content and on which of the various services.  I opened things up with the concept of  using an open source / open SaaS platform such as WordPress/WordPress.com as a digital hub (hosted on your own domain), where you author all the content and then smartly push it out to your YouTube/Twitter/FB/Instagram.

I think the entire panel agreed, although we are seeing some exceptions where brands are choosing to do Facebook only campaigns for example.  Later in the q&a, there was a great follow-up question on this topic of how to deal with services like FB who are trying to monetize your users and at the same time control every aspect of the platform, all the while providing an impressive social experience.  It’s a tough balancing act for brands, and I think it speaks to the advantages of a digital hub strategy, where ultimately there is a home for all the content and interactions which a brand ties back in from the various social services – and it removes the grasp of a single service controlling the entire  set of interactions with your audience/user base.

The evening discussion was also a kick-off of sorts to the San Francisco Social Media Week which will be held in February 2012 – and is shaping up to be a great event.  I’m an advisor and helping where I can — and if you are passionate about this area and looking to get involved or interested in becoming a speaker at the event, drop me a note — we’d love to hear from you.

Reblog: The Return of My Unsolicited Annual Plug for WordPress.com

Nice post from John Scalzi:

Today marks the third anniversary of Whatever’s association with WordPress.com, via its VIP hosting service, and the best compliment I can think to give WordPress.com in this regard is that it’s been three years since I’ve had to think about whether my blog is up and running.

via The Return of My Unsolicited Annual Plug for WordPress.com – Whatever.