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
We (Automattic) hosted an event today with Mayor Gavin Newsom for the beta launch of DataSF.org.
Really smart initiative around providing public data to the citizens of San Francisco:
The new web site will provide a clearinghouse of structured, raw and machine-readable government data to the public in an easily downloadable format. For example, there will be updated crime incident data from the police department and restaurant inspection data from the Department of Public Health. The initial phase of the web site includes more than 100 datasets, from a range of city departments, including Police, Public Works, and the Municipal Transportation Agency
I travel a lot, but when I’m in San Francisco, I usually work from home. Everyone else works from home, too. We’re a virtual company. We recently got an office on Pier 38, a five-minute walk from my apartment. I’ll go to there once a week, usually Thursdays, and for board meetings, which happen about once every two months. We leased it so we wouldn’t have to keep borrowing conference rooms from our VC partners. It’s kind of sad; we have this great space right on the water — and six days a week, it’s empty. Of the 40 people working for the company, eight are in the Bay Area, but that’s just a coincidence. They could be anywhere in the world.
We all communicate using P2, something we launched that allows users to publish group blogs in WordPress. It’s a bit like Twitter, but the updates come in real time. With P2, we can share code and ideas instantly. There is a dedicated channel for each part of the company, and when there’s a new message, it shows up in red. It may be someone talking about development or what he or she had for breakfast. I also use Skype for one-on-one and mini group chats.
In my home office, I have two large, 30-inch computer monitors — a Mac and a PC. They share the same mouse and keyboard, so I can type or copy and paste between them. I’ll typically do Web stuff on the Mac and e-mail and chat stuff on the PC. I also have a laptop, which I have with me all the time, whether I’m going overseas or to the doctor’s office. I’m pretty rough on my laptops. I go through about two a year. I keep a server for my home network in the closet. I really enjoy computer networking. I sometimes do tech support for our employees who live in the Bay Area.
I know people I talk to are always fascinated by our organization and how we are setup and completely virtual. This piece provides a few more good insights as to how it all works.
I’m biased — but this new UI is simply breathtaking and clairvoyant in it’s intuitiveness — how you would expect to do things is now how things are done — a very zen-like experience ! And the feedback pouring in from bloggers on WordPress.com hasbeen very positive.
And just a quick word on the pure launch logistics last night on WordPress.com – simply amazing. When you take into consideration that we are completely virtual company and in multiple countries, a relatively small team, run a service in multiple data centers with nearly 5 million blogs, and you look at the sheer amount of work and coordination that it took – not to mention the technical skill – it was a thing of pure beauty to watch it all come together. Everything happened in real-time, there was no down-time maintenance window, no launch and revert and postpone, and no 5am all-hands meeting. Just a group of rockstar colleagues working in sync and getting things done – really impressive.
The timing is great since the Automattic team is in the mountains of Colorado at our bi-annual company meetup, and we’ve all been able to get the know the talented PollDaddy team of Lenny and Eoin.
From my earlier days at TIME.com I’ve known that polls were huge and that readers loved particiapting. This has been echoed in the WordPress world with very popular WordPress plugins for polls. I’m including my quick poll here:
Feels like just the other day I was writing about passing 3 million blogs on WordPress.com. Today we passed 4 million legit blogs, a number which doesn’t count the hundreds of thousands we’ve deleted which were spam:
I think the daily word count is also pretty amazing — 50 million+ just today