Year One at Automattic

Wild to think that it’s already been a year since I posted “Thanks Dow Jones, Hello Automattic” on my very first day at Automattic.

Thinking about the last year, it’s easy to sum up the experience so far with just two words: Amazing & Rewarding. A bit cheesy, I know, but 100% true 🙂

My other strong feeling about the last year is that above all else, people matter. When I think back to some of my M&A work in prior jobs, and various due-diligence projects where we did a deep dive on a company, I always held to the belief that beyond a stellar P&L, smart biz model, and various technology assets — what made a company truly great were the people.

And in that regard I’ve been fortunate in my current role at Automattic to be surrounded by smart, talented and motivated people who are also truly the kind of people you want to hang out with and play pool 🙂

Lastly with these kind of anniversaries, it’s always fun to look back and see what’s changed. Here are a few stats for WordPress.com from when I joined VS today:

May/June 2007 – Biggest traffic day: 8.07 million pageviews
May/June 2008 – Biggest traffic day: 35.5 million pageviews

May/June 2007 – Number of blogs on WordPress.com: A bit over 1 million
May/June 2008 – Number of blogs on WordPress.com: 3.36+ million

May/June 2007 – Unique visitors to WordPress.com: 40 million
May/June 2008 – Unique visitors to WordPress.com: 168 million

And as they say — the best is yet to come.

Raanan.com Now With Identicons !

On WordPress.com right now, and in the next release of self hosted WordPress – version 2.6 –  you have a few extra settings that relate to avatars:

What’s cool is that for people who haven’t yet added an avatar, like my friend Rama, instead of the “mystery man” icon, I am now showing an Identicon.

What’s an Identicon you ask ? “An Identicon is a visual representation of a hash value, usually of the IP address, serving to identify a user of a computer system” ( source Wikipedia ).  In addition, the Identicon will show the same generated avatar each time for that person without an avatar.

I’ve turned it on on my blog, and you can see it in action in this post.  If you blog on WordPress.com, you can access these new option in Dashboard > Settings > Discussion.

More info posted by Matt over on the WordPress.com blog.

Search WordPress.com

A new feature on WordPress.com today: Search !

WordPress.com is fast approaching 3 million blogs, with hundreds of thousands of posts and pages being created by our brilliant and attractive users every day. Tags and categories help group the content, but finding exactly what you are looking for can still be tricky. We also feel like you guys are creating some of the best stuff on the web, there’s a natural selection of people tasteful enough to end up on WordPress in the first place. ;) That’s where our new search feature comes in.

Joseph Scott and the team did lots of interesting work – go check it out: http://en.search.wordpress.com/

WordPress 2.5

WordPress 2.5 was released over the weekend ! Super exciting and the feedback has been really positive. Check out the coverage on techmeme, and also be sure to visit WordPress.org which has also undergone a redesign thanks to Matt Thomas.

WordPress 2.5 has many new features including a one-click gallery function that is sure to be a big hit. Matt Mullenweg did a quick screencast showing this feature:
Vodpod videos no longer available.

For full details head over to the announcement post on WordPress.org.

Party

We co-hosted a party Tuesday night in NYC along with The New York Times, Sphere, Hearst Interactive, GigaOM and True Ventures.

The idea was to bring together lots of various media companies, both traditional and new — and talk about tech, web2.0, publishing, and all the great activity happening in our space.

The venue was a perfect symbol of the blending on traditional and new, the recently redesigned Hearst building on 57th & 8th ave, with one of the best views I’ve seen in New York – an unobstructed view of central park.

Big thanks to everyone involved especially Shea Di Donna who as always makes it all happen like magic !

It was great to see lots of familiar face including Jason Schaeffer of CNNMoney, Lindsay Campbell of MobLogic.tv, Jamie Thingelstad of Dow Jones, Adam Embick of Sphere, Kelly Leach of Dow Jones, Jon Friedman of MarketWatch, Andrew Madden of Google, Josh Macht of HBR, Karen Saltser of Real Simple, Scott Kurnit, Jeff Misenti of Fox News, Ken Marcus of CondeNet, Tim Morrison of TIME.com, and Christine Mohan of Dow Jones & allthingsD.

Jason Calcanis was also there and captured some video via his Qik.com mobile hookup, and Jamie Thingelstad and Josh Guttman of Sphere also captured a few photos.

Great event and always fun to be back in New York.

BuddyPress News

One of my favorite WordPress projects out there has been the BuddyPress project – focused on turning WordPress MU into a full fledged social network platform ( more info here ).

Today we announced that Andy Peatling, who created BuddyPress, has joined our Automattic team. In addition, the BuddyPress project will become an Automattic project, much as we’ve done with WordPress, bbPress, Gravatar, and Akismet.

Lots of coverage tracked on techmeme.

New WordPress.com Feature: Prologue

At our Automattic offsite last week, Joseph Scott and Matt Thomas created a very cool new WordPress theme that we plan to use in-house: Prologue.

Inspired by Twitter, you can see it in action in this live demo.  Prologue is also available as an open source theme to use with your self-hosted WordPress blog.

Full details here on the WordPress.com blog plus an early review on Mashable.

My gut tells me we’ll see some really interesting mods with this theme — can’t wait.

UPDATE: Lots of interest already — the announcement post just made the top of techmeme:
prologue

Automattic news

Some very exciting news tonight – we announced a $29.5M series B round of funding.

Our CEO Toni Schneider summarizes it well:

Late last year we sat down to figure out how we’d like to expand our business in 2008 and beyond. Since things are working well, we didn’t want to make any major changes. However, we did set a couple of new goals. One was to put enough money in the bank to have financial security for years to come. Another was to invest more aggressively into our “other” products and services (other than WordPress) like Akismet, Gravatar, and bbPress. Today’s financing will help us achieve both of those goals.

Lots of coverage including: wsj , GigaOM, new york times, ReadWriteWeb, toni, and matt (sporting his new ma.tt domain !).

You can also track the discussion over on techmeme.

WordPress.com now offering 3 gigs of free space

We just announced a very big upgrade on WordPress.com

… everyone’s free upload space has been increased 60x from 50mb to 3,000mb. To get the same amount of space at our nearest competitor, Typepad, you’d pay at least $300 a year. Blogger only gives you 1GB. We’re doing the same thing for free.

Our hope is that much in the same way Gmail transformed the way people think about email, we’ll give people the freedom to blog rich media without having to worry about how many kilobytes are left in their upload space.

TechCrunch weighs in on the news & feel free to digg it 🙂