We sketched out a rough plan that I captured from my iPhone:
Whiteboard sketch from initial meeting re: WordPress iPad app
We were committed to getting the app out for the iPad launch, and leveraged much of what was already in the popular WordPress for iPhone app functionality wise, but completely redid the UI and interactions for the iPad version. Matt Thomas who did a ton of great work on this app and redesigned iphone.wordpress.org, described the goals of the initial app like this:
“So what’s new for the iPad? In order to ensure that using WordPress on your iPad would be a great experience from day one, we decided not to add any new features. Nada. This release is all about taking advantage of a huge 9.7″ touchscreen. Writing and editing posts is far easier than before. Skimming through your comments and moderating them is far faster than before. And using the app is simply more beautiful than before. “
On a personal note, I’m excited to get my iPad tomorrow and ditch the simulator for a while 🙂 I’m eager to see what my usage patterns will be with a device that clearly falls in between my iPhone and MacBook Pro. I’m already seeing positive anticipation from top bloggers as well, such as Om Malik — and my hunch is that for content consumption and drafting of new content, this will be a killer device. And no question that for managing your WordPress site — managing comments, editing posts, and even writing some long form posts — this will be an experience unlike any other.
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.
In an effort to encourage Iraq to use social media to rebuild itself, the State Department sent representatives from Twitter, Google, YouTube and WordPress to Baghdad in late April. For five days, they visited universities, met with technology companies, and sat down with Iraqi president Jalal Talabani.
Raanan Bar-Cohen was there. He’s vice president of Automattic, which leads the WordPress open-source project, a blog-publishing tool. Raanan spoke with Word of Mouth about how he observed Iraqis using social networks during his visit.
Since we are very distributed company here at Automattic, we use lots of online collaboration tools including IRC, Skype, blogs, and wikis. The other big thing we’ve been using internally is a WordPress theme called Prologue that we developed last year.
Prologue is essentially a group twitter theme, and we’ve been hard at work updating it ( we are calling the new version P2 ) to include ajax updates, growl-like notifications, threaded comments, and a few other really clever features. It also looks great on the iPhone !
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.
I’ll be attending WordCamp Israel in a couple of hours and giving a quick presentation as well. I’ll update this post later in the day with the slides and hopefully some video footage too.
update: Great seeing everyone and hope my presentation was helpful. We don’t have the video yet, but below is the Keynote/PPT using Slideshare. I also generally go more visual on the slides with a photo and just a word or two, but knowing that I was going to embed it, I made it a bit more verbose.
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: