Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary, Matt Mullenweg.
Well, happy early birthday. Matt’s birthday is January 11.
He also changed my life completely, in more ways than I can count.
Last year I tried. In “Happy Birthday, Matt Mullenweg” in 2012 I did my best to spell out a huge thank you to Matt.
As I move forward this year back to a more active and participatory site here on WordPress.com, his influence on my life and my continued passion for all things WordPress continues.
This year, I ask you to celebrate the birthday of Matt Mullenweg by sharing your thoughts about how he has influenced your life. Don’t think he hasn’t.
In my workshops and college courses, I teach about the history of WordPress, showcasing the birth of WordPress. It began with a humble question from Matt to the world, an open question ten years ago this month:
My blogging software hasn’t been updated for months, and the main developer has disappeared, and I can only hope that he’s okay.
What to do? Well, Textpattern looks like everything I could ever want, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to be licensed under something politically I could agree with. Fortunately, b2/cafelog is GPL, which means that I could use the existing codebase to create a fork, integrating all the cool stuff that Michel would be working on right now if only he was around. The work would never be lost, as if I fell of the face of the planet a year from now, whatever code I made would be free to the world, and if someone else wanted to pick it up they could. I’ve decided that this the course of action I’d like to go in, now all I need is a name. What should it do? Well, it would be nice to have the flexibility of MovableType, the parsing of TextPattern, the hackability of b2, and the ease of setup of Blogger. Someday, right?
That someday didn’t take long as Mike Little in England responded, and hundreds, then thousands of others also spoke up demanding a publishing platform that was easy, flexible, and free to the world.
It is the 10th anniversary of WordPress this year. As Matt proposed, it continues to be free to the world as a hosted publishing platform on WordPress.com and a self-hosted version at WordPress. There are thousands of free WordPress Themes and Plugins, and hundreds of thousands of “WordPress experts” around the world helping people with WordPress. He created an entire industry with that single post back in 2003.
Ten years? Has it only been ten years of WordPress? It doesn’t seem possible. WordPress is on more than 75 million sites around the world as of March 2012, so that number is way out of date.
Interviewed by the Wall Street Journal in November 2011, Matt stated that 1 in 6 websites in the world are on WordPress.
That’s a lot of WordPress.
And that’s a lot of accomplishment in ten years.
So salute Matt Mullenweg on his birthday, and take some time this year to honor how WordPress has changed your life. Let’s all take a moment to pay tribute to someone whose faith in freedom of speech and helping people have their say has changed the world, not just your life.