WordPress Founder: ‘Enterprise Software Sucks’

The enterprise just isn’t interesting, says Matt Mullenweg

WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg believes in open source software, but if you ask him who really inspired him, he’ll say Apple, not Red Hat.

Sure, Apple is “probably not the most kosher,” open source wise, but at least they’re not an enterprise software company. Mullenweg is not a big fan of enterprise software.

“To me the enterprise models aren’t as interesting,” he said at the GigaOM RoadMap conference in San Francisco Thursday.

That’s a little unexpected, coming from a guy whose software is used by some of the biggest names in publishing — CNN, The New York Times, and, yes, Wired.

But here’s how Mullenweg sees it. “Enterprise software has always sucked, but now people are complaining about it more,” he said. “They’re like — we see this with WordPress — ‘How come the [content management system] that my company spent $4 million for is crappier than the thing I use for my blog, that I pay $12 a year for?’”

WordPress has managed to build a product that works well for the big guys while staying focused on the little guys. And if that’s making enterprise customers unhappy with expensive content management systems, that suits the 27-year-old Mullenweg just fine.

WordPress just hit 60 million blogs — about half of which are hosted by Mullenweg’s company, Automattic. The WordPress maker has 100 employees, which is not bad considering that it doesn’t even have a central office.

But Mullenweg is not your typical company founder and Automattic — which really did have an office until it was recently evicted from San Francisco’s very cool but somewhat unsafe Pier 38 — is not your typical company.

Most of the company’s employees work in far-flung locations. There are Automattons in 21 countries — everywhere from rural Alabama to the outback of Australia.

When it comes to hiring, Mullenweg says that Automattic can compete with the big guys by allowing staffers to work wherever the heck they like. “I think it’s silly to discriminate on the basis of geographic location,” he said.

(Photo courtesy Flickr/Adam Tinworth)

Article source: http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2011/11/wordpress-founder/

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