Automattic (the parent company of WordPress.com) founder Matt Mullenweg granted a number of interviews over the weekend at the annual South By SouthWest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas. The entrepreneur’s appearance coincided with a charity event held Sunday at Stubb’s BBQ and revealed the CEO’s line of thinking on a wide range of tech-related topics: from remote working to mobile device focus.
In an exclusive interview with Colleen Taylor of TechCrunch.com, Mullenweg gave his opinion on the recent hot-topic of remote working, which has come to the forefront in light of Yahoo CEO Marrisa Mayer’s decision to ban telecommuting within Fortune 500 company.
Matt Mullenweg Speaks
“We’ve been distributed from day one,” Mullenweg mentioned. “So literally the first four people from Automattic were from Ireland, Texas, California and I think Vermont. It just seemed like the natural thing to do because that’s how the best open-source projects in the world work. You get the best people wherever they happen to be in the world.
I think whatever you make… you should be there. If you make cars, be in the factory. But if you make the Internet, live on the Internet. I do think it might be tricky to change a company like a Yahoo that could be thousands of people already, and switch it to being distributed, but if you’re starting something new I think it’s a fantastic way to build a culture of trust and empowerment and freedom.”
The Automattic head referred to three tools that have greatly enabled his staff to continue project management and coordination virtually. The first is Skype for text meetings. The second is Google Hangout, which Matt prefers over Skype when video conferencing. Finally, the third is Blogatog.
The State Of Blogging
In a separate one-on-one with Kara Swisher of AllThingsD.com, the WordPress co-founder said that the state of blogging is healthy. “People are blogging more than ever. The thing is that social media makes people comfortable with publishing online.” Although the global trend has moved toward shorting formats of blogging, long-post entries are also up worldwide.
Due to the impersonal nature of not having to physically speak in front of a large crowd to get your message out to a large amount of readers, many industry experts except blogs to continue to rise in number for at least the next few years. With Automattic’s dedicated focus to the mobile device market, we could very well see an explosion in authors who use smart phones and tablet computers to communicate while at the same time increasing their work area to virtually anywhere around the globe.
Automattic Battles Prenda Subpoena
Prenda Law recently filed a defamation suit against some of its online critics and subsequently filed a subpoena that requests the IP addresses of all computers that have visited DieTrollDie and Fight Copyright Trolls; both sites are powered by WordPress.
Paul Sieminski, who is the acting General Counsel for Automattic formally replied to the subpoena Friday, stating that the request is “legally deficient and objectionable for numerous reasons, enumerated below, and Automattic will not produce any documents in response to this subpoena.” Sieminski quoted five violations, one of which was failing “to attach a true and correct copy of the Illinois subpoena.”
The ongoing battle could eventually set precedents on Internet user privacy as a growing number of companies have been exploring ways to obtain IP address information as they attempt to place a name or company with specific website traffic.
The South By SouthWest festival continues through this week in Austin as the focus moves to Film and Music from now until March 17th. To find out more about the festival, visit SXSW.com.