Born in 1984, Matt Mullenweg is a very young entrepreneur who is the mastermind behind WordPress. He was born in Houston, Texas and is now on the list of Top 25 Most Influential People on the Web according to Business Week. If that’s not enough, he’s made PC World’s list for Top 50 People on the Web and Inc.com’s list of 30 Under 30. He did all this before many people even finish school or move out of their parent’s house.
Career History by Year
Although you may simply associate his name and immediately think of all the brilliant and helpful WordPress themes for small businesses that are available, there is a lot more to his career and how he got to where is today.
- 2002 – Matt Mullenweg was part of the National Fed Challenge, an academic competition for high school students where he contributed codes for cleaner permalinks and typographic entities. He was using b2/cafelog blogging software to showcase photos from the trip but b2 ended several month after.
- 2003 – Matt announced on his blog that he intended on bringing the software up to date to accommodate his needs and he was contacted right away by Mike Little to work with him. Their plan was to use the b2 codebase to create WordPress. Michael Valdrighi, b2 developer joined in to help. At this time, Matt was attending The University of Houston and only 19 years old.
- 2004 – Working with Tantek Celik and Eric Meyer, Global Multimedia Protocols Group was founded, offering the first microformats. In April, he paired up with Dougal Campbell and they launched Ping-O-Matic to notify search engines of blog updates. Later, in October, Matt was recruited to work on WordPress by CNET. He made the decision to drop out of college and make the move to San Francisco. Just two months later in December, he announced bbPress, something he designed from scratch over the holidays.
- 2005 – This is the year that really acknowledges Matt. The WordPress team and himself released WordPress 1.5 which quickly had 900,000 downloads and an endless number of people eager to learn how to set-up WordPress site. Later that year in October, Matt announced he wanted to solely focus on WordPress full-time so he would be leaving CNET. In November, WordPress was no longer invite-only, welcoming the world to join in on the success.
- 2006 – Matt recruited Toni Schneider, former Oddpost CEO to join his small team named Automattic, bringing the staff to a whopping six people. His investors were CNET, Radar Partners, Trive Ventures and Polaris Ventures.
- 2007 – PC World ranked him number 16 out of 50 in their list of Important People on the Web. He acquired Gravatar in October, a service to enable users to upload an avatar and there was also rumor that there was $200 million offer to buy Automattic which he turned down.
- 2008 – Matt became a likeable figure this year. Despite his success, it was noted that he was still driving an old Chevy Lumina and he wore a Fight Club t-shirt for his photo shoot with Linux Journal, making him appear a bit more human. Automattic now had 18 employees and he was ranked in Inc. Magazines 30 Under 30 list.
Today Matt Mullenweg is the force behind Automattic, WordPress, Gravatar, Akismet, VaultPress, Polldaddy, IntenseDebate, Plinky, P2, After the Deadline and VIP. He has also founded Audrey Capital, a company to helps innovative ideas grow.
About the Author
Don Campbell lives in Silicon Valley where he works with small business owners to help them create WordPress websites that get noticed by search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. He opened his business, Expand2Web in January 2008 and when he’s not busy helping customers everyday on the web or hanging out at the Google campus, he enjoys the beauty of California.
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