Monthly Archives: September 2010

Seattle, Grist, Philippines

After a lovely weekend in New York I headed straight to Seattle, but not because of the Microsoft announcement like many people thought, but to attend a meeting for Grist, an environmental non-profit (with a sense of humor) whose board of directors I just joined. In addition to being a great organization to be involved with that has funny but important coverage, I hope to learn a lot more about the non-profit world and apply it to the WordPress Foundation. Tonight I leave for the Philippines where I’ll attend and speak at a WordCamp in Manila. I’m looking forward to the end of the year when things slow down.

MSN Spaces Closing, becomes WP.com

As just announced on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt, Windows Live (formerly MSN) Spaces is shutting down and migrating their 30m+ users to WordPress.com. Four years ago I was fairly worried as every internet giant (Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo, Google) had a hosted blogging service. Now only Blogger remains, and is firmly in our sights. I’ve been impressed with Microsoft’s regard for their users in providing a solid upgrade and migration path with a really smooth experience, which I think is in strong contrast to Yahoo’s 360 or AOL’s Journals. Given that this effectively doubles WordPress’s user base, there is a lot of work to be done still, but I’m excited by the challenge. :) See also: official Windows Live post, official WP.com post, and 30+ other articles covering this on Techmeme.

Zuckerberg on Social

One thing that I think is really important — that I think is context for this, is that I generally think that most other companies now are undervaluing how important social integration is. So even the companies that are starting to come around to thinking, ‘oh maybe we should do some social stuff’, I still think a lot of them are only thinking about it on a surface layer, where it’s like “OK, I have my product, maybe I’ll add two or three social features and we’ll check that box”. That’s not what social is.

Social – you have to design it in from the ground up. These experiences, like what Zynga is doing or what a company like Quora is doing, I think that they have just a really good social integration. They’ve designed their whole product around the idea that your friends will be here with you. Everyone has a real identity for themselves. And those are fundamental building blocks.

From TechCrunch’s Interview With Mark Zuckerberg On The “Facebook Phone”.

Say: Six Apart + VideoEgg

The story has completely broken now (TechCrunch, GigaOM, NY Times) that Six Apart is being is being acquired by VideoEgg, and the combined entities are going to be called Say Media and focus on advertising. This is bittersweet news as Six Apart, with their platforms, has always been Automattic’s and WordPress’s most direct competitor, with Movable Type equivalent to WordPress.org, Typepad (and Livejournal and Vox) to WordPress.com, Typepad anti-spam to Akismet, Typepad Connect to IntenseDebate. I’ve always thought of them like our big brother — they created the marketplace and introduced the concept of blogs to countless people, and still to this day employ 2-3x the number of people at Automattic. (And, it follows, probably do more revenue than us.) I remember many aspects of Six Apart’s history vividly: Anil joining Six Apart in 2003. The 3.0 licensing change and Mark Pilgrim’s Freedom 0 essay, a few weeks later when I first met Ben and Mena on my first trip to San Francisco, visiting Six Apart’s old old digs in an office park somewhere. They had clocks on their walls where their different employees were and I thought that was the coolest thing. Jay Allen joining MT. Typekey launch! The Salon feature. The acquisition of Livejournal. Yadis née OpenID. Their big series B. Mena’s TED Talk. Project Comet which launched as Vox and frankly had me freak out. Acquisition of Rojo (with Chris Alden later becomeing 6A’s CEO). Typepad introducing Pages. Livejournal sold to SUP. The tift we got into around WordPress 2.5. On stage with Steve Jobs at launch of app storeBuying Pownce. (Some of this is out of order.) About a year ago something changed and the Typepad (and Blogger) team really started to hit a groove and seemed to be launching significant, well thought out, and social features on a near-weekly basis. On a feature-for-feature basis the Big Three are closer than they’ve ever been. The tech press is fickle and these launches get almost no coverage, but for each platform’s respective users they’ve been really meaningful. The new company is not getting out of the platform business. Their position is incredibly strong in Japan and I get the sense that’s where the center of gravity for Movable Type development has been for a while. But their primary focus (and revenue) is shifting, and I think that is great for the market as a whole. I would be really sad if Adsense continues to be the best best the world can come up with with regards to advertising on blogs, and now in Say you have the quiet execution monster of Videoegg combined with some of the folks who understand blogging better than anyone else in the world, and my hope is that Automattic’s work with dovetail with Say’s more than ever. VideoEgg, for now, is actually a great example of a site using WordPress as a CMS. (View its source.)