Jessica Pressler in New York Magazine has an unintentionally funny look at Silicon Valley’s Laundry-App Race.
Socket.IO 1.0 is available with a number of new features, including binary support. Socket.IO is one of the most useful tools in the Node.js world.
Later this week I’m heading on a speaking tour of a number of cities in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand talking about the past and future of WordPress and some of the things I’ve learned in the past few years of building WordPress and Automattic. It’s been a number of years since I’ve visited these countries, and I’ve never been to Korea, Singapore, Melbourne, or Auckland before, so really looking forward to meeting the local communities in each of these cities and learning about how we can best set up WordPress for the coming decade of growth, especially in languages other than English.
If you’re near any of these cities and want to come by check out the following links for more information. Even if it says “sold out” already, as many are, put your name on the waitlist anyway because I know some places are already searching for larger venues, and there could always be cancellations or spaces open up at the last minute.
- Sunday, June 1: Seoul, South Korea
- Monday, June 2: Jakarta, Indonesia
- Wednesday, June 4: Singapore (info)
- Friday, June 6: Tokyo, Japan
- Saturday, June 7: Osaka, Japan
- Monday, June 9: Manila, Philippines
Australia & New Zealand
- Thursday, June 12: Melbourne
- Monday, June 16: Sydney
- Tuesday, June 17: Wellington
- Wednesday, June 18: Auckland
The schedule might be a little exhausting, but I wanted to make it as many communities as possible in the short window of time I have before I need to be stateside again.
I’ll start with the big stuff: Automattic is raising $160M, all primary, and it’s the first investment into the company since 2008. This is obviously a lot of money, especially considering everything we’ve done so far has been built on only about $12M of outside capital over the past 8 years. It was also only a year ago I said “Automattic is healthy, generating cash, and already growing as fast as it can so there’s no need for the company to raise money directly — we’re not capital constrained.”
I was wrong, but I didn’t realize it until I took on the CEO role in January. Things were and are going well, but there was an opportunity cost to how we were managing the company toward break-even, and we realized we could invest more into WordPress and our products to grow faster. Also our cash position wasn’t going to be terribly strong especially after a number of infrastructure and product investments this and last year. So part of my 100-day plan as CEO was to figure out what new funding could look like and we found a great set of partners who believe in our vision for how the web should be and how we can scale into the opportunity ahead of us, though it ended up taking 110 days until the first close. (Our other main areas of focus have been improving mobile, a new version of WP.com, and Jetpack.)
This Series C round was led by Deven Parekh of Insight Venture Partners, and included new investors Chris Sacca, Endurance, and a special vehicle True Ventures created to step up their investment, alongside our existing secondary investors from last year, Tiger and Iconiq. (There is a second close soon so this list might change a bit.) There was interest significantly above what we raised, but we focused in on finding the best partners and scaled it back to be the right amount of capital at the right valuation. Deven and Insight share our long term vision and are focused on building an enduring business, one that will thrive for decades to come.
WordPress is in a market as competitive as it has ever been, especially on the proprietary and closed side. I believe WordPress will win, first and foremost, because of its community — the hundreds of core developers and large commercial companies, the tens of thousands of plugin and theme developers, and the millions of people who build beautiful things with WordPress every day. Automattic is here to support that community and invest the full strength of our resources to making WordPress a better product every day, bringing us closer to our shared mission of democratizing publishing. But a majority of the web isn’t on an open platform yet, and we have a lot of work ahead of us. Back to it!
You can read more about the news by Kara and Liz on Recode: WordPress.com Parent Automattic Has Raised $160 Million, Now Valued at $1.16 Billion Post-Money, on Techmeme, and on the Wall Street Journal.
I really enjoyed listening to this “Lost” Steve Jobs Speech from 1983; Foreshadowing Wireless Networking, the iPad, and the App Store. In the beginning he asks who is over 36 years old, and says those are the people who were born before the computer. He also perfectly describes Google Street Maps as an early MIT experiment in Aspen. Really fascinating from end to end, including the Q&A.
You might have seen the news last week that Longreads is joining Automattic’s editorial team. Today I’m excited to announce that we’ve acquired Scroll Kit and they’re joining Automattic as well, and will be focused on making customization more visual and intuitive. We’re barely on the second inning of what WordPress could be, and the impact it can have on the world, and I consider myself very lucky to be working with the best and brightest on transforming the way the world publishes.
The guest blog on Automattic’s hiring process for the Harvard Business Review ended up being pretty popular and thanks to Michelle Weber and Dan McGinn it’s been expanded into a longer version that’s now on shelves in the actual magazine! Very excited about this. If you are in an airport and see it on the stands (as above) definitely pick it up, it’s a great issue.