Monthly Archives: January 2006

Automattic Toni

Another nice birthday present! I have no idea (really) how he got this, but Om has the scoop on Yahoo VP Toni Schneider leaving to join Automattic. We were originally going to announce this at the end of the month when Toni actually left but I guess now is as good a time as any. 🙂 Toni was the CEO of Oddpost and after joining Yahoo led, amoung other things, their really cool developer network.

I first met Toni shortly after I moved to San Francisco and I’ve wanted him to be a part of Automattic pretty much since the idea first entered my mind. We’ve spent many long meals over the past year discussing the Automattic idea before it even had a name. I’ve been on cloud nine since (somehow) I convinced him to leave the incredibly cushy corporate job and rough it out in startup world again. I’m very very excited about some of the things coming down the line.

Update: Toni has blogged about it here. He also has a blog that used to have a bunch of cool cars on it, hopefully that’ll come back somewhere. 🙂

Update 2: It’s on Digg, and I’m curious what linking to the Digg story will do. Digg it if you think it’s interesting.

Matt 2.2

We’re very proud to announce the final release of Matt 2.2, a full year in the making since the last major release. This version includes dozens of enhancements ranging from DSLR support to the new facial hair module (which we could never quite get to work in previous revs). The knowledge base has been expanded, though it’s still a bit light on the experience benchmark. We’ve also fixed that bug that was around since about 1.7 where it thought the knowledge base was already full. Now it knows more, but knows it knows less. Short-term RAM is still a little flakey. Email processing is also still slow, but the “piano” and “reading” plugins have come a long way. This version also runs without a support contract from a major corporation. Most people surveyed agreed this was a solid upgrade, but we know there’s a lot of work left to do still. We hope to continue listening to feedback and keep up the regular release schedule.

Home Sweet Home

I’m back in San Francisco. This normally wouldn’t be a big deal, except I left at the beginning of December. It has been an exciting month, and I had the pleasure of meeting WordPress users from all over the world in person. I also learned a ton about efficient traveling and getting work done on the road. All great fun, but I am so happy to be back in my own place.

Commercial Akismet

Blog Herald asks about WP plugging a commercial project, namely Akismet. One of the lessons I learned from Ping-O-Matic is that web services like this can grow far beyond what you anticipated, need a lot of attention, and can be expensive to maintain. (Akismet has to be really fast otherwise it bugs people and delays commenting.) You also have a social contract with all of your users to continue to provide a service they’ve all come to rely on. When Akismet first got started, I wasn’t at all worried about the technology — I was using it myself and it worked great. I spent most of my brain cycles planning out how the service could be economically independent and self-sustaining in the future, so it could thrive and provide a great service to the public without relying on charity. I had to balance this with my desire to just give everything away (as I usually do).

I’m happy with where it eventually ended up. The Pro-Blogger limit was set very high and the vast majority (over 99.9%) of people use Akismet at no cost whatsoever. I’m able to justify devoting my time to the service while still putting bread on the table and the larger blogger community can stop dealing with disgusting spam on their blogs. The technology has scaled incredibly well and even before the Yahoo deal Akismet had a bright future. Also the API and the plugin itself is completely open so people could clone the API or modify the plugin if they wanted. The service just hit its first major milestone, has been embraced by the development community, and I’m confident now that it will continue as a public service. I think it’s also providing something pretty valuable, as evidenced by the people who have been buying Pro-blogger licenses just to support it, not because they fall under the commercial terms.