What a Week: WordPress, Maeda, .Blog

I’m still overwhelmed from last week, which was full of major announcements. Get your Instapaper / Pocket ready because I have lots of links!

It started with a very smooth WordPress release, version 4.6 “Pepper.” A week later it’s had over 4,200,000 downloads and upgrades are rippling throughout the WP ecosystem with 13% of all known installs already on the latest. WordPress 4.6 was available on release day in 50 languages, which blows my mind.

The next big move was John Maeda joining Automattic as our Global Head, Computational Design and Inclusion. You can check out some of his talks on TED and his Twitter is always interesting. This was covered fairly well by mainstream media, especially with feature articles by Wired on the open source aspect, Fast Company on the inclusion side, and Techcrunch on the business side.

As often, the best stories are often personal ones: Om is a friend of both John and I, long-time Automattic designer Matt Miklic shared his “I will never stop learning” journey and and how he helped hire for this role, and finally John told his own story directly on Design.blog.

In the beginning days of the Web, Open Source was a human right.

You might notice something about that domain… it’s a .blog! We opened up .blog for early registrations and launched the first few founder domains like get.blog, design.blog, dave.blog, and of course matt.blog. More coming this week!


Design.blog also launched with great essays from Alice RawsthornCassidy Blackwell, and Jessica Helfand. It will be updated every Thursday with a new home page design and new round of great voices, so bookmark it and be sure to visit again in a few days.

Huge thanks to Judy Wert who led the search for the design role. Combined with Chris Taylor starting as Chief Marketing Officer at Automattic a few months ago I think we’re well-positioned to really boost the growth of WordPress in the coming years. You may have even started to see video ads for WP.com. We’ve had 90 people start so far this year at Automattic bringing our total to just under 500 in 50 countries, if you’d like to join the family we’re hiring for over a dozen roles.

As you can tell, things have been moving at a hundred miles per hour, and the momentum is carrying through the all-company Grand Meetup in Whistler next month and WordCamp US in December. I’m going to take a few days to unplug at Burning Man next week (photos from my first year), might even take a Real Camera to capture some of the art.

The first-party premier Simplenote native apps for Android, iOS, and macOS are now fully open source. I’m very proud of the team for this, and excited that the broader Simplenote community can now see behind the scenes of how things are developing with the app, which remains one of my personal favorites across every platform. What’s Simplenote? It’s the easiest way to have your plain text notes synced instantly across every device and browser you use.