Away from keyboard

Some of the best ideas come from casual conversations. Take this chat I had with my friend Matt Mullenweg, founder and CEO of Automattic and co-creator of WordPress. We were talking about his company’s early embrace of distributed company culture and remote working. That has helped the company scale to more than 1,000 people, and … Continue reading Away from keyboard

At home we work: Some thoughts on working from home and remote work

In 2006, I started a blog called, WebWorkerDaily. As an early believer in the power of broadband and the disruptive nature of the networks, I sensed that the future of work was distributed. As it turned out, I wasn’t alone. The site attracted many fellow believers, so-called digital nomads, and became host to fun and lively … Continue reading At home we work: Some thoughts on working from home and remote work

Salesforce Ventures has invested $300 million in Automattic, a company that was started by Matt Mullenweg, a close friend. Our firm, True Ventures, is the earliest backer of Automattic. I am delighted to see two of my favorite people, Bret Taylor (now at Salesforce) and Matt, will get to engage more often. Matt shared his thoughts about the investment, and what it means for Automattic and WordPress, the open-source software platform that now runs 34 percent of the web. Congrats team Automattic and Matt. (Also, TechCrunch interviewed Matt and is worth a read.)

Down the memory lane

I couldn’t sleep so I started cleaning up my photo library and decided to upload some photos to my Flickr account. And while there, I ended up looking at some old photos. And I stumbled onto this one — with me, Paul Kedrosky and Matt Mullenweg. Mathew Ingram took that photo. I went to the … Continue reading Down the memory lane

The Power of Distributed

Talent is evenly distributed around the globe, but opportunity is not.

Nearly 15 years ago, I would often talk to young Matt about many topics including WordPress, the changing dynamics of media and how work will change. He taught me a lot about open source software. I talked about broadband, connectivity, and connectedness. In 2004, I wrote a piece called, Escape from Silicon Valley. In that story, I looked at how broadband was inspiring founders to go “broadband” instead of going west.

I had launched a blog called WebWorkerDaily, and like many of our initial efforts (NewTeeVee and Earth2Tech), it came a little too soon to the market. I believed that the Internet’s killer app would be work and if you look around today, many find work on the Internet. Others find the demand for their skills. And hundreds of millions use the Internet to get the job done.

Matt would eventually help kickstart a movement — WordPress and then start a company, Automattic, and in the process become the biggest escapee from Silicon Valley.

Now here we are in 2019, and Automattic has grown to 900 employees working from 68 countries. I’ve learned so much about distributed work. I know it’s the right path.

Today, he launched a blog and podcast to share the lessons he has learned from being part of a fully distributed company, one which looks beyond the confines of dogma and conventional Silicon Valley thinking to find an edge and a way forward. He is talking to other executives and founders who are using distributed work as a core business philosophy so that others can learn from each other.

How can we work better and smarter in the decades to come—and what’s the moral imperative driving our desire to change? How can we build a more inclusive world, in which everyone has an opportunity to shine?

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John Maeda Joins Automattic

John Maeda is one of the most thoughtful people I have met in my long career. After spending years at MIT, he took over the helm of Rhode Island School of Design, and help generations understand the symbiotic relationship between design and technology, and how it impacts humans. He was one of the first supporters of my design conference, Roadmap and over the years we have become good friends. Today, he announced that is leaving the esteemed venture capital partnership, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers. And he will be joining Automattic, a company that offers WordPress as a cloud services and other related offerings.

Automattic is the brainchild of Matt Mullenweg, who was one of the founders of WordPress, an open source software that has grown to become such a large community that it now powers about 25 percent of the websites. Matt, also is one of my closest friends. It is great to see John and Matt team up — they are both cerebral and human centric leaders. I am excited to see what develops in the near future. (Photo courtesy of GigaOm)