Happy B’day Matt Mullenweg: The Man Who Powers Over 40% of World’s Total Websites

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Versatile is the word that comes to mind when describing Matt Mullenweg. The music fanatic enjoyed playing saxophone, but never considered it as a career. He dropped out of college when he was 19 years old. Later in life, he developed an interest in coding, and when the puzzle pieces of his life formed the meaningful picture, he met Mike Little, a professional coder.

If you want to be good at something, you really have to work at it every single day. You have to work hard at the things that are hard. Otherwise, you are just treading water.

On May 26, 2003, WordPress was officially released by its co-founders Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. In August 2005, Matt Mullenweg founded Automattic, a $7.5 billion worth company that led to the creation of WordPress.com, WordPress.com VIP, Gravatar, Vaultplus, Polldaddy, and more. Later on October 25, 2005, he founded Akismet, which is blog spam filtering software.

Full Name: Matthew Charles Mullenweg

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Born: January 11, 1984, Houston, Texas, USA

Net Worth: $40 million

Now curiosity arises of how has a non-technical background college dropout became a Gladiator of the Internet. Let’s learn a little bit more about this entrepreneur:

  • Born in Houston, Texas, Mullenweg attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts where he studied jazz saxophone. Later, he enrolled in the University of Houston to major in Political Science.
  • Matt had a variety of interests including political science, music, the arts, and then b2 software (an open source simple project), until he met Mike Little, a die-hard coder. On May 26, 2003, Mullenweg and Mike Little officially released WordPress using the b2 codebase. WordPress, an open source software for creating attractive websites, blogs, and apps, currently powers over 43% of the web.
  • He dropped out of college in October 2004 to work with CNET Networks on WordPress and assist them with blogs and new media services.
  • Matt Mullenweg left CNET Networks exactly a year later, on October 21, 2005, to work full-time on WordPress and devote more daytime hours to the community and projects such as WordPress.com, WordPress.org, bbPress, a WordPress non-profit, Ping-O-Matic, and a few other projects that have yet to be named.
  • On October 25, 2005, Mullenweg launched Akismet, a new web service that prevents spam comments and trackbacks.
  • A typical Youngster: He prefers working from home, even though his office is at walkable distance from home in San Francisco. Only prefers office for board meetings as his ventures are all on a virtual platform.
  • An avid late morning guy: Matt avoids caffeine and rarely prefers morning breakfast. He is skeptical towards alarm clocks and prefers a virtual world after an hour of leaving the bed in the morning.
  • Matt Mullenweg is a Dvorak keyboard user with a typing speed of over 120 words per minute. Dvorak is a keyboard layout, that requires less finger motion than QWERTY, resulting in fewer errors, faster typing, and less repetitive strain injuries.
  • Philanthropist: Mullenweg contributes to a variety of charitable organisations, such as Archive.org, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Free Software Foundation, Long Now, and the Innocence Project. He was also a member of the non-profit “Charity: Water” organization where he campaigned for the provision of clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations.

When there’s no one you can point to, or when something goes wrong, it’s your fault – that level of responsibility and accountability is pretty interesting.

  • Angel Investor: He doesn’t consider himself as a professional investor. His investments are based on his intuitions as to what he would have done if he wasn’t into WordPress. Matt has made about 49 investments and 17 exits so far.
  • Awards and recognition: In March 2007, Matt Mullenweg was ranked #16 of “The 50 Most Important People on the Web” by PC World. He was the youngest person on the list. In September 2008, Matt Mullenweg was recognized one of “25 Most Influential People on the Web” by BusinessWeek. He was also ranked #18 on the list of 30 Under 30 by Inc. In December 2010, Matt Mullenweg won a TechFellow Award in the “Product Design and Marketing” category. In May 2012, Matt was among “The Most Influential Angel Investors On AngelList” by Forbes. He has received numerous such awards and recognitions throughout his career.

I don’t have big ideas. I sometimes have small ideas, which seem to work out.

The post is a part of a B’day Series where we celebrate the birthday of renowned personalities from Tech Industry, very frequently. The series includes Entrepreneurs, C-level Executives, innovators or a renewed leaders who moved the industry with their exponential skill set and vision. The intent is to highlight the person’s achievements and touch base the little known, but interesting, part of his life. You can see the list of all earlier celebrated tech personalities, including Mark Zuckerberg, Marissa Mayor, Sean Parker, Andy Rubin, Julian AssangeSir Richard Branson, Sergey Brin by following this link or subscribe to your daily newsletter.

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