Archive for the ‘Interview’ Category
Over on LAist, there is a short video interview with Matt Mullenweg. While it doesn’t reveal any new information, it is nice to see such an impromptu interview with Matt, which includes the history of WordPress, his involvement, and of course WordPress.com.
Matthew Mullenweg, the co-founder of WordPress is one of those young people that your parents like to point to when they ask you what the hell you’re doing with your life.
Last week PC World named him the 16th most-important person on the web (two slots above the of the founders of Yahoo!), which isn’t bad for a 23-year-old who gives it away for free.
But what we find most impressive is if you ever want to check in on his site all you have to do is type “Matt” into Google and he comes up at the #1 return, above Mr. Drudge.
Last night we got to spend a few minutes with him at the Ginger Man in Austin just as last call was being announced.
If you are new to WordPress, its definitely worth checking out.
Over on BloggerTalks there is a great interview up with Problogger.net’s Darren Rowse. One of the heads of the b5media blog network, and known for his SixFigureBlogging course.
Being a professional blogger that is trying to educate the masses, whatâ€™s the most common mistake you see bloggers doing out there?
The first thing that comes to mind is that I see many bloggers with incredibly potential who give up way too quickly. Building a blog with an income stream takes significant work over a substantial period of time.
While blogging can be quite lucrative, when you look at those that are doing well you generally find that theyâ€™ve been at it for at least two years and that they post numerous posts per day (some as many as 20 or so). While I donâ€™t believe you need to post this many times a day to build a successful blog it does give you a hint at the level of commitment and work a successful blog needs.
Many bloggers donâ€™t consider this up front and give up after just a few months.
Another great interview by the BloggerTalks folks, and one with some decent advice to those looking to become the next Darren Rowse.
Being part of a blog network, there are some people I work with everyday that are constantly writing some of my favourite things to read, and Marco, of ForeverGeek is one of those people. I got him talking blogging, and next thing you know, an interview was born.
David: Thanks Marco for talking with me today. Thankfully it seems I have caught you right in the middle of a writers block, but hopefully you’ll have some stuff to say on the questions I have for you.
First off, tell me a little bit about yourself. You aren’t in North America, the UK or Australia, better known as the “normal place” for probloggers right?
Marco: My name is Marco Jardim, although I’m more commonly known as Griffith on the Internet (Griffith, by the way, is the name of one of my favorite Manga characters, from Berserk, by Kentaro Miura). I’m 22 years old and currently I’m a college student and a professional blogger for ForeverGeek.
I have more than 2 years of experience in Web Design and Development for a local company called InforQuali, and I also had a short experience in computer tutoring in another local company called Arquimedes. After almost two years of working with InforQuali, and with my former employers’ support, I decided to take a Computer Engineering course in the only College that had it on my island.
My “passions” are my girlfriend (obviously), computer gadgets (I always seem to find another one that I
need want), and web design and development, which were my areas of expertise in InforQuali. I also have a strong interest for oriental cultures, from their history and food to their music and art.
That’s correct about where I live. I am in one of the places of the world where you wouldn’t expect to find a problogger: Madeira Island. A very small island that you can drive around in less than 4 hours. It is situated southwest from Portugal (Europe) in the Atlantic Ocean.
David: Strange place to hail from. Must be hard sometimes as it can’t be known for getting technology first?
Marco: Actually, I get technology last, or on a similar date to some less developed countries. Not only because I live in Europe, but also because I live on an island, therefore I only get the newest gadgets 3, or more, weeks after they’re released in Europe. And sometimes there’s a really long delay between a Japan/American release and a European one.
I guess that that delay is due to the large number of different languages we speak.
Here’s a recent example. Nokia, which is a European-based company, announced that they would be releasing a new N Series phone, the N73, during July. Only recently did it start to be commercialized in my country, and not all cellphone providers have it yet.
In short, the delay is very long.
David: You have been a writer on Forever Geek for quite some time. Can you tell me how you got into that and how long have you been writing on there?
Marco: Ah… my history on ForeverGeek. It’s a very interesting one, or ironic, to say the least. Back in 2004 when Paul Scrivens, from the 9rules network, owned ForeverGeek, he made an article inviting people to join the site as editors. I, with no blogging experience whatsoever, decided to try my luck and sent him an e-mail. And, surprisingly, I got accepted.
At that time, I didn’t have a fixed number of articles I had to write, I was free to write as many as I liked. My payment would come from the revenue earned from those articles, however, since I didn’t consider myself on-par with the other editors’ posts, and I still had much to learn, I decided to let Paul keep my revenues (although, when he sold ForeverGeek, he asked me for my PayPal address so he could transfer my earnings, but I politely declined, for the same reasons as before).
I made a few articles which generated a lot of controversy, and that made a few of the former editors upset. Some of them wanted me out, but, for some reason, Paul decided to keep me on the team, and I learned as much as I could from him, and the rest of team, while he still owned it.
When ForeverGeek was finally sold, most of the former crew left, I was one of the few that stayed. And now, ironically, I’m the editor that writes the most posts-per-day on ForeverGeek. And I hope that I’ll continue to be a part of the team for many years to come.
David: You mentioned learning from Paul Scrivens, which leads to the question of how much of blogging is skill and talent and how much can be learned over time? Do you think you started with skill and talent, or did you learn what you needed to as you went along?
Marco: Good question. As much as some might refute with my opinion, I think that you can only evolve until a certain point without talent. Thankfully, my father was a journalist, and my mother also worked in journalism in advertisements and wrote poems. So I guess you can say I have a writer’s “vein” from both of them. If I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t have always gotten good grades in my mother language classes.
As to how that was influential in my blogging career, I think that you can say that it helped me a lot. Perhaps Paul perceived that I had some talent, and therefore allowed me to stay, perhaps he was just feeling nice, as he usually is. I guess I’ll never know, but I’m glad that things happened the way they did.
Regarding skills, yes, you need a lot of skill in order to become a great writer, and if you’re not particularly great in writing, that is where you have to dedicate most of your time. My father always told me when I was younger to read as much as I could so I could learn how to write better. Regardless of how much talent (you think) you have, it’s not enough to become a good professional.
However, David, I’m afraid that there’s something else that you need to become a great blogger: you need experience. Sure, your skills will come as you gain experience, but if you don’t exercise your freedom of speech, as much as possible, before attempting a blogging career, you might make some dire mistakes.
I’ve been blogging for almost two years now and I still consider myself rather “novice” in some aspects. There are always new things you can learn, and more ways for you to improve yourself. You can apply that to everything you do in life, not just blogging.
David: Most bloggers trying to go “pro” try to spread themselves outwards onto dozens of sites, and though you work for a blog network, you haven’t gone ahead and spread yourself onto multiple blogs (at least as far as I know). Why is that and do you think that is something you would be interested in doing?
Marco: Jacob Gower, the current owner of BloggyNetwork and ForeverGeek, has given me the opportunity to write on other blogs of the network more than once. Every now and then he sends me an e-mail letting me know what he thinks of my work, and asking if I’d like to try writing on some other blogs.
Until now, I have always declined those invitations, because I don’t have much experience in some of the subjects of the other blogs, and therefore I prefer not to step in, before getting well acquainted with them. I am also a bit sympathetic for ForeverGeek, because it was the blog in which I was nurtured. If I started writing too early on other blogs I’d probably grow “home sick” from FG, starting my own blog was already enough of a challenge for me.
Lately I’ve been trying to write some articles about blogging on my personal blog, like “What Chess can teach Blogging” which was recently mentioned here on BP. Therefore I guess you can say that I am trying to spread myself a little, but not abruptly. But who knows, maybe soon enough I’ll start writing on other blogs, maybe it will even be on this one. That depends on how acquainted I become, and how well received my blogging articles are.
David: If you had to give a tip to all the bloggers out there looking to make a few bucks from blogging. What would that tip or those tips be?
Marco: If you are only in the blogging business in order to make money, you should realize that there are more profitable professions out there. Back when my father managed my island’s most popular newspaper, he didn’t earn a good enough payment for the amount of hours he worked for. Right now, blogging is the same.
Most professional bloggers work arduously, sometimes up to 12 hours a day, in order to make enough revenue just to make a living. There are only a select few that make a lot of money.
Some people are more business-oriented than others, others are just more popular, or better writers, or simply more fortunate. I guess that what I’m trying to say is, if you don’t have a love for this profession, a taste for writing and the yearn to discover new things every day, then this might not be the most appropriate profession for you, but if you do, I hope that you have enough perseverance, and luck, to make it.
Recently, I had a chance to talk to Justin Shattuck of justinshattuck.com which can be described as:
“A glimpse into the subconscious mind of Justin Shattuck; developer, critic, designer, and successful entrepreneur. Consider the content more-or-less your daily mental diuretic of useless information and ramblings. Amazingly, on occasion, there is some pretty decent writings.”
Warning, this interview is long, but really interesting. We cover personal thoughts an opinions from WordPress to the guys at Hitch50.com.
David: Anyways, thanks for doing this Justin, I know you are busy with a variety of things.
Jumping right in though, you are an information services and technology specialist, what is that like? I am sure that does not define who you are, so what words describe Justin on a day to day basis?
Justin: It means I better know my stuff!
Honestly, individuals come to me and ask me questions related to technology; solutions and conflicts. I’m supposed to be the guy that sits back and gives them an answer or knows exactly where to find the answer. People trust my opinions and suggestions; I have to know what Iâ€™m talking about. Everyday brings a new challenge, a new idea and a brand new hurdle.
My career does not define who I am; personally. Who I am has defined my career. I always rationalize and analyze everything in my life. From choosing a girlfriend, purchasing a website or starting another project. I evaluate and pay equal attention to the smallest of variables. I’m a thinker — and a doer. Describing me.. its funny, my friend Molly described me best in an article on her personal website.
I’m no super hero..
David: You and I have been talking back and forth for quite some time now, and that is due in part to your interest in the WordPress community. You have created plug-ins and themes for WordPress. What got you started in Blogging and WordPress?
Justin: Man, looking back into when I started blogging is a blurry time line. If the term blogging meant what it does now, eight years ago.. I guess you would say I started in 1997. However, back then we were simply logging our thoughts online in our great ‘journals.’ Moving on over time I tried out every content management system available. In 2001 I started coding my own CMS.
Although it wasn’t meant for public release, I utilized it to power some of the websites I was developing over the years. Once I decided to sell off the code to another individual, I decided it was time to find something else. After toying with other systems, like Serendipity (s9y), Movabletype, Typepad, and expression engine — I somehow just got sucked into WordPress.
David: Good, another WordPress convert. Everyone knows how I feel about WordPress.
Justin:WordPress seems to be community driven, both on the development and support. Not that there aren’t a lot of projects out there in the GPL world that aren’t supported as such, WordPress is just different.
As far as plug-ins and themes, I can’t take all the credit. I get inspiration just like anyone else. If I run into an issue I think needs to be resolved I begin hammering out plans to fix it. I still have four other plug-ins that I utilize on my personal website, as well as seven themes that I want to release.. its all about the timing.
Its people like you who keep me doing what I do..
David: This brings me to your personal website domain. I recently decided to shift from one online alias to a domain that included my first name. You currently are using your first and last (JustinShattuck.com) as your domain. How have you found it for a domain (good traffic, good search engine results), and why did you choose your name?
Justin: I’m not sure that there is really a better option for me. I’m out there, I’m a crazy guy. I guess for me there isn’t a better place for someone to find me online — than my own name. I’ve thought about a few other domain names in the past but there hasn’t been one to really hit me and say, â€œUSE ME USE ME!â€ Therefore, by default justinshattuck.com is used.
The traffic seems to be traffic. I get a lot of visits from people searching for other “Shattucks” in the world. The search engines seem to be nice to me and I can’t complain.
You have another domain name in mind for me? Maybe I could grab phoenixrealm from you?
David: Unfortunately not on both accounts. I think using your name is a great idea, despite the possible spelling issues that people might have. Your last name is not the most common in the world.
Justin: I’ve heard it all when it comes to mispronunciations, spellings and such. You can probably imagine the possibilities…
David: I can imagine. Try having Peralty as a last name. I get Puralte, Peralte, Perralty… It never ends.
Justin: Your last name is Peralty? Oh boy, I’m in the wrong interview…
Wendy Boswell is an accomplished mother, wife and blogger. She can be found at many popular blog networks and sites, including b5media (Stewie is the best!), About.com and LifeHacker.
1.) Wendy, first off I would like to thank you for taking the time to do this. I really appreciate it. I was wondering if you can tell my readers a bit about yourself, and how you got into blogging?
Sure! I’m pretty boring, actually – been married for almost fifteen years to my high school sweetheart, three kids, and we live in a wonderful small town in the Northwest that probably fulfills every small town cliche there is (and we still love it). I got into blogging about five years ago, mostly because I love to write and it was instant gratification for that itch.
2.) Marriage, children, and working towards a degree must all make it very difficult to concentrate on blogging. How do you find the time and energy to focus?
Focus? Energy? Time? You’re joking, right? Actually, it seems to work out pretty well with the help of something called 5 AM and lots of coffee. Plus, I dropped the school this year, but I plan on finishing before 2008 (knock on wood) since I only have 20 credits left. I also tend to work extremely fast and produce a lot in a short amount of time; I know that’s a blessing and I’m thankful. It also helps that I’m absolutely determined not to let my work overtake my home life – which means that I work around the kids’ schedules and I try my darndest not to work on the weekends. It works out pretty well.
3.) Can you describe to me the differences you have to deal with in say your activities on a site like LifeHacker, which is well known in the blogosphere, and starting out on a brand new blog like you have for b5media?
The biggest difference is probably finding your audience, finding your niche. With Lifehacker, there’s a built-in demographic that you’re writing for – you’re already out there, so to speak, so half your job is done for you. At b5, the complete opposite is true and that’s my biggest obstacle; however, the perk is I get to talk about David Hasselhoff. A lot.
4.) Participating in the web for as long as you have, I am sure you have opinions on where this whole blogging/social media thing is heading. Do you think anyone is doing it well enough to really effect the grip that mainstream media has on the world? And do you think you will still be able to blog for money in five years?
Honestly, I see traditional media going the way of the dinosaur unless they get their heads out of the sand and check out this new thing called the webernets. For example, I don’t know anyone in my age group that depends exclusively on the TV or newspapers for news; they go straight to the Web because A)it’s instant and B)they control access. For instance, election night? I wanted to hear about our school bond passing or not passing, and I didn’t even bother to watch the tube, I just Googled it. Another example: Britney and Kevin (come on, you know you’re interested). Within one hour I knew the whole scoop, but next week, an entire week later, after the fact, the gossip rags will have some info that I’ll have to pay for to get to. No, thank you.
And as for anyone doing it well enough…I can’t point to any one organization and say that THIS Is the savior of social media; I think the whole conglomeration of those who would classify themselves in the social media category are doing pretty well. It’s now a matter of getting the word out past the geek firewall to the regular folks – that’s when all this stuff is really going to take off. Most people who get on the Web are just now discovering that they can watch Family Guy on YouTube or Google themselves; but when they get their heads around Digg, or Yahoo Answers, or Netscape, or Wikipedia….they’ll be amazed.
Blogging for money in five years..I don’t see why not. Unless you know something I don’t….do you? DO YOU? Seriously, lots of people make their living on the Web and I see that actually growing instead of diminishing…it’s just too enticing a prospect to go away.
5.)If someone was looking to get to where you have with your blogging, what tips or advice would you give them?
Number One: don’t expect overnight success. So many people get into blogging or tweaking something on the Web and don’t take into account that there’s no magic formula to making this work. It’s just as much hard work as any other job, except you do get to wear your pj’s all day (if you want to). I would also say that you need to find your niche, find what works for you, instead of trying to piggyback on someone else’s success. Lastly, have some fun with it.
Some great advice there. Having fun with blogging should be pretty high on the priority list. Thanks again to Wendy for taking the time out of her day to answer some questions between writing on b5media, and dealing with her kids and cats.
Recently, I was going through a list of people I would love to interview/talk to, about their roles in blogging and the blogosphere, and one of the names that kept on popping into my head was Tris Hussey. So I tracked him down, and bugged him to do an interview with me.
While he couldn’t do it right then and there as he was a speaker, and live blogger at the Blog Business Summit, I was able to get him on Google Talk later in the week, and ask him some questions.
Me: First off, tell me a bit about yourself. Tris is an interesting name. Is it short for Tristan, or what’s the etymology of your name?
Tris: It’s short for Tristram, which is the old English version and pre-dates Tristan. The meaning remains unclear, though some say it relates to Triste (sad).
Me: What makes Tris tick? You are from the west coast of Canada, right?
Tris: Well, I live on the West Coast now, but originally I’m a New Englander (go Red Sox!) What makes me tick? A lot of it has to do with being a geek at heart and liking to goof around with new stuff. The rest is that I have found a niche and passion in writing about tech and new media.
Me: Can you tell me more about how you got into blogging? When did you start, and who was your inspiration?
Tris: I started blogging in the days when I was in market research and bored that I couldn’t play with collaboration apps at work, they just weren’t into it. So I decided that I needed to kick start my consulting practice and needed to get into this blogging thing. That was April 2004.
I had started a blog before then, but deleted it (which is a shame because then I could say I had been blogging since 2003)
Me: So we are quickly coming up on more or less your third year in the blogosphere. You are one of the ancient ones when it comes to online publishing then.
For all of those out there that have not heard of Qumana, what can you tell me about the company and what it provides?
Tris: Yeah I guess I’m old guard now, eh? Well Qumana started off as just an offline blog editor.
The first version was pretty advanced, probably too advanced for its time. So now the application is much simpler.
About two years ago I had a flash of brillance (they don’t happen often) and came up with the idea of “post-centric advertising”. This gave birth to Qumana now… an application with a simple way to insert keyword-generated ads into your posts.
Me: Kind of like Adsense?
Tris: Yeah, but focused on content and letting authors control whether or not they want an ad in a post and what the ad is for. So you could write about kids toys and have an ad for fly fishing if you so desired (clearly not a good idea though). But the point is we give the control to the author, not a server.
Me: I noticed your blog a View from the Isle has no “powered by” logo on it. It looks like Typepad but it says Blogware on it? And which software is your favourite thus far for blogging?
Tris: Yeah I took the Powered by off my posts because it was mucking up me tracking other people using Qumana that’s why I put the graphic on my blog. So, yes it’s a Blogware blog, they have sponsored it for about two years now.
My favourite for DIY is WordPress, my favourite for completely free is WordPress.com. Hosted, well that’s hard. I’m not a fan of Typepad, but they are leaders and offer good stuff. I like a lot of the features in Blogware though.
Me: So you have used just about every blog software out there. That’s pretty nice. Why Blogware though? Its not one I have heard much about.
Tris: I have, I’ve tried them all at some point. When I wanted to move my blog off of Blogger a friend had just become a reseller for Blogware. You don’t hear much about it because of the Tucows reseller model.
Me: What do you think blogging will be like in two to five years? Will there still be professional bloggers or will main stream media come in and be the only source for paid blogging?
Tris: I think blogging in 2-5 yrs will just become more about “writing”. Because there is always a market for writers/content providers, there will always be a market.
Me: So you think that mainstream media will have to compete against blog networks and whatnot like b5media? Or will they just buy out such companies/networks?
Tris: I think they will have to compete and leverage the content being generated. I wouldn’t be surprised if online versions of MSM outlets (and maybe even the dead-tree versions) pay bloggers for their “columns”
Me: We can only hope… Google… I am available if need be…
Me: You seem to work for a wide variety of different companies, networks and independantly. Give me a quick rundown of who all do you work for now and how much time do you spend blogging in a day?
Tris: I keep being amazed at how fast things move … I think we’re going to be blown away by what’s around a year from now. I pretty much blog all day. So I write for myself, Qumana, and b5media. Then I contribute to Business Blog Consulting as well.
I should start doing more blogging on BigBusinessJet.com soon as well. There are other cool things in the works that I can’t talk about yet.
Me: Can’t give any hints or tips? Like…stay away from blogging about that subject.
Tris: Hmm… essentially, I might be contributing to a pretty high-profile blog that you might have heard of.
Me: That’s great. I can think of a few that you have “access” to, and I will be watching to see what happens.
Me: So, lastly… If you were to give one tip to all the bloggers out there aspiring to achieve as much as you have, what would that tip be?
Tris: write everyday. Every day. It really is the practice makes perfect. If I could give another, it would be to read lots of sources.
Me: What is lots of sources for you?
Tris: Well I’m in the 600-700 range. But generally don’t just read blogs, read places like the BBC, CBC, Google News. Getting out of the echo chamber is essential.
Me: I totally agree. Thanks again for taking the time to do this Tris.
Tris: Your welcome, it was great.
For me, Keith Robinson needs no introduction. A great writer, and designer among other things, I see his name popping up all over the place. You might have read some of his works on LifeHacker, A List Apart, among other places. I shot him an e-mail hoping to get his perspective on all the things going on with the blogosphere.
Me: Tell me a bit about yourself. What does the D. at the start of your name mean, and why don’t you use it rather than Keith? What are you interested in? And where can people find you online?
Keith: The D. stands for David, but people often like to think I’m a Dr. If you knew me well this would be pretty damn funny. I don’t use it because I’ve gone by Keith my whole life. I’m not really sure why my parents did that to me.
You can find me online at dkeithrobinson.com or at my company, Blue Flavor. In addition I’m sure if you run a Google search for me you’d find lots of other fun stuff of mine.
Me: You have been involved with some great sites and companies over the last few years. What has been your favourite blog or site to write on thus far and why?
Keith: Well, I think my own blogs have been my favorites. I’ve got a bit more freedom to do what I want there and there is less pressure to write. That makes things easier. I really enjoyed writing for Lifehacker however and would say that’s been my favorite of those that I didn’t own myself. Although I’m currently writing for the Podbop blog and that’s been quite fun as well, I really wish I had more time to devote to that.
Me: Your current personal blog design is absolutely amazing, both in design and as a resource for information on design, writing and development. Why did you move away from 7nights.com/asterisk? And why didn’t all your archives come with you?
Keith: First of all, thanks for the kind words. I really appreciate hearing that kind of feedback! So, the choice to move my domain was a hard one. I think the biggest reason is that I did so much writing that my Movable Type install had become a bit unwieldily. The rebuild times were horrendous and I was having lots of problems with comment spam.
In starting a new company I was finding I had less and less time to work on those things, and I was writing less as well. So I went out on a limb and made a completely clean break; new domain, new CMS, new design, etc. I didn’t see any compelling reason to move the archives because they were fine right where they were.
Keep in mind this was my personal blog, there is pretty little risk in me doing whatever I please with it. Had this been Blue Flavor’s blog I’d most likely have done something a bit more thought out.
Me: How much do you think design matters in a blog’s success? And what about standards based code? Isn’t the content the most important part?
Keith: Content is the most important part. No argument there. To be honest I think it depends on your audience how important those things are. If your readers are Web designers things like standards and good design are very important. You’ve got to walk the walk.
In general good design and proper code will help your blog be successful, for various reasons, but they’re no guarantee and if you’ve got to make a choice you should work on your content.
Now, having said that, I can’t think of a good reason why you wouldn’t want great content, a great design and a properly coded site. That’ll do the most towards making sure your blog is successful.
Me: I know you have tried Movable Type and Expression Engine, among others I am sure. What has been your favourite publishing tool, and why?
Keith: I’d say overall it’s been Movable Type. I’ve found that it’s very powerful and flexible if you’re willing to learn the ins and outs, as I have. It’s a great one for people who are willing to get their hands dirty as you can do lots of customization with it. I imagine, however, that the same could be said for Expression Engine, WordPress, etc. I just have quite a bit more experience with Movable Type.
I will say that I’m really liking Expression Engine quite a bit so far.
Me: What do you think has been the key factor in getting you where you are today? (i.e. Design skills, networking, understanding client needs…)
Keith: Hard work and having a passion for what I do. All of those things you mention are important, but at the end of the day it’s the people that are willing to do the work and love what they do that become successful.
Me: In an interview with the Web Standards Group, you mentioned the “Golden Triangle”.
The “Golden Triangle” I talk about is simply a metaphor I use to illustrate the delicate balance of goals that should be laid out for any successful Web project.
Can you apply it to personal blogging? Or is it a business use only metaphor?
Keith: It can apply to many things. When talking about personal blogging it could be balancing your personal writing goals against your readers level of engagement and the amount of time you’ve got to devote to it. Obviously there isn’t much risk involved with a personal project as you’re the only one who’s likely to have a major stake in things, but the same theories can apply.
Me: You have worked for many large companies before, and seen how they approach the web. Do you think traditional media and big box companies like Microsoft ,or Boeing are ready for the shift that is occurring with the online world via Blogging, podcasting, social media, citizen journalism and the like?
Just kidding. Really, I don’t think they’re 100% ready yet, but they are starting to pick up on these things. For example there has been great interest in blogging by all of these companies and my guess is things like podcasting are going to follow shortly if they’re not there already.
There are smart, forward-thinking people at these companies and as long as they’ve got interest you’ll see this stuff work its way in.
Me: Thanks again to Keith for taking the time out to do this interview with me. If you have not taken a look at his personal blog, you should. The design is inspiring and his content is great. So check him out at DKeithRobinson.com.
I recently was lucky enough to secure a few minutes with Matt Mullenweg, one of the people that took it upon himself to create WordPress. Being so busy, I expected him to say “no” when I asked, but he didn’t and so here is the interview.
1.) Most people that read this site know you thanks to WordPress, but I am sure there is more to you than that. Could you give a few details on the other things you have done?
1. I once climbed to the top of Masada.
2. I did a jazz arrangement of Mario Bros music for a saxophone quartet and played it, which you can find on the net if you dig.
3. I’ve been very lucky in finding folks smarter than myself and hiring them for a funny little company called Automattic.
4. I’m an adviser to Sphere, and I dig their stuff.
5. I take a lot of photos, but I’m really behind on uploading them.
2.) Can you give us a quick history on WordPress? It was not just you that decided a fork from b2 was needed, correct?
Thanks to the wonders of permalinks you can actually read the comment where WordPress was born, from a swell fellow named Mike Little. We started by integrating his links code and some of my texturize/autop stuff and then worked a lot of creating the options system (moving stuff out of config files) and simplifying the install. Add in a new default template, XHTML compliance, and remove all color from the admin interface and you have WordPress 0.70, which was used by approximately 5 people including myself and my cat.
Last night I had the lucky opportunity to chat with Scotty of Hitch50.com. Scotty and Fiddy are travelling across the US in fifty days thanks to the miracle of hitchhiking.
Justin, a friend of mine picked them up and let me know they were in his car. I have to admit to not being prepared, but very excited. I posted about their journey on BloggingPro just before they started it. Now they are over two weeks into it and going strong.
Me: Hi Scotty, this is David from BloggingPro. I posted about your mission not too long ago.
Scotty: Kinda caught you off guard being in the car huh?
Me: Yeah, seriously. I figured I would only just keep watching the website. So to start things off, why was 50 consecutive days was chosen? You could have stretched it out to far more… 100 days sounds like even more fun.
Scotty: Maybe so, but it doesn’t have the same edge as 50 days. We figured 100 days would be easy, so we wanted a bigger challenge. Also, 50 in 50 has a nice ring to it.
Me: What about this “Golden Ticket“, other than the fact of maybe getting to go on a trip, why do you think people would want to give you a ride at a chance to party with you? What activities do you have in mind?
Scotty: We’re hoping and planning as much as we can that the final destination is Hawaii. So Hawaii alone is a good time. We’re also hoping this will snowball enough with the media and publicity, so the events may come through the level of exposure we get. If that is never realized we can just hang out on the beach, surf and eat pineapples.
Me: What about money concerns? Is there some corporate sponsor we don’t know about?
Scotty: No, there is no sponsors. We dont want this to be “Yahoo presents Hitch 50″ or something like that. If there’s a corporate bank account behind the project it takes away the feel of it. It would be easy for people to do this if they had a big budget. We’re trying to keep it ‘grassroots’. So we’re taking the risk on ourselves through our credit cards.
Me: Oooh…credit cards. Nice. Have you found it hard to keep up with the blogging? Getting online must be annoying sometimes?
Scotty: Sometimes yeah, we have mobile broadband service so alot of it is done in the back of cars. Also, we are trying to spend as much time with our drivers and hosts as possible, without being burried in our computers. So alot of work is done between 1-4 AM If we take a day off from updating the site we get just burried in work to catch up. Also, we have a short time-frame, with only 50 days to do the project we need to keep the content comming to maximize the exposure.
Me: How have you found the interactions that you have had so far with other bloggers, commenters and the people that pick you up?
Scotty: Almost all comments have been positive and supportive. We get alot of “I wish I thought of that” or “I’m living vicariously through you”. The people who give us rides are thanking us for letting them be a part of the project. So its been so positive. As for bloggers, we’re getting the same support. I’m not sure how many blog links we have now, but we had like 40 in the first day alone. Its the bloggers more than anyone who see the vision of the project. Many of our rides are from other bloggers and we try to link to their sites.
Me: I am one of the people living vicariously through you guys. Infact my fiance is now bugging me to do something similar across Canada now… Thanks a lot…
You have to come through Canada to get to Alaska, any chance you will save a day for British Columbia? I know it is not the USA, but us Canadians are friendly and would probably give you a ride, and B.C. is beautiful.
Scotty: Sure, we’re gonna be in Victoria soon. Oh ya, we’re both from Vancouver so we know what its like.
Thanks to Justin for creating the opportunity and Scotty for being up to it. I really appreciate the time and effort that he put into going back and forth with me in the car on the move.
Scotty also let me know that his buddy that is doing all the great programming and whatnot on the site is going to be releasing some new features soon where you can see the approximate speed they are travelling as well as some geo-tagged photos.
Great stuff, and the best of luck to them from me.
Folksonomy has a short interview up with Dick Costolo, co-founder and CEO of FeedBurner.
The most interesting question for me was the one about blogging of course.
You have a unique advantage of having one foot in the world of blogging, and one foot in the world of Web 2.0. What advice would you give to a blogger, and what advice would you give to an entrepreneur?
My advice to bloggers is to write frequently. Bloggers who write frequently seem to find their voice more readily and establish an audience who come back expecting to engage in conversation frequently. My advice to entrepreneurs? Goodness, my advice to entrepreneurs is not to listen to other people’s advice. There are fifty reasons not to start a company, and when you start it, there are fifty reasons not to continue to pursue it when you run into the first spot of trouble (which will be the first of many spots of trouble, even if you’re the next Google). You have to focus solely on what you want to accomplish and ignore everything else. [emphasis mine]
Not surprising he advocates posting more often. It just works. More posts means more chances to get things right, more content to read, more writing practice, more things for a search engine to index, and unless you are going too crazy with the number of posts, it means a constant reason for people to come back often to check out the new things you have written.
Check out the full interview at Folksonomy.