Internet Entrepreneurs: Meet the Millionaire Dropout that Founded WordPress, Matt Mullenweg

Find out how Matt Mullenweg founded WordPress and other topnotch Web portals and the team that started with him.

Matt Mullenweg, at 27, has achieved much more than many people aim to/can achieve in their entire lifetime. Just like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, he became very successful at a very early age after dropping out of school.

Matt Mullenweg’s Journey to Stardom

On his blog, he revealed that, seven years ago he never even dreamt of all the glory, fame and friends that he has now.

His initial ambition was to be a jazz saxophonist but somehow, he got into taking pictures and blogging in Washington. He dropped out of school (University of Houston) in 2004 after two years to begin Automattic, the start up behind WordPress.com, and today he is worth about $40 million.

Because of his success at that time, he was recruited by CNET in October 2004 to work on WordPress and other related new media activities. His passion for full control however brought him back on track. In October 2005, he left CNET to begin his own company.

Sure, he made sure the table was set before he decided to leave CNET. Soon after he left, he announced Akismet on October 25 (a few days after) and Automattic in December, 2005.

He began his company (Automattic) with some of the lead developers on WordPress: Ryan Boren and Donncha O Caoimh and later employed Toni Schneider, a former OddPost CEO and executive in Yahoo, to join Automattic as CEO.

What You Should Know about Matt Mullenweg’s Business Focus …

One peculiarity among young millionaires/entrepreneurs like this is their initial focus on the user experience of their portals. This obsession seems to always set them apart.

Note that Matt Mullenweg began the development of WordPress since 2002 but did not have a company to commercialize his services (Automattic) until August 2005.

Today, WordPress is the leading platform for bloggers. A report on New York Times revealed that, WordPress still ranks high (in spite of the present Social Media craze) among other prominent blog platforms including blogger, Tumblr, LiveJournal, etc.

Mullenweg’s full name is Matthew Charles Mullenweg. He has earned a few accolades.

  • He was named among Business Week’s 25 most influential people on the Web (being the youngest on the list)
  • He was one of PC World’s top 50 people on the Web
  • He was also among Inc.com’s top 30 entrepreneurs that are under 30.

Matt Mullenweg was born in Houston, Texas on January 11th, 1984 (he is 27 this year). However, he now lives in San Francisco, California.

Matt Mullenweg’s Business Life

Apart from WordPress, he was involved in founding many other Web services/portals including Poll Daddy, Buddy Press, Akismet, Gravatar and many more under his start up, Automattic.  Particularly, he acquired Gravatar service in October, 2007.

His company Automattic, which started six years ago (in August 2005) focuses on commercializing WordPress products. In an interview with Matt Mullenweg at [email protected], he stated that he created Automattic to pursue the commercial interests around WordPress ecosystem.  He explained that his motivation is working with great people to democratize the World Wide Web.

In 2010 alone, he hired 28 more people to join his startup making them a total of over 70 on the team handling several things including graphic design, coding, media research, usability and more. He calls them Automatticians. Up from a team of 5 in January 2006, they rose to 18 in January 2008 and 35 in January 2009. According to the official page of Automattic, the members of the team work from different places all around the world.

As for Matt, he now spends most of his time traveling, donating for charity and speaking as a professional. If you’d like to catch him, you can move to Houston where he intends to spend most of his time in 2011.


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Internet Entrepreneurs: Meet the Millionaire Dropout that Founded WordPress, Matt Mullenweg

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