Rob Cairns talks to Ryan Waterbury about what Automattic does right.
- Things Automattic does.
- Contributions to WordPress.
- Investments in other ventures.
- Automattic’s other companies.
Hey everybody, Rob Cairns here again. And today I’m with my monthly Cohost, the one the only Mr. Ryan, Waterbury, how are you, Ryan?
I’m doing great.
Yeah, it’s miserable. I here in Minnesota. Lucky you and the twins.
Yeah, we have. This nice wind out of Alberta that. Is cool to say the least.
Yeah, according to my brother, who lives in Fort Saskatchewan, just outside Edmond. And he dropped like a rock. It’s like, -7 Celsius do the conversion. I eat, boil freezing and too cold. Toronto is windy and a little warmer for this time of year, but I’m going away next weekend, and that means it’s going to rain. So you know how that goes.
In our last podcast, you and I rightfully so at the time, kind of took aim at Matt Mullenweg, and I should share. It has been one of the most, if not the most. Podcast listens that I’ve ever put out, so you know. Thank you to that for all those people who listened and enjoyed our comments about our issues with what was going on in the WordPress community. And you had an idea that maybe we should talk about some things that automatic does right this time around, just to help the ecosystem along. And I think they do a lot of things right.
I I agree, and I I think it was you. That reminded me. A while ago, when I was. First noticing and really seeing you know some of the the things I didn’t like about automatic come on. And he said, hey, you know, you gotta you gotta remember all the the the things that. We’ve got like we’ll come. And I had to sit back and think about it after our last discussion that there’s a lot of good things that automatic does. And, you know, one being the largest funder ofthe.org WordPress project and largest contributor. So there’s that being one, but we wouldn’t be here without automatic. I mean, plain and simple the advancements. And the the tools. That that. They give out in the baseline. Now they’re freemium there. Is that but. They are free to start with, and if you’re a developer you can take off and do some pretty awesome things.
Yeah. And there’s some amazing people working for automatic. We have to understand that people like rich Tabor, people like Nick Diego, people like Burger Polly hack over Gutenberg times, that that’s the thing I mean. I love burger. You know, there’s a lot of Mattis ventures, lead, Gutenberg, lead, and it, and the list goes on and. Gone. And you know, we’re we’re lucky to have those people as contributors on support, you know.
Yeah, absolutely. I mean when we when we I kind of took shots at, you know automatic it was it was I think directed at Matt and his behavior. But honestly he’s been a pretty big proponent and vocal advocate for open source software, not just WordPress. And been active in being an advocate for, you know, democratizing publishing and allowing everyone to have access to these tools, which I think is fantastic. And the open source route and method is absolutely the. Best way in my opinion, to offer tools to the masses and so you know. I you’re right. I think it’s time to give some kudos where they’re where they’re dessert.
Yeah, I would agree. I was thinking, you know, earlier today I was looking at six. And we I was kind of looking at what was going on and I have to tell you the paper I was looking at was a paper from a well, a document from a well known contributor, Anne McCarthy. I’m sure you know Ann or know of. And she’s been a long time. She does not do ex or Twitter but. She certainly does. 10 and she has a document she actually shares with many prominent people to kind of keep people in the in the loop on what’s going on. And like, that’s just one more thing. Like I I was reading it. And, you know, I’ve had Anne on the show. I’ve had many members of automatic on the show and I. Think they do a lot of. The things and not just in the WordPress space like my favorite podcast player, for example, is Pocket casts and you. You’re on an apple, so if you do podcast you, you do Apple Music or Apple Podcast. But podcast for me works really well and automatic rescued that product from NPR. NPR had run it into the ground and weren’t wasn’t doing anything. And automatics done an. Awesome job with that product.
Yeah, another one that doesn’t get a lot of attention. And I’m honestly not active enough on it is Tumblr. You know the you know, when we look at social media and the mass exodus from the demographics that love Twitter. That’s, you know, a lot of people re restarted their Tumblr accounts. Sort of being more active there. In addition to that, you know activity pub is another project to, you know, federalize all the social media apps and allow them, you know, sharing in between each other. And you you start to look at these projects. And step back and you you put Wood WordPress to the side and you look at all the other awesome things that automatic that has their their hands on. And there’s a lot of good. Out there.
Yeah, one of the one of the projects that they do that’s kind of changed my life a little bit is a project called the day one journal. It’s probably one of the top journaling apps on there. A shout out to Kristen Wright is one of the marketing people over there who have gotten. To know quite well. I was doing journaling. It’s funny. I’ve journaled for years, so I went through a spiel where I was doing daily journaling in a. Believe it or not, in paper journals and bound books, and then I switched about, oh, about four years ago to a Google Doc just because I like to throw things in my journal when I’m on the go and not at home. And then I also had the book and I did a podcast with Kristen about journaling. Not. Yes, it’s been about. Six or seven months ago and that. App in its loan has totally changed the way I do journaling. So what I do is I write journals, I throw pictures in. You can add pictures from your smartphone. It makes it so easy. And most people don’t realize automatic owns day one journal. It’s just another way to democratize publishing and talk about. All the good things going on.
Yeah, you know, I started out talking about WooCommerce and I still think I, you know we we talked a little bit ago about how there’s starting to become some competition out there. But WooCommerce is still the de facto standard for e-commerce. On word. And now with the high performance order storage, that was one of the biggest complaints is we need to get away from the post table and do something different if you want. To play with the. Big boys? Well, they finally got around to it last year and listened and I was very happy to see that that. They’ve decoupled, although they’re still allowing backwards compatibility, which is fantastic, but they’re getting serious about e-commerce and for the complaints that you know, I’ve had about word. Yes, going the direction of Wicks, I look at Woo commerce and they’re going the opposite direction and really looking at more enterprise level e-commerce. So that gives me a little a little faith in and wanted to give a little shout out that they’re doing some good things that are in. In the other direction, then you know we’ve seen WordPress wing and that WooCommerce is becoming another flag flagship tool and e-commerce platform again it’s.
No, I would agree with you.
I just kind of. Yeah, I mean, it was kind of even though Shopify has a, you know, smaller market share, it was starting to be overshadowed by it. The ease of use with Shopify and starting Shopify has really opened up and become a little bit more flexible. So it’s nice to see some development. And some some thought and attention to woo commerce and you know, some development of those tools that are necessary in order to stay in the market.
No, I would agree with that 100. And I think the biggest thing with woo commerce is the flexibility and that’s you know, the big reason not to go to Shopify and we all know if you go to Shopify, you got you can’t go with the basic plan to get anything done. And so the old story is you pay on the front end or the back end. I would rather pay on the on the. On the front end and get some flexibility and then not and. And the other thing big thing about woo is you own your data, your data is stored within. So if your privacy concerns you have control over your data with Shopify, you certainly do not.
Ohh absolutely. And you know Speaking of another application that automatic owns male poet. You know, we both used it and had our struggles with it, but that was another acquisition that automatic made, which it was. It was a smart move. And another solid strategic move to allow people to own their data, you know, mail. Just last year was purchased by into it QuickBooks. They raised prices right off the bat. They raised prices in the spring and just recently everyone who was on a paid plan said please keep this under your belt. We’re going to be raising prices. In about two weeks again. And they own your your data. If you built all your things on there. So that’s one of the the nice things about WordPress and ecosystem and the other open source tools. You’re not tied to a SAS product out there. You own all all the data, all the content, and that’s what makes these tools absolutely wonderful.
No. And it and frankly. If you’re using self hosted WordPress, look at all the businesses because of automatics involvement have been based on. It yours and mine. All these hosting providers, everybody from WP engine to cloud wise, all the plugins, all the software packages, all the packaging, all these businesses. So where would they all be without automatics involvement? Probably nowhere, to be honest with it. So you know, it sounds like we were, I don’t think we were harsh in the last episode we did together. I think we just had some strong feelings and we did. But but we we’re pretty lucky and one of the people I adore in this community is the WordPress executive director, Joseph. I will say that and I will say that over cause that Lady has a smart head on her shoulders. And she makes our jobs easier.
Ohh absolutely. And you know she’s got a tough job looking after Matt. We’ll we’ll give her that too. Yeah, I know that last episode together. I think those are fair criticisms of, you know, some things that need attention in the Community but.
Yeah, that is true.
There’s a lot of good that comes along with. Automatic and Matt Mullenweg and the history with WordPress and all the products around automatic and General I. I think they. Offer options for people that wouldn’t necessarily have an option to start out with.
You know, you’re still not. You still have. You still have options with the move to blocks like you.
And go to Goldberg and play in that sandbox. Or you can keep using a conventional page builder like Beaver Builder or element, or there’s nothing stopping you. The options are still there if you go to Wix or Weebly, you’re stuck running their option and you have no choice in that. One. So again, there’s no choices. The biggest thing that that automatic has given us is options.
While you were talking and sorry to any viewers, I was just bringing up a website called Audrey Capital and for those who don’t know, that’s Matt Mullenweg’s investment arm. So it’s away from automatic at audrey.co. Ohh and it kind of lists out some of the places where they have put investment over the years and believe or not, it’s everything from Nord security which makes Nord VPN to to graphics companies to open source companies to you name it. And and and there’s. Believe it or not, they’ve even put money in the SpaceX believing. Isn’t that incredible when it. Yeah. So there’s money all over the place. And these are life changing things and some of it’s not. But here’s one joy ride. Pizza client. A pizza company in Detroit. I mean, he’s.
Matt’s got has done a lot of good for the world. When you look at some of these investments, telegram, an open source telecommunications program, I mean, and people realize this kind of stuff. It’s just amazing.
Ohh yeah. You talk about, you know, messages and other open source platform that automatic just purchased and salvage. I think adding adding in more open source tools like that. I mean when we talk about messaging, I mean we have the *******. Match between Google Android and Apple with. Yeah, you know, yeah.
Ohh God that disastrous.
With are you in a green or a blue chat bubble? And can you use the proper emojis and all the the functions you know? When I saw that purchase, you know, a few days ago that made me think can automatic put pressure on these companies to come to an open standard and improve everything?
We got there with him, didn’t we? Email’s an open standard. But which is good or bad and chat seems to have been an open standard for years. Do you remember the days before the Internet where we had things like MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger and icy U?
Ohh yeah. Yeah well.
ICQ and. And then and then there was a cool little. Program. I think it was called pigeon or something like that. Open source to interface all these chats and I think we’ve gone that way again. Like it’s just gotten crazy. There’s like WhatsApp has its own standard Facebook Messenger and so on and so forth. Just worth mentioning, I was just. Again, looking at the Audrey Capital site, do you know Matt’s investment firm even has money in calm? The number one meditation app on the Internet? That’s interesting. Isn’t that ironic?
I would not have guessed that one.
No, me neither. I’m just it’s just incredible. I mean, Angel, last I’m just reading names like Oh my God.
What? Yeah, I mean. You talked about notable websites, didn’t NASA just unveiled their new site based on WordPress?
I started looking around and. You know, here’s a popular one. You know, NFL and music culture is raving about. Taylor Swift’s website runs on WordPress. I was really surprised, you know, at that not, I mean, I guess not necessarily, but. You know, you you. Look out in the world and. WordPress. It does power over half the web. Whether you want to admit it or not, it’s it’s out there and there’s no questioning that it’s become the CMS of choice. So it. Yeah. So I you look at all these things and all these these sites. Out there and these tools and you know you look who’s funding and pushing the development and shaping that it’s, you know, gotta gotta get some credit where credits.
Yep, I was thinking you’re mentioning NASA site, the big one we all know is the White House wordpress.com whitehouse.gov, right is, on a word press site has been free and.
Oh, absolutely. Got the US government and you know to. At the the federal level, I mean the White House site, but a lot of you know, smaller agencies and local municipalities have been using your WordPress for years to host their sites, which is.
I think there’s some big universities, too. I think Princeton comes to mind for some reason. If I’m wrong and other ones like that and you know more and more. And I was looking at a site yesterday and it started with that D word called Drupal. And I’m just like, Oh my God.
I you know, honestly. That is 1 complaint after getting my dev gloves back on that I do have about WordPress and I talked a little bit about. Some of the good things that WooCommerce is doing, but when we talk about. Database queries and repurposing data, Joomla and Drupal, Drupal with views honestly had it down and when? When Beaver Themer came out, you know, I looked at them and said ohh, this is kind of what we’ve been missing. When those tools started coming out, but it so it’ll be nice to see you know after. Gutenberg comes around and they redo the admin and the media library and that team kinda gets their their ships together and things flush out. So I’ll start looking back again at database structure because I think that’s the next thing that needs a little bit. Of an overhaul. Yeah, I think.
It I think it’s coming. It’s just a question of when, not if so, but but it will come. Thanks for sharing some insights as always. It’s always appreciated. Somebody wants to get a hold of you. How is the best way.
You can find me on every major social media network at one dog solutions, one dog dot solutions is the website or e-mail me at Ryan dot Waterbury at one dog dot solutions.
And make sure you send the the one dogs. Lots of doggie treats because they’ve been quiet today, right? Change. Have a great day, Ryan. Bye.