Inspiration is the best rocket fuel

Posted on 19 June 2014 by JasonK

Last night Matt Mullenweg told the story of WordPress and how it had all happened. It was a kind of a one man solo theatre performance with a stream of anecdotes counterpointing each step along the journey.

I have been lucky enough to hear Matt speak a few times over the past 6 years and even though I knew most of the story there were still plenty of insights to be had.

The event was held in a school theatre and it was the right setting for a no frills telling of the motivations and the reasons why WordPress is still relevant and exciting today after 10.5 years.

Here are some tweets and posts that captured some of the magic moments. It was great to meets some tweeps in person and to see so many new faces as well as some old favourites.

In the first snap below I was talking with @billbennettnz and unknowingly photo bombed the shot.

In shot: Megan @Madicattt and Laura @lozalock with Matt.

Megan wrote a great post on the evening WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg in Auckland

Potaua & Nikolasa Biasiny-Tule run an awesome local news project in Rotorua. They came up especially to say hi. They also very kindly bought Matt a ponamu pendant seen in the photo below.

The moment when Potaua presented the gift he leaned in for a hongi which was a new concept for Matt. Anyway it was a beautiful moment, spontaneous and unscripted and delightfully funny all at the same time.

During the Q & A many of those who asked questions thanked Matt for co-creating WordPress and giving many of us fulfilling work as part of the WP community.

Grant Furley over on his blog got to the essence of the evening in Conversation with WordPress founder beats Awards night

Matt’s presentation was the antithesis of a corporate computing event – no PowerPoint slides, no fancy lighting or sound, no slick media personality as MC*. Just Matt speaking from the heart about the product he develops (WordPress) and the company he founded (Automattic) that provides complementary blog services like hosting and spam protection.

What made the evening so inspiring was his commitment to open source and to his mission of “democratizing publishing”. Matt shared his philosophy and the story of how WordPress grew to the point where today it powers a staggering 22% of all the world’s websites. Rather than speak about “how” or “what” his organisation does, or show any software, he talked about “why” WordPress exists and why it has succeeded in a very tough market. Not only did this resonate strongly with the audience, but it also left you feeling “I want to be part of this”. And it’s that community loyalty that is the backbone of WordPress’ success.

There is much more I could say but Grant has captured most of it including the 4 qualities that Matt looks for when hiring. (*) it was me as the non-slick MC ha :)

Integrity
Work ethic
Taste
Curiosity

Matts final note was an encouragement for everyone to keep giving back to the community and how that creates even more for us all.

Inspiration really is the best rocket fuel. It is comparatively easy to manage a company but leading from the heart and inspiring others to become leaders – now that is an idea worth spreading.

Thanks to Matt for including Auckland and Wellington in the 10 city loop for this trip. The WordPress community has grown hugely in the last 5 years and all signs for the future are green for go just like the beautiful pounamu in the photo below.

Another post worth checking out is Opening up the secret sauce. Open sourcing Bucky Box

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