paradoxes are fun

[This was going to be a comment on my last post, but it was getting so unwieldy I thought I'd promote it]

Well, Matt seems to have these brainstorms every so often. It tends to coincide with the party season. Or, apparently, major conferences. Hard to see what Toni and the Happiness Engineers (hey! they sound like a Fifties girl group!) could do about that, other than fit Matt’s laptop with some form of alarm that starts wailing and locks down the keyboard when he mentions validation, grammar, or his own general fantasticness for giving ‘his’ software away.

Also, not all the code on wordpress.com is GPL. Nor is all the code in Akismet. Six Apart understand better than anyone else that Automattic are a business, and that letting people have wp.com out of the box or disclosing Akismet’s inner workings to spammers would make no sense whatsoever. But it looks like you’re trying to hide the fact when you refuse to concede the truth of it. Owning up to closing some of your source for sound reasons is a lot more open and honest than encouraging the fanboys to believe that everything you do is 100% open when it’s not.

Paradoxes are fun. Embrace them.

The most interesting thing about this whole brouhaha is Matt’s overreaction. He clearly feels far more threatened by Six Apart than anyone would have suspected based on, well, the facts and figures; not to mention the psychological advantage of his current success being largely due to their earlier failure. They must be really happy. It would be very easy for them to spin this as Automattic falling apart in the face of a renewed challenge from an older company that has already made its mistakes and learned from them. Or as Matt being not quite ready for the cut and thrust of big business. I think drmike is probably right in saying that it’s Toni’s job to mentor Matt through this period and stop him getting wound up by the competition, but I’m not sure he actually has the authority to tell Matt not to do anything, CEO or no CEO.

In a year or two, people may look back on this spat, coinciding as it does with the delayed release of 2.5 and the brokenness of .com, and say it was the point that WordPress jumped the shark. Certainly I’d never seen so many discontented people on the .com forums before this week. No wonder Matt is freaking out.

7 Comments »

  1. The .com forums are spinning out of control. I can’t look at it much anymore. Half of the questions don’t even need to be asked, but because people are too lazy to search first, it gets cluttered up with mind-numbingly repetitive questions. Add to that the twits who don’t even leave a link back to the blog they want help on, the blatant self-promotors, the penguin drama… I notice some of the regular volunteers – those who haven’t been involuntarily unpersoned – aren’t around anymore.

  2. drmike said

    No wonder Matt is freaking out.

    Do you think he’s even noticed? I would love to see some Deleted Blogs, Blogs no longer used, and Users who haven’t signed in within the last 6 months numbers.

  3. brbrl said

    Unfortunately he isn’t actually referring to WP.com, just the WordPress software which is pretty misleading :S

  4. I would love to see some Deleted Blogs, Blogs no longer used, and Users who haven’t signed in within the last 6 months numbers.

    You think they even keep records of those? They seem unlikely to impress investors so there doesn’t seem to be much point.

    You may well be right about Matt being out of the wp.com loop, but that’s even worse. If support are too scared to fill him in, it doesn’t bode well.

  5. oh look, they just broke comments:

    http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic.php?id=24224

    Sticky posts advertising broken stuff, that means the weekend is here! Yay!

  6. No more free accounts at livejournal – they are going commercial http://eng.cnews.ru/news/top/indexEn.shtml?2008/03/13/291948

  7. I was meaning to write a post on that but I don’t have time at the moment. I will just say SUP’s complete lack of emotional investment in or understanding of the site doesn’t bode well for the future, because there’s nothing to stop them shutting it down English-language provision as soon as they realise Six Apart sold them a pup.

    It also worries me that they apparently don’t know the first thing about the market they’re trying to operate in. Livejournal was built on the freemium model before it was fashionable to do so; they’re never going to make massive amounts from ads because the SEO is woeful and much of the content is blocked from Google anyway. Unfortunately, ads are a case of diminishing returns; the more you have, the worse you’ll do from them, because once you reach a certain point everyone is either blocking them or using a more attractive site. Automattic understand that. I may bitch about their sneaky implementation of ads, but keeping quiet about it is an absolutely sound business decision. Sadly that strategy was never going to work for SUP, as LJ users are several degrees more savvy and passionate (or, if you prefer, paranoid and whiny) than your average Snow Lover.

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