Last night we were treated to a talk in Sydney from Matt Mullenweg on how WordPress was created and where its future lies.

Matt was last over in Australia for WordCamp AU in 2008 and it was a real treat to have him back.

He’s been touring around Australasia strengthening the WordPress brand and putting the word out that Automattic (of which Matt is CEO) is hiring.

This is the final leg of the tour.  Matt is next off to Wellington and Auckland before heading home.

We (WP Sydney) were stoked to work in conjunction with Automattic to host Matt at the Australian Technology Park and we got a bumper turnout of 100+ WordPress enthusiasts.

Automatticians Dion Hulse and Alex Shiels were helping to host with Rebecca Collins coordinating form Adelaide; a full table of free WordPress swag to boot.

There was a real mix of skill sets in the room; developers, designers, users and business entrepreneurs with WordPress being the platform of choice for all.

WordPress: Past & Future

Matt took us through the journey of how he got into web development (from being a jazz saxophonist), open source projects and how WordPress was created from a fork of B2/Cafelog.

He explained the evolution of WordPress and how he brought together distributed groups, who were also working on their own forks of B2/Cafelog, to make “the best publishing platform” they possibly could.

We got to hear about how Automattic was formed and grew to the now 250+ distributed employees with its mission statement: To Democratise Publishing.

Matt’s passion for open source GPL software was very clear and he stated that WordPress would always be GPL “…as long as I’m alive“.

“WordPress may not be WordPress in the next 6 years.  It will be whatever you (the community) want it to be.”

Q & A

But this wasn’t just a sit and listen event.  Matt spent just as long, if not longer I think, answering questions from the floor.

What a great opportunity it was to ask the person with all the answers.

One of the community members praised Automattic for not including a standard favicon which other CMS’ do and asked Matt if he could make sure it didn’t get included in the future.

I think that’s the first time I’ve heard anyone ask for a feature not to be included!

Anyway, Matt laughed and then asked to take a poll.  “Put your hand up if you don’t want a default WordPress favicon included”.

The entire room filled with hands up.

“Done.” said Matt.  Democracy in practice!

To wrap up, we (WP Sydney +Kristen, +Nicole) gave Matt a little parting gift of a Koala plushie proudly wearing a WordPress badge.  A reminder to come back and see us again.

Pub Time

As is our WP Sydney tradition, we headed off to the pub after the event with Matt and Mimi in tow to continue our conversations over beer and food.

We settled at the Camelia Grove Hotel (the ‘Cammy’), who kept the bisto open late especially for us.  Great food and fantastic service.  Go there!

A couple of hours later and just before Matt left, he bought a round of shots for us all.  A great end to the evening.

Cheers Matt!