Matt Mullenweg Gives the State of the Word

Matt Mullenweg gave his annual State of the Word talk at WordCamp San Francisco this year, and set the tone for where WordPress will be going in the next year.  His slides will be made available when the video is edited and ready!  Michael Pick designed the slides, as is becoming customary, and it’s worth noting that they were amazing.

I had the opportunity to attend the talk in person and could feel the excitement of everyone in the room.  Watching the tweets come in, I could see folks chiming in from across the globe who were watching the livestream.  I loved that everyone across the globe, not just those who were able to attend the WordCamp in person, were able to see Matt’s talk and participate via Twitter. WordPress has an amazing community, and they were all active during the talk.

WordPress in 2012 by the numbers

Matt shared a great deal during the talk.  Here are some of the high notes in some impressive stats.

  • In 2011: 51 WordCamps were organized
  • In 2012: 31 WordCamps have happened to date, with 44 more planned for the year – The Community is growing!
  • WordPress 3.5 will be released on December 5th. Go @nacin!
  • WordPress mobile apps have been downloaded 5,000,000 times across 6 platforms
  • In 2011, 13,000 folks were making a living from WordPress
  • In 2012, more than 20,000 folks (including yours truly) are making their living in a WordPress-related job
  • WordPress has been downloaded over 145 Million times (does not count 1-click installs on other hosting companies)
  • 16.7% of the ENTIRE INTERNET is powered by WordPress.
  • Mark Jaquith had the funniest tweets during the talk

Hosted by WP Engine

In a blog post last week, Matt asked for The Coolest WP Site You’ve Seen that he could share in his annual State of the Word Talk.  Two of his examples were Bonnaroo and the ScotusBlog.  Bonnaroo is an amazing 4-day music festival that happens just once a year in Tennessee.  They have a history of hosting acts like RadioheadRed Hot Chilli PeppersThe Beach BoysPhishStevie WonderJohnny CashThe White StripesNeil Young, and Pearl Jam.  Tickets for Bonnaroo sell out quickly and their site has a history of crashing every year when they release their lineup.  This year, they built on WordPress and WP Engine hosted them. No site crashes.

WP Engine also hosted some, not all of the traffic on SCOTUSblog, including a well-publicized link,  SCOTUSblog is of course the blog covering the Supreme Court ruling of the Health Care bill earlier this year.  The SCOTUSblog famously liveblogged the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act that all Americans must purchase health care by 2014 or pay a penalty as Constitutional.  That week, the blog, which under normal conditions gets a modicum of traffic, had tens of millions of visitors paying attention to the historic decision.  Liveblogging a historical Supreme Court Decision, and doing it on WordPress is something for the record books.

State of the Word Audience

Predictions for the Future

WordPress has gone from Blog to a CMS in the past 2 years.  Matt is predicting that in the next year or two, WordPress will be the foundation for applications all over the Internet.  Imagine the WordPress App Engines, and how this will affect the work of today’s consultants who make their living on WordPress.

WordPress will also become more and more international.  So much of the current growth on WordPress is happening in countries that are not part of the Western world, and Matt will be prioritizing international support, updates, engagement, features for that market.

Updating will become more seamless.  Matt talked about making updating immediate and automatic, in a similar fashion to how Google Chrome does updates.  Automatic updates will solve issues like users who run out-of-date versions from a year or two ago, hacking vulnerabilities from older versions, and plugin compatibility.  Automatic updates will present interesting challenges for hosting companies like WP Engine who work closely with developers on their sites.  Updates often need to be carefully tested to make sure that custom apps can be adjusted by the developer according to Core releases.

HUGE Feature: Real-time editing, a la Google Drive (Formerly Google Docs).  This would be a huge feature. When PandoDaily‘s Trevor Gilbert was in Austin, he and I spoke about using WordPress as a journalist. One of his biggest requests was to have the ability to perform collaborative real-time editing on his stories.  I tweeted at Trevor during Matt’s talk, and he was pumped about the announcement.

Last Details

It was the first time I got to personally attend the talk, and I had the opportunity to meet Matt briefly later that afternoon.  I got to sit in a single room with hundreds of people who are contributing to WordPress Core, to the community, to the biggest blogs, and to the support forums.  It was a great afternoon.

Tomorrow, look for a blog post to wrap up the WP Engine experience at WordCamp San Francisco.  We had the opportunity to bring almost half the team to the WordCamp, and we’ll share some pictures and stories from our team members from our Support and Development team who experienced the event.

Here is a list by David Bisset of Presentation Decks from WCSFBrian Krogsgard of WP Candy shared his notes from WCSF in a Google Doc we can edit (don’t troll him ;-))