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Happy Birthday, Ma.tt – Thanks for Your Continued Inspiration

Happy birthday, Matt Mullenweg. Thank you for your relentless pursuit of open source and for being a great role model.

This post is Matt Mullenweg’s birthday present. It is 100% human-generated. There is no AI in this post as should be obvious by the grammar (okay, there might be some spell-checking that magically happens these days).

This brings me back to the good old days (wait, as Carly Simon would say, these are still the good old days) of 2006. It was in that era that I became aware of Matt. He was the leader of the open-source, WordPress content management system.

Roger Bindl and I were evaluating various open-source CMSs for Viodi.tv; a domain I had for years but had never really used. We were getting to the point of paralysis by analysis as there were no obvious standouts. Finally, we decided just to pick one. We chose WordPress; a lucky decision that turned out to be the right one.

Open Source Flows Through His Blood #

Through the years I followed the links to Matt’s posts and was impressed with his thoughtfulness, humility, and brains. Then, in 2011, I had the opportunity to meet him in person.

You know those stories where you meet someone in person and they don’t live up to your expectations. This wasn’t one of those encounters. He spent time listening to how our youth baseball league used WordPress to organize a relief effort. He then repeated that story when he gave his comments to the audience.

Matt Mullenweg at Zurb on WordPress' 8th Birthday
Matt Mullenweg at Zurb on WordPress’ 8th Birthday

He explained that those kind of stories inspire him. His relating of that story has inspired me. It has inspired me to continue using WordPress both for personal and professional projects.

Matt has open-source flowing through his blood. He told me then, and it is still his mantra, that you own your data and that you should have the right to take it with you. He makes me think of that trope from the ’70s about if you love someone set it free.

An Inspiration for the Young and Old #

Another thing that impresses me is his growth mindset. On a recent Tim Ferris podcast episode, he spoke of things he has changed his mind about. One of those was having kids.

Which brings me to my final couple of thoughts. One of my favorite shared memories with my older son is that he was with me at that 2011 event, so he also got to meet Matt.

We still talk about that encounter and will often discuss Matt, what he is doing and how he lives his life. Like Matt, my son doesn’t swear. He also went down a tech path and like Matt he has a strong passion and talent for writing and the arts.

I say this not to take credit. Quite the opposite, any success my boys will have in life is despite me. It is the connections and influence of meeting people like Matt, having great teachers, coaches, aunts and uncles, a church family, and, most importantly, a great mom that really helped him along.

To this last point, Matt, building on the comments you made on the Tim Ferris podcast, if you get the chance please have kids. I know it’s trite, but they will bring you to so many new places and expand your world in so many ways. Of course, it’s ok, if it doesn’t happen as you will continue to inspire and impact generations younger and older than you just by being you.

P.S. Thanks Matt and Team and Happy Birthday! #

The really amazing thing is that I was able to write this on the WordPress app, while on an airplane.* We are living in amazing times. Looking at that app’s backend, there are 35+ websites that I have started with WordPress. Thanks, Matt and the WordPress community! Happy 40th!

* Subsequent revisions to the post were made on a computer.

Author Ken Pyle, Managing Editor

By Ken Pyle, Managing Editor

Ken Pyle is Marketing Director for the Broadband Forum. The mission of this 25+-year-old non-profit “is to unlock the potential for new markets and profitable revenue growth by leveraging new technologies and standards in the home, intelligent small business, and multi-user infrastructure of the broadband network.”

He is also co-founder of Viodi, LLC and Managing Editor of the Viodi View, a publication focused on the rural broadband ecosystem, autonomous vehicles, and electric aviation. He has edited and produced numerous multimedia projects for NTCA, US Telecom and Viodi. Pyle is the producer of Viodi’s Local Content Workshop, the Video Production Crash Course at NAB, as well as ViodiTV. He has been intimately involved in Viodi’s consulting projects and has created processes for clients to use for their PPV and VOD operations, as well authored reports on the independent telco market.

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