PodSession: Startup Do’s and Don’ts with Matt Mullenweg of Automattic

Matt done WordPress style

Last night Om and I sat down with Matt Mullenweg, lead developer of open-source blogging software WordPress and a recent founder of Automattic to record our latest PodSession. Automattic is a software services company centered around the WordPress blogging platform.

We chatted about how to successfully scale a new web application. WordPress.com currently hosts about 200,000 blogs with mirrored hosting in San Diego and Dallas. Matt and I agreed that it’s best not to over-optimize at the beginning but instead sit back and watch the actual usage of your web application to fine-tune. Check out Cal Henderson‘s new book, Building Scalable Web Sites for over 300 pages to help keep your site online.

Om tried to shake things up with a Ruby on Rails vs. PHP showdown, but again it didn’t work. David Heinemeier Hansson and I talked about the same issue in our 37signals podcast last December. Pick a programming language you and your engineers are comfortable with, or you can easily pick up based on existing skills. Using existing programming libraries in a given language may sway your decision.

We talked about spam in the form of fake blogs and/or comment spam. The Akismet plugin has stopped over 40 million spam messages from blog owners and is also being used to identify the creation of spam blog accounts on WordPress.com. With the recent integration of blog search results to mainstream media sites such as Time.com and the Associated Press blog spam now has a new level of visibility and motive for attack. Hopefully startup companies are keeping on top of the problem and related items for “Bush” won’t be overwhelmed with camgirls.

This week’s PodSession, Startup Do’s and Don’ts, is 22 minutes in length, a 10 MB download.