#50: I promise to kiss the Blarney stone

Tom Raftery is the guy who runs the IT@Cork National Technology & Business Conference. He called me up the other day and we had a chat and he recorded that and put it up. He had previously asked his readers to send in their questions. They did, including one on open source that Tom didn’t expect me to answer. I answered that, and more, on the podcast.

And, yes, I did promise to kiss the Blarney Stone. I can see how Tom built a successful conference in a country far away from Silicon Valley.

#48: Second and Folsom, epicenter of blog world

Matt Mullenweg met me for lunch Wednesday at Ristorante Umbria at 2nd and Folsom in San Francisco. I didn’t write about it right away cause my week has just been totally packed.

At one point he started rattling off who lives within, or has offices within, a few blocks of that corner. Folks who run Flickr. Technorati. Six Apart. CNET. And more.

Just to punctuate that point JD Lasica and a group of people which included Lane Becker, director of professional services at Adaptive Path, sat down for lunch. Speaking of which, JD made a neat photo of my son and I last weekend at a geek dinner I attended.

Anyway, back to Matt.

We talked about WordPress.com. That’s the service my blog is hosted on. He’s built out an extensive load balancing system. He expects to have millions of blogs running on this system without too much trouble. Already his WordPress software is being downloaded 4,000 times per day and he already has 10s of thousands of blogs running on WordPress.com despite still being in a pre-release state.

I asked him about his business model. He told me that he’s making enough money off of referal and affiliate links to do well enough to buy a new Sony Laptop. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but he’s stopped using a Macintosh (he was nervous about telling me that cause he thinks he’s gonna get heck from the other bloggers in his neighborhood).

He also told me that he’s working on a new advertising model where he can negotiate a little slice from advertising platform companies for their inclusion on WordPress.com. If it works it’ll be brilliant. Again, he only needs a small slice of revenues to make things very interesting. He also sees that he’ll be able to charge a small fee for additional features for your blogs.

There’s lots of new features coming to WordPress.com, he tells me, and says that he and his team are doing daily builds that get pushed out to their servers. I told him I’d already noticed an improvement in speed and features in the few weeks I’d been using it.

Anyway, the lunch was great, and the news about the future roadmap was even better.

Oh, did you know that Matt’s only 21 years old? I have a feeling we’ll be hearing a lot from Matt in the years ahead. He’s one of the most gifted people I’ve met.

Is he having an impact on the blog industry? Well, Feedster just added a search site that lets you search just WordPress.com blogs.