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The Tavern Wizard Revealed: It's Matt Mullenweg

Well, the great Oz has revealed himself, a prediction that many historically professed to be true but one that I couldn’t as easily see myself.

So I asked the question publiclyWho really is the man behind the curtain over at WP Tavern?

It’s been revealed: Matt Mullenweg is the one who bought, and now owns, WP Tavern. It was also revealed that he’s also who’s financed the future of WeblogToolsCollection as well as Mark Ghosh took his leave.

So what’s the plan? Archive WBTC and make Tavern a “third place” for community:

What’s the plan? Currently: put WLTC into archive mode, and reboot Tavern to be a “third place” for the WP community.

Matt even mentioned that there’s a possibility, long-term, that it might be rolled up into an official WP.org news source.

As usual, there have been both a ton of public praise as well some who have voiced their concern about whether this will present a conflict of interest of sorts for independent and unbiased reporting:

(It’s worth taking a look at least the conversation thread here as well.)

So the question is: Does this create conflict and tension? And perhaps as a follow-up question, do you think that WP Tavern can come back in full-swing?

For starters it’s a great win for Jeffro personally, regardless of where the chips land; being “funded” or at least salaried by Audrey Capital (the entity that has purchased WP Tavern and WLTC) allowed Jeff to “leave his full time job” to pursue this now with passion and attention.

There are very few who can share how freeing that is to be able to put food on the table and blog full time. It’s a dream that many people have but few people have ever really tasted.

The same goes for Mark Ghosh who now can breathe a big sigh of relief knowing that the community and great content will live on for a very long time, if not forever.

Want to toss your “hat” into the ring? What are your thoughts on the Wizard Reveal?

  • http://mattreport.com Matt

    I’m excited for the WordPress media space.

    WPDaily, WPBeginner, WPTavern, DradCast, Your Website Engineer, Post Status, WPMail.me, my web shows and others I forgot to mention.

    I agree with Brian Krogsgard, it might be impossible for the Tavern to be seen as objective from *our* crowd. What I’m curious to see is, will the traffic from WordPress.org know the difference?

    Will THAT community know that it’s a “Mullenweg” property? We won’t know until we see how the chips fall and what kind of content is getting served up. My first inkling is we might see the same blow back as when the GPL marketplace’s were promoted on the home page.

    How will it impact our media efforts? Good, bad or otherwise?

  • http://www.wptavern.com Jeffro

    First off Matt, you’re doing a great job with MattReport and your interviews with various WordPress folks. When I started WPTavern, it was hard at first but I had to convince myself to not have any bias towards other WordPress focused sites. The competitive part in me look at other sites as competition and I wanted to be first on everything, even if it were rumors. After attending 2-3 WordCamps and discussing my thoughts on competition, this is when I realized that I’m not fulfilling the position of being a good community member if I exclude linking to a particular site because they are more popular than the tavern.

    I now link to everyone, regardless if they are competition or not. Being in the dashboard gives me the opportunity to push traffic to sites/articles that deserve it and it gives me a good feeling to share that type of traffic with those sites. If a site publishes a great tutorial, the more WordPress people that know about it, the better off everyone in this ecosystem is.

    If people on the outside come to WPTavern.com and automatically think it’s a Mullenweg property, then that means I have failed at my job. Other than being funded, Matt’s primary role as it relates to WPTavern is like an adviser. Helping me direct the ship in the right direction. Sure, every now and then he’ll suggest a plugin, theme or service that I should look into reviewing as he did with WooCommerce on it’s release but outside of that, he does not tell me what to write and how to write it. That’s my job.

    The interesting thing about this relationship between me, the tavern and Matt is that if Matt starts telling me what to write, how to write it, etc, then the Tavern will fail. I’ve already proven in the past 4 years that I know what I’m doing, it’s just that I ran out of money and time. That’s not an issue anymore. Now that I have both, I have been put into a position to accomplish my goal of turning WPTavern into a large, friendly community of both new WordPress users and enthusiasts.

    • http://scottkclark.com/ Scott Kingsley Clark

      Oh wow, that’s awesome Jeffro! Way to go to you and Matt, definitely a better situation than I could have hoped for! I bet you’re so excited!

      • http://www.wptavern.com Jeffro

        You bet I’m excited. I’ve been given an opportunity to accomplish the goal I set 4 years ago. I was well on my my to accomplishing it in 2010 as the Tavern forum, WordPress Weekly and the site itself was really in it’s prime. As I mentioned though, time and money ran out and we can all see what happened after that. Many people in the Tavern community spoke up about the idea of Matt hiring me to become an Automattic employee, in fact, that forum thread is located here.

        http://www.wptavern.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1385

        At the time, I mentioned that it wouldn’t be a good combination because that would definitely be a conflict of interest, as Chip pointed out. I felt much better being independent than financially backed at the time. The scenario that has played out with Audrey is the next best thing. If you look at Audrey co and see who some of the employees are, it’s easy to connect the dots of how Audrey co is furthering the WordPress project and ecosystem. Through Matt’s personal investment/research company, he is offering some of the brightest, passionate WordPress minds an opportunity to WordPress full-time and every user is benefiting from it.

        • http://www.chipbennett.net/ Chip Bennett

          Actually, I said that having you on the Automattic payroll would be counter-productive to your ability to remain independent. :)

          But like I said on the previous WPDaily post: this was all Much Ado About Nothing, regardless of the identity of the then-mystery owner. Anyone who has interacted with you would never question your objectivity or honesty.

    • http://mattreport.com Matt

      Tremendous!

      Maybe we should sync up and talk about this journey :)

      • http://www.wptavern.com Jeffro

        I’d be more than happy too, let’s schedule something for early June.

  • http://scottkclark.com/ Scott Kingsley Clark

    I thought it would be Matt, and I’m super glad it was. Because if anyone was going to help these guys out, there’s no greater validation than for it to be Matt.

    I’m excited to see WP Tavern revived, and more importantly that Jeffro is back at the helm. It’s now perfectly clear that while there is a conflict of interest in terms of the operation, Matt’s heart is true and there is no reason to not trust that he aims for a fair and accurate picture here. He’s helped many people in the community, including me, to further the WordPress ecosystem and advance the project. Not just for himself or his company, not just for money, but he’s literally a fanatic for an open web and an all-around good person.

    I hope that this experiment ends up rolling into a project that can revitalize the dead WP Planet feed with some better curation and community involvement. I have high hopes for this and I’m glad Matt is the wizard in the hat.

    The only thing I can fault Matt for is the food photos he posts all the time, I just lose my sh*t when I see the Mac and Cheese or BBQ plates that he posts! :)

    • http://scottkclark.com/ Scott Kingsley Clark

      And Jeffro just clarified, there is no actual conflict of interest here, Matt has done the right thing as we all have come to expect. Jeffro’s post above is actually really exciting, better than I had hoped even.

    • http://scottkclark.com/ Scott Kingsley Clark

      Just replying to subscribe to the comments on the post, no handy link around

  • http://fooplugins.com Adam W. Warner

    I said it on the other thread, but I need to say it again here…quite simply congratulations to both you and Matt for finding a way. I have no doubt that your objectivity will continue as always…

  • http://www.bobwp.com Bob Dunn

    Heck I go on vacation for a few days, off social media, and see what surfaces :)

    But seriously I think this is great. Sounds like some real thought has gone behind this decision and it’s a chance for Jeff to keep WPTavern alive and well. It will be a continued resource for all of us and we do have the choice. Myself, your feed is still and will remain in my Feeder :)

  • http://www.wpstuffs.com Vivek R

    Great news struck..Good to know Matt backing best WordPress resources outside Automattic

  • http://twitter.com/andymci Andy M.

    Caught wind of this through some of the (unnecessary) controversy being stirred up on other blogs. It definitely feels like Mullenweg has stepped in to save a community asset from being lost.

    • http://john.do/ John Saddington

      what source?

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