We announced a few weeks ago that we decided to bring our amazing event series PandoMonthly to New York. And I’m thrilled to announce that our first guest is a man whose company we rely on pretty heavily here at PandoDaily: Matt Mullenweg.
The event is Thursday, May 24, at 6:00pm. Tickets are on sale here now!
Mullenweg started WordPress as a project in 2004, and its road has been anything but conventional. It has a bizarre structure, as Mullenweg is one of those rare guys whose sole focus isn’t building a $1 billion company. He’s turned down acquisition offers that could have made him rich, and has historically had a Craigslist-like resistance to maximizing revenues. That’s starting to change revenue is doubling annually, and WordPress has bulked up on “grown ups” including a new CFO and chief counsel.
Will a new more businessy WordPress retain its street cred? The company’s hippy past created sort of a cult around WordPress throughout the world. There is on average one WordCamp somewhere in the world every week. Mullenweg travels to many of them where he’s frequently greeted like a rosy-cheeked, wavy-haired deity.
The company powers more than 15 percent of the Web and more than seventy million blogs, including nearly half of the top 100 blogs in the world. And yet, as a company, it’s fairly modest in size. It’s raised just $30 million or so in venture capital, brings in a reported $50 million or so in annual revenues and employs just over 100 people. A lot of companies claim to be motivated purely by mission — WordPress actually lives that rhetoric.
We’ll talk about how a 19-year-old Texas boy wound up creating the default content management system for old media and new media alike, and whether he’s under threat from new, sexier systems like New York’s own SquareSpace.
Mullenweg splits his time between San Francisco and New York these days, so we thought he’d be an ideal first guest as we start to branch out to the Big Apple. I’ll be curious to hear what he has to say about the cultural differences between the two scenes and which one he feels more at home in. Mullenweg is quirky and funny, and I’m sure this will be a great conversation.
The event will be held at the School of the Visual Arts Beatrice Theatre located at 333 West 23rd Street. We had a last minute scramble for a venue, and appreciate the School of Visual Arts being so accommodating.
In addition to Matt, we’ve got a great lineup of guests planned for the next few months in New York, which we’ll be telling you more about in the future. I’m really excited to have an excuse to fly to the world’s second largest tech ecosystem every month. It’s obvious that something major is happening in New York’s tech scene, and I believe over the next year we will start to see some big exits back up all the hype.
The goal of PandoMonthly is to give first time entrepreneurs a place to go every month and get beer and pizza, meet other entrepreneurs, and hear a great conversation with someone fascinating from the industry. They’ve been hugely popular in San Francisco, and as a media property we get a lot out of it too. We get to meet up and coming entrepreneurs, and we get a candid, intimate conversation with a thought leader that makes amazing video content. I’m excited to showcase the talent in New York to the world via live stream, the way we have with Dave Morin, Peter Thiel, and Dustin Mokovitz from San Francisco.
But I have to confess, I’m a little nervous about expanding PandoMonthly to New York. Not because we can’t find amazing guests and not because there aren’t plenty of entrepreneurs who may want to attend. But because we’re primarily known as a Silicon Valley blog. I know there are a lot of events that go on in New York tech scene every month, and I hope you will find some time in your calendar for us. I promise to make it worth the $20 cost of admission!
A note on tickets: We’ll continue to offer our dual prices of $20 for single tickets and $1000 for a 2012 annual pass. The idea is people with expense accounts subsidize the series so we can keep the price point really low for the entrepreneurs. The annual pass is popular in San Francisco because the general admission tickets tend to sell out in a few hours, and the pass is transferable. At last count, more than fifty companies and venture firms had bought passes to rotate them around to employees or portfolio companies.
I have no idea if the New York event will sell out (I hope so!), so annual passes may make no sense there. But as added inducement, we are allowing all existing annual pass holders to attend the New York events as part of their existing subscription, and we will allow any new annual pass members to get a free monthly ticket to the San Francisco events. You just need to claim your ticket by emailing Oni at PandoDaily dot com. In other words, if you support us with your $1,000 investment, we’ll give you a free ticket in 2012 to any PandoMonthly event anywhere we do one. And since the ticket is transferable, you can gift it to a friend or colleague. It’s just our way of saying thanks for making the event possible and helping us keep the single ticket prices insanely low.
Sponsors help too. If you are interested in sponsoring PandoMonthly, please email Jeanne Logozzo at jlogo (at) earthlink (dot) net.
See you next week New York!
[Image Credit: GigaOm]