Matt Mullenweg — The Art of Crafting a Sabbatical, Tips for Defending Against Hackers, Leveraging Open Source, Thriving in an AI World, and Tips for Life’s Darkest Hours (#713)


Illustration via 99designs

“Companies don’t die from competition. They usually die from suicide.”

— Matt Mullenweg

Matt Mullenweg (@photomatt) is co-founder of the open-source publishing platform WordPress, which now powers over 40 percent of all sites on the web. He is the founder and CEO of Automattic, the company behind WordPress.comWooCommerceTumblrWPVIPDay OneTexts, and Pocket Casts. Additionally, Matt runs Audrey Capital, an investment and research company. He has been recognized for his leadership by ForbesBloomberg BusinessweekInc.TechCrunchFortuneFast CompanyWired, University Philosophical Society, and Vanity Fair.

Matt is originally from Houston, Texas, where he attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and studied jazz saxophone. In his spare time, Matt is an avid photographer. He currently splits his time between Houston and San Francisco.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotifyOvercastPodcast AddictPocket CastsCastboxGoogle PodcastsAmazon Musicor on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube here.

Brought to you by Momentous high-quality supplements, Helix Sleep premium mattresses, and AG1 all-in-one nutritional supplement.

#713: Matt Mullenweg — The Art of Crafting a Sabbatical, Tips for Defending Against Hackers, Leveraging Open Source, Thriving in an AI World, and Tips for Life’s Darkest Hours

This episode is brought to you by AG1! I get asked all the time, “If you could use only one supplement, what would it be?” My answer is usually AG1, my all-in-one nutritional insurance. I recommended it in The 4-Hour Body in 2010 and did not get paid to do so. I do my best with nutrient-dense meals, of course, but AG1 further covers my bases with vitamins, minerals, and whole-food-sourced micronutrients that support gut health and the immune system. 

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Want to hear the episode Matt Mullenweg and I did from Antarctica? Listen to our conversation here in which we discussed whisky, perpetual daylight, living with zero internet access, the “patient” landscape of Antarctica, witnessing a total solar eclipse, the grieving process, podcast tech specs, existential revelations, bucket list items, and much more.

#578: Tim Ferriss and Matt Mullenweg in Antarctica: Exploring Personal Fears, Bucket Lists, Facing Grief, Crafting Life Missions, and Tim’s Best Penguin Impressions

What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.



  • Connect with Matt Mullenweg:

Twitter | Instagram | Blog | Facebook | Spotify


  • [05:12] The Argentine Dr. Mullenweg.
  • [08:15] Open source.
  • [10:19] Secret hiring.
  • [12:59] Matt is always on tour.
  • [15:14] Texts.
  • [17:39] How Matt chooses his next project(s).
  • [21:51] Building a digital Berkshire Hathaway.
  • [29:01] Why Matt’s excited about messaging.
  • [32:03] How Matt discovers companies he buys.
  • [32:53] RIP, Charlie Munger.
  • [33:28] Worthy rereads.
  • [37:10] My reflections on blogging, writing, and podcasting.
  • [48:55] Tyler Cowen’s inimitable style.
  • [49:42] Matt’s high school economics competition.
  • [57:05] Cables.
  • [57:59] AI spellcasting and community.
  • [1:01:09] Developments that will amaze the future.
  • [1:04:51] AI-proofing jobs.
  • [1:07:23] Why Matt’s optimistic about future generations.
  • [1:12:17] Data Liberation Front.
  • [1:14:12] More open app stores.
  • [1:18:53] Invisible tools (and weapons) of competition.
  • [1:23:40] Online security advice for the layman.
  • [1:26:21] WordCamp Asia.
  • [1:32:12] Taking a sa-Matt-ical.
  • [1:45:25] Rethinking nuclear energy.
  • [1:47:20] Rethinking psychedelics risks.
  • [1:57:59] Rethinking breathwork.
  • [2:02:05] Coping with depression.
  • [2:15:16] Rethinking TikTok.
  • [2:16:40] Blogging: absurd and beautiful.
  • [2:18:40] Rethinking Vienna sausages.
  • [2:19:57] Pocket ranch.
  • [2:21:36] Answering ancient emails.
  • [2:22:45] The curse of the ultra-critical eye.
  • [2:25:51] Rethinking meditation.
  • [2:28:38] Bacterial dentistry.
  • [2:32:06] Pocket party.
  • [2:32:55] Parting thoughts.


“Don’t build on proprietary platforms. They can pull the rug and will pull the rug at any point. In open source, one, the rug can’t be pulled. Two, typically they’re ultra pluggable. You can really change every line of WordPress.”
— Matt Mullenweg

“How do we help bend the long arc towards more freedom, more liberty across the world? Technology does that better than, I think, any sort of diplomacy or anything else that I could work on.”
— Matt Mullenweg

“Companies don’t die from competition. They usually die from suicide.”
— Matt Mullenweg

“If you have the people on your side, I feel like that’s what truly matters in the long term.”
— Matt Mullenweg


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for “Best of Apple Podcasts” three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it’s been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.


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