Living in a man-made world

Such a choice is possible because of the most fundamental change in Earth history that the Anthropocene marks: the emergence of a form of intelligence that allows new ways of being to be imagined and, through co-operation and innovation, to be achieved. The lessons of science, from Copernicus to Darwin, encourage people to dismiss such special pleading. So do all manner of cultural warnings, from the hubris around which Greek tragedies are built to the lamentation of King David’s preacher: “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity…the Earth abideth for ever…and there is no new thing under the sun.” But the lamentation of vanity can be false modesty. On a planetary scale, intelligence is something genuinely new and powerful. Through the domestication of plants and animals intelligence has remade the living environment. Through industry it has disrupted the key biogeochemical cycles. For good or ill, it will do yet more.
— Oliver Morton, from his Economist essay “The Anthropocene: A man-made world”

WordPress: The Free Software With a Big Economy & How You Can Get Involved

Over at The Next Web, Joel Falconer’s overview of the WordPress economy touches on many topics we’ve talked about over the years here at Automattic. Amazing to see what happens when software, web, and people meet to create a movement.

Perhaps one of the things Mullenweg can be most proud of is that his platform and the economy that has developed around it sustains the livelihood of probably hundreds of families and thousands of people, drawing on a wide range of talent in a loyal, dedicated community. Between theme developers who sell their products on marketplaces like ThemeForest, companies that make WordPress products and employ support staff, product managers, developers, designers, lawyers, accountants and more, and Automattic itself, the reach is huge.

When open source loyalists say that their philosophy can change the world, you only need to look as far as WordPress to see that mantra in action.


/via The Next Web, h/t ma.tt

VaultPress Stories

Since joining Automattic, one of my main responsibilities has been working with an amazing team to build and launch VaultPress.

One of the best parts of delivering a brand new service is hearing back from customers who’ve come to rely on it, which is why we’ve started posting profiles of VaultPress customers to our blog. I love hearing these stories and learning how people came to become serious WordPress publishers.

Check the first three out here:

The Ludicorp Business Philosophy

Ludicorp created Flickr back in the day. Via Kottke.

“Business owners do not normally work for money either. They work for the enjoyment of their competitive skill, in the context of a life where competing skillfully makes sense. The money they earn supports this way of life. The same is true of their businesses. One might think that they view their businesses as nothing more than machines to produce profits, since they do closely monitor their accounts to keep tabs on those profits.

“But this way of thinking replaces the point of the machine’s activity with a diagnostic test of how well it is performing. Normally, one senses whether one is performing skillfully. A basketball player does not need to count baskets to know whether the team as a whole is in flow. Saying that the point of business is to produce profit is like saying that the whole point of playing basketball is to make as many baskets as possible. One could make many more baskets by having no opponent.

“The game and styles of playing the game are what matter because they produce identities people care about. Likewise, a business develops an identity by providing a product or a service to people. To do that it needs capital, and it needs to make a profit, but no more than it needs to have competent employees or customers or any other thing that enables production to take place. None of this is the goal of the activity.”

To which the Ludicorporate added: “The goal is to kick ass.”