'

Wordpress all grown up, wins best CMS

Any analyst who tells you anyone in the Internet owns anything, and that ownership is permanent, just isn't living in the real world. Change remains possible. Leaders can be caught.

Matt Mullenweg as a boy
Wordpress, which I had previously considered "just" a blogging engine, has been named the best open source Content Management System for social networking, beating Drupal and Elgg. (Picture from PhotoMatt.)

The Judges commented on "WordPress’s ease of configuration, professional approach, usability and enthusiastic community," awarding the project $2,000.

Wordpress was started by Matt Mullenweg in 2003. He worked for a while at C|Net before founding Automattic, which hosts blogs, runs an anti-spam service called Akismet, and does other cool stuff.

ZDNet runs on WordPress, and I must admit that each new version of the software seems better than what came before. I also use Drupal at Voic.Us and my personal blog runs through Typepad, a hosted version of Movable Type.

The success of WordPress offers some great lessons about the Internet space, which many analysts still refuse to accept. Remember that by 2003  Google had already acquired Blogger. CMS systems like Drupal, Slash and Scoop were already well-established. Why would anyone need another blogging engine, let alone an open source CMS?

Yet just as Google was able to blow by Yahoo, which everyone in the late 1990s thought owned the search space (that's why they expanded and became a portal), WordPress was able to blow by a unit of Google, and in relatively short order. Not to mention all those other competitors, who are not chopped liver. (I do like Typepad and Drupal.)

Any analyst who tells you anyone in the Internet owns anything, and that ownership is permanent, just isn't living in the real world. Change remains possible. Leaders can be caught. If you've got a better mousetrap build it, and if it is better, if you run things right, you can win in the open source marketplace.

One more piece of wisdom. Stay humble.  Mullenweg calls his own blog PhotoMatt, and his announcement of this award was quite brief, a simple, one word celebration. "Yay!" He was unavailable for comment because he's at an event in Argentina, having just acquired Gravatar.

Young man in a hurry in a very small world.