Matt Mullenweg on Polyphasic Sleep, Tequila, and Building Billion-Dollar Companies (#61)


Matt Mullenweg has been named one of PC World’s Top 50 People on the Web,’s 30 under 30, and Business Week’s 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

In this episode, I attempt to get him drunk on tequila and make him curse.

Matt is most associated with a tool that powers more than 22% of the entire web: WordPress. Even if you aren’t into tech, there are many pages of “holy shit!” tips and resources in this episode.

Matt is a phenom of hyper-productivity and does A LOT with very little. But how? This conversation shares his best tools and tricks. From polyphasic sleep to Dvorak and looping music for flow, there’s something for everyone.

Last but not least, Matt is also the CEO of Automattic, which is valued at $1-billion+ and has a fully distributed team of 300+ employees around the world. I’m honored to be an advisor, and I’ve seen how they use incredibly unorthodox methods for jaw-dropping results.

But… he started off as a BBQ-chomping Texas boy with no aspirations of empire building. How on earth did get here? Just listen and find out. It’s one hell of a story.

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

Ep 61: The Benevolent Dictator of the Internet, Matt Mullenweg


This episode is sponsored by OnnitI have used Onnit products for years. If you look in my kitchen or in my garage you will find Alpha BRAIN, chewable melatonin (for resetting my clock while traveling), kettlebells, maces, battle ropes, and steel clubs. It sounds like a torture chamber, and it basically is. A torture chamber for self-improvement! Ah, the lovely pain. To see a list of my favorite pills, potions, and heavy tools, click here.

This podcast is also brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. Did you know I used 99Designs to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body? Here are some of the impressive results.  Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade.  Give it a test run..

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What’s the best productivity tip or tool you’ve implemented in the last year? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…


Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • How WordPress started | The origin story
  • Defining “open source”
  • How WordPress beat their competition and how to beat the complicate-to-profit business model
  • The long term outlook and core product characteristics that has empowered the growth of WordPress
  • Describing Automattic, and how it was founded with a purpose to kill spam
  • Experiments in polyphasic sleep, girlfriend complexities, and Dvorak typing
  • How is Automattic differs from the average tech startup, and challenges of a distributed workforce
  • Thoughts on where to draw the transparency line when running an open-source company
  • Delving into the secret benefits of tequila
  • Matt Mullenweg’s useful laptop and smartphone apps
  • Turning it around on Tim: Intermittent fasting and distilled water fasting?
  • Overworking vices, creating “de-loading” phases and saying “no” to meetings
  • Why we don’t care about the color of the bike shed
  • Musical skills that support coding and other leadership skills
  • Why Matt listens to familiar songs on loop when working
  • Hiring tips: Auditions at Automattic, why use them, and how they work
  • Matt’s view on top-grading
  • Most gifted books
  • Learning to love running
  • Answering Twitter questions: Bootstrapping vs. seed money if starting in 2015, picking a badass suit and last great purchase for less than $100
  • Packing tips
  • The story of losing an investor’s check (nearly a $400,000 mistake)
  • The story behind eating 104 Chicken McNuggets
  • First person to come to mind when you think “successful”?
  • Suggested investing books
  • The role WordPress will play in online content outside the browser (mobile apps, API, etc.) in the near future
  • Books and resources for the 20-year old entrepreneur looking to start a company
  • Stranded on a desert island? Albums and what else?
  • Advice for your 20-year old self?

People Mentioned

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 600 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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