Be Better in Ways That Matter

Listening this week to one of my favorite podcasts – How I Built This with Guy Raz – Matt Mullenweg, Founder & CEO, shared his story about starting WordPress. WordPress, started as a blogging platform, now hosts over 40% of all the world’s websites. Automattic, its parent company, is valued at over $7 billion dollars (with 2,000 employees and basically no offices!)

During the interview, Matt shared a story about posting a news story at CNET (where he was working at the time.) They had gathered a bunch of coders into a room to do a demonstration for uploading a news article. In those days, any article on the web had to be coded first onto a site and then pushed out (more coding) to be published. After all the other coders were asked to publish a news story (which took 20-30 minutes) Matt was asked to do the same. He simply cut and pasted the story into his WordPress website and pushed “publish” – all completed in less than a few minutes.

He said, “the software didn’t do most of the things that their software did, but it was better in ways that mattered.”

Better in ways that mattered.

That phrase has stuck with me all week.

For Matt, it meant that news articles could be published in seconds (think about the beginning of online information and news when radio and TV news were our only sources.) It also meant that it made the internet web creation accessible to the average person – which well, changed everything.

As entrepreneurs and business owners, it’s easy to be driven by perfecting our vision when we really just need to focus on the things that matter. The things that matter for some of my clients include:

  • Understanding why customers really purchase their products and services
  • Looking for and using predictive metrics that influence customer decision making  
  • People quality and satisfaction (employees, customers, vendors)
  • Processes (defined and teachable)
  • Cash Flow and Profitability (sustainable and repeatable)

Just as Matt showed the CNET team, better in ways that mattered was ease and speed of implementation. In that moment, simplicity trumped pretty.

How can you and your team be better in ways that matter?