Matt Mullenweg on profits and losses

Matt Mullenweg has written a rare bit of in-depth insight to decision making at Automattic. The framework for his post is for balancing advice from advisors with the goals of the company, and how those things aren't always on the same page.

But it's the internal memo he shares as an example that has the goods. In the example, he shares how Automattic views priorities for business development and managing profits and losses — or rather keeping P&L concerns on top management and on a broad scale, versus burdening employees and team leads with such matters.

… we just want to grow our core metrics and revenue in a healthy and accelerating way, and let Ops and myself worry about overall profit or loss for the company, costs of people and services, capital requirements, etc. Weโ€™re still at a stage where our primary goals are investing in growth and product excellence, I wouldnโ€™t want a P&L concern to be a distraction from that, and that also takes us into the territory of different teams having โ€œheadcountsโ€ of people they can hire for the year, or budgets set ahead of time and that theyโ€™ll lose if they donโ€™t use, zero-sum accounting between teams and more balkanization you often see in larger organizations. When anyone thinks about P&L at Automattic, I want it to be holistically and with a long-term view, not for a single team or product.

The whole post is quite worthwhile, especially as it's a modified version of an internal memo. I gained a handful of insights from this, and it's always interesting to hear Matt's take on traditional startup metrics — as he has a tendencyย to flip them on their heads.

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