EP #04 – Toni Schneider (Fmr. CEO, Automattic | Co-Founder & Partner, True Ventures) – Swisspreneur




  • 03:00 – Growing up in Switzerland
  • 04:11 – College in the US
  • 08:17 – His advice to Swiss students and on the concept of internships
  • 11:34 – What is WordPress.com and its usage stats
  • 13:14 – Starting Automattic
  • 15:46 – How to build a company on open source
  • 17:22 – WordPress’ unique selling proposition (USP)
  • 19:18 – Automattic’s business model
  • 22:40 – Scaling Automattic with a distributed team
  • 28:11 – Communicating with a distributed team
  • 29:01 – How Automattic does meetings
  • 31:30 – CEO transition and starting tinker team
  • 36:20 – Taking a long-term view for your startup
  • 39:07 – Can you build an Automattic in Switzerland?
  • 41:29 – San Francisco’s appeal for startups
  • 44:18 – Loneliness as startup CEO and advice for others
  • 47:28 – Adaptability as a founder/CEO to different growth stages of a startup
  • 51:13 – Creating feedback loops for startup CEOs
  • 54:20 – What Swiss entrepreneurs should focus on
  • 60:10 – Toni’s advice to Swiss investors
  • 61:50 – Advice on being more productive
  • 66:46 – How not to use email in your startup
  • 68:29 – How to get in touch with Toni
  • 70:12 – How to develop a risk-taking mindset as Swiss entrepreneur



Toni Schneider is a founding Partner of True Ventures. From 2006-2014 he was CEO of Automattic where he led WordPress.com to become a top 10 global internet destination with close to a billion monthly visitors. At Automattic, Toni also helped create a new type of startup with over 300 employees working together in an “office optional”, distributed fashion from homes and co-working spaces in over 40 countries. His career in technology began as a software engineer at Crystal River Engineering where he built 3D audio simulators for NASA and a VP of Technology at Aureal Semiconductor (acquired by Creative Labs). He joined the world of startups as the co-founder of Uplister, a venture-backed music recommendation startup in early 2000. It was his role as CEO of Oddpost, however, that may have impacted his career path most significantly. Yahoo! acquired Oddpost in 2004, which formed the basis of the new Yahoo! Mail used by over 250 million people around the world. Toni joined Yahoo! as a VP and created the Yahoo! Developer Network. While at True and Automattic, he also found time to co-found Sphere (acquired by AOL) with Tony Conrad. Voted startup CEO of the Year at the 2007 Crunchies, Toni’s leadership style is commended by many of those who have worked for or with him. When he is not running a company or advising another, you can find him in his VW van crossing the US with his family, coaching San Francisco Little League baseball, or tinkering with old cars.

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