Josh Wardle

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Josh Wardle
EducationRoyal Holloway, University of London
University of Oregon
Occupation(s)Software engineer, artist, product manager
Known forWordle, Place (Reddit)

Josh Wardle is a Welsh software engineer who developed the viral web-based word game Wordle. The New York Times Company acquired Wordle from Wardle in late January 2022.[1] Wardle lives in Brooklyn, New York.[2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Wardle is from South Wales, and he was brought up on an organic livestock farm in Llanddewi Rhydderch, a small village near Abergavenny.[4][5][6][7]

He attended university at Royal Holloway, University of London and earned a degree in Media Arts.[5] A few years later, he moved to the United States to attend the University of Oregon, where he graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Digital Art.[7]

He has three brothers, one of whom is documentary film maker Tim Wardle, director of the 2018 film Three Identical Strangers.[8][9]


Reddit and Pinterest[edit]

After completing graduate school, Wardle moved to Oakland, California and began working as an artist at Reddit in 2011. He later became one of Reddit's first product managers and served in this position on the community engineering team. As a community engineering product manager, he created popular collaborative experimental projects such as The Button in 2015 and Place in 2017.[2]

He left Reddit for almost two years to work as a software engineer at Pinterest, before returning to Reddit also as a software engineer.[10]


In 2013, while working at Reddit, Wardle made a prototype of word game Wordle, a play on his last name.[3]

In January 2021, he returned to his 2013 prototype to create a word game for his partner, Palak Shah. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he and Shah had played many New York Times games including Spelling Bee, and he wanted to make a new word game that they could play together. Shah played a vital role in the game's development before it went public. She reviewed the 12,000 five-letter words in the English language and narrowed them down to 2,500 commonly-known words that could be used in the daily puzzle.[3]

From January to June 2021, Wardle and Shah played the game in secret.[11] First, Wardle shared the game with his family members before posting it on his website and making it widely available in October 2021.[7] The game had 90 players by 1 November, within a month of Wardle making it public. One month later the game had 300,000 daily players, which rose to two million by the following week.[12] Wordle had no advertisements and Wardle's goal was not to make money. Despite Wordle's success, Wardle did not want operating the game to become his full-time job.[13]

In January 2022, The New York Times Company announced that it had acquired Wordle "for an undisclosed price in the low-seven figures."[1]


Since December 2021, Wardle has been a software engineer at Brooklyn-based art collective MSCHF, which created Lil Nas X's Satan Shoes.[13][14]


  1. ^ a b Tracy, Marc (31 January 2022). "The New York Times Buys Wordle". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2 March 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Josh Wardle - Artist, Product Manager, Engineer". Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  3. ^ a b c Victor, Daniel (3 January 2022). "Wordle Is a Love Story". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  4. ^ Hill, Jonathon (12 January 2022). "The Welsh software engineer who created Wordle for his partner". WalesOnline.
  5. ^ a b "'Incredible': from Wordle's Welsh beginnings to the New York Times". the Guardian. 1 February 2022. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  6. ^ Bannerman, Lucy; Pavia, Will (2 February 2022). "$1m inventor has Wordle at his feet". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  7. ^ a b c "How Wordle's Creator Feels About Selling His Viral Game". Time. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  8. ^ Carey, Matthew (8 August 2019). "'Three Identical Strangers' Director Tim Wardle On His Emmy-Nominated Doc, And Status Of Scripted Version: "It's In Development"". Deadline. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  9. ^ Wardle, Tim (3 January 2022). "@ttwardle Fun seeing my brother's #Wordle game blow up. Ironically, he decided NOT to do all the things you're supposed to do to make a viral hit- like allowing people to play for hours or putting a hyperlink in the sharing function. It works because it's atypical". Twitter. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  10. ^ "Josh Wardle". LinkedIn.
  11. ^ Statt, Nick. "GDC 2022: Wordle creator Josh Wardle on his game's success". Protocol. Retrieved 21 January 2023.
  12. ^ "Infographic: Wordle: Much Ado About Nothing?". Statista Infographics. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  13. ^ a b "A conversation with Josh Wardle, creator of viral hit Wordle". TechCrunch. 12 January 2022. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  14. ^ Pietsch, Bryan (28 March 2021). "Nike Sues Over Unauthorized 'Satan Shoes'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 6 February 2022.