WordPress.com: Proud Sponsor of an Event Near You

The WordPress.com Blog

We kicked off 2013 with a mission to sponsor, attend, and speak at some of the world’s most exciting blogging and technology conferences. We wanted to connect with you — our users — by making our team available for live questions and support. And we’re always excited to hear more about all the innovative ways you are using WordPress. Today, we’re happy to report that we accomplished this goal.

Going global in 2013

Over the course of last year we sponsored thirty-four events in twenty-five cities across eight countries. At many of these events we programmed a hands-on workshop, led a session, or contributed to a panel. Throughout the year we met a diverse group of bloggers, designers, and developers who share our interest in making the web a better place. We had an amazing time.

With great conferences comes great swag. With great conferences comes great swag.

Our 2013 events lineup started with the Modern…

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Automattic Happiness

This post is likely going to be too cheesy for most, but those who really know me recognize that I have a tendency to lean this way anyway. :) Also, I’m not the most eloquent person in the world, so bear with me as I attempt to organize my thoughts/feelings into a coherent, digestible format. Here goes!

Since I started at Automattic ~5 months ago, I’ve been bitten by some sort of wonderful bug. I’ve been reinvigorated — I want to see and experience everything. I feel motivated, intellectually stimulated, exhilarated, and unencumbered.

Chicken or the egg, right? Maybe I shrugged off some extra weight I’d been carrying around from my old company/job. Maybe I’m in a good place in my life. …Or maybe it’s just Automattic happiness. Here’s why I think much of what I’m feeling can be attributed to the latter:

  • My hours and time zone don’t matter since we have ~215 employees across 28-29 countries, so as long as I get my work done, I can work whenever it makes sense for me. This. Is. HUGE. My work schedule accommodates me, not the other way around. If I need to go to the doctor, accommodate a long lunch, pick someone up from the airport, or just hit the gym during off-peak hours, I can — no questions asked. If all of a sudden I’m not feeling well, I can take a break and pick back up later. Alternatively, if I’m really in the zone, I can work until 3am and then sleep in, not having to worry about speculating officemates. Nothing is forced. Inspiration, productivity, health, happiness, and life in general come much easier this way.
  • I can work from anywhere that has a decent internet connection. Seriously, anywhere. A couple of my coworkers are currently living a nomadic lifestyle, traveling wherever and whenever they see fit. For me, anywhere usually means my living room or our office (which is way too awesome for “office” to be the right word), but the fact that I can travel or move wherever I want is both immensely liberating and comforting. Sure, it’s fun to travel, but it’s nice to know that if my family ever needed me for anything, I could physically be there to support them without stressing about how it’ll affect my team.
  • Principles with which I have been indoctrinated no longer apply. I’ve worked with some brilliant and talented people, and was often taught to handle issues the way I’m “supposed” to handle them — usually in the interest of the company for which I work. But there’s no assumed way of doing things any more. This has been the hardest for me to adjust to because I’ve been trained so well to always CYA, but I’m getting there. Automattic is refreshingly pro-user, and we do what we think is right (within normal constraints of course).

This freedom and flexibility at both micro and macro levels permeates into everything. Suddenly, nothing is crazy and everything is in the realm of possibility. Yes, I know how ridiculous and new agey I sound, but you have no idea what an impact this can have until you get a taste.

Last, but certainly not least, my team is delightful and eclectic — compromised of scientists, artists, and everything in between from all around the world. I was fortunate enough to meet most of them during an all-company retreat in September. Not only are they terrific coworkers, but they’ve also done and continue to do incredible things outside of work. Their passion and curiosity is very infectious. Thanks to them and Automattic, I’ve been exposed to new books, music, places, cultures, experiences, challenges, motivations… I could go on forever.

I don’t know how someone as ordinary as I am ended up amongst this extraordinary group, but I’m grateful. Even on days where I doubt myself and my work severely, I’m happy because I know that I’m learning and growing tremendously. If any Automatticians are reading, thank you for your part in this! I wish everyone could live and work this way.

The Automattic family

The Automattic family

A coworker snapped this photo of me because he said I looked "so Automattic." Quite the compliment, IMO. :)

A coworker snapped this photo of me because he said I looked “so Automattic.” Quite the compliment, IMO. :)

Five Years

Today marks my five year anniversary with Ning.

I joined the team bright-eyed and bushy-tailed two weeks after I graduated from college. Working ~70 hours/week for the first couple of months, I dove headfirst into the world of tech, support, and policy. I loved the role, the people, and the product, but I was scared, exhausted, and overwhelmed. My desire to always get everything done was in direct conflict with the fact that customer service work is never finished. That compounded with the sensitive nature of my work resulted in lots and lots of stress during my first two years.

And then we were hit with the layoff. For many of us, it was our first. We were sad, confused, and fearful. How did we get here? What does this mean for the company? Why did he/she have to go and I get to stay? It was a pivotal moment for me — I took a step back to reflect and make some changes. I knew I’d be a better employee.manager.daughter.sister.girlfriend.friend.person if I found a healthier balance. I won’t go into details, but so far, so good.

All in all, it’s been a hell of a ride, what with reporting to nine different managers — seven of them in a two-year period (shout out to Athena, Phil, Alex, Erin, Laura, Jill, Bob, John and Jon), four office moves, multiple rounds of layoffs, many policy changes, different product and business model directions, and an acquisition. I am tremendously grateful for my experience with Ning and the amazing team. We shared in countless triumphs and failures, both professional and personal. I’ve seen coworkers get married, have kids, get divorced, change gender identities, and pass away. I’ve met friends that will be life-long. For these reasons and many more, Ning and team will always be near and dear to my heart. Thank you all for everything.

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(I tried to include as many wonderful moments and people as I could — sorry I couldn’t cover them all!)

It’s time for me to move on and let someone else take the policy reins at Ning. I’m thrilled to embark on my next adventure with Automattic as Dotcom Protector (rad title, right?!) in just a few weeks. I’m confident that I’ve picked the right place (and people) to spend the foreseeable future with. Here’s to the next adventure!

I will never stop learning. / I won’t just work on things that are assigned to me. / I know there’s no such thing as a status quo. / I will build our business sustainably through passionate and loyal customers. / I will never pass up an opportunity to help out a colleague, and I’ll remember the days before I knew everything. / I am more motivated by impact than money, and I know that Open Source is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation. / I will communicate as much as possible, because it’s the oxygen of a distributed company. / I am in a marathon, not a sprint, and no matter how far away the goal is, the only way to get there is by putting one foot in front of another every day. / Given time, there is no problem that’s insurmountable.

(The Automattic Creed)