Automattic GM 2017

After 10 days away, I’m home. I’m excited to be with my people here and get back to my routine, but I’m also a little melancholy knowing that I won’t see my coworkers for an entire year, if ever again. (I’ve never been good at goodbyes or finalities.)

I admit that that sounds dark, but it actually makes me very appreciative for the time I do get to spend with them, which is why I do everything I can to make the most of our week together.

Here’s a random, disjointed glimpse of my GM, minus most of the work stuff. Because, well — it’s work. It’s kind of weird to take photos of people in the middle of a meeting or class… though there’s a few of those too. 😀

Gorgeous sights. Face swaps. Surprise doggos. Improvised lobby dance parties. Late-night eats. Catching up 1:1. Prom. Immature jokes. Honest conversations. Peace signs. Homeroom. Twinning. Champagne. Domains. Nodules. Surprise connections.

As someone remarked this week, “You’re really good at burning the candle at both ends.”

 

 

Cheers to my team, and I hope to see you all soon.

 

ICANN Considers Relaxing Domain Registration Privacy; Automattic Objects

Transparency Report

We’ve said it time and time again: user privacy is important to us. We’re vigilant about protecting it on WordPress.com, and we’re always on the lookout, ready to weigh in on policy proposals that might curtail the privacy that we and our users value so highly.

Today, our focus turns to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization responsible for coordinating the internet’s naming system, such as domain names. ICANN is currently considering a proposal that would prohibit many domain owners from using privacy and proxy registration services.

What exactly does this mean? If you’ve ever registered a domain (and millions of you on WordPress.com have), you may have noticed an option to make your personal information, such as your name, address, and phone number, private. This is great for those who want to publish anonymously or those who simply value more privacy. However, ICANN is considering precluding anyone who uses a domain for “commercial” purposes from private…

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A perfect EFF score! We’re proud to have your back.

The WordPress.com Blog

Concerns about online privacy and illicit government snooping are at the top of users’ minds, now more than ever. We appreciate that you trust us to safeguard your sensitive information on WordPress.com, and Automattic has a long-standing commitment to defending your rights and holding firm against legal bullying and over-reaching government requests. We work to have the most stringent, user-friendly policies possible within the law, and to be as transparent as we can about information requests we receive and how we respond to them.

Our friends at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an organization dedicated to defending your digital rights, recognized our efforts in their latest annual Who Has Your Back report, which evaluates the user privacy practices of prominent online service providers. We’re proud to receive a perfect score of five stars on the report, one of only nine (out of 24) companies to earn that honor. You can learn more about EFF’s evaluation criteria

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How Did I Miss This?

I can’t help but love jokes about tech and legal terms. From the “GryzzlBox” episode of Parks and Recreation:

Ron Swanson, with a massive stack of paper: This is the 27th version of the Pawnee-Gryzzl free wireless internet thing agreement. Check out the page I marked.

Ben Wyatt: Yeah, “Gryzzl is not allowed to collect and use customer data for any purpose.” It’s pretty clear. See? 

Ron Swanson: Look closer. Amendment C, addendum 14. It directs you to this appendix, which reroutes you to this one, which says, in a sub-footnote… [hands Ben Wyatt more stacks of paper and a magnifying glass].

Ben: It says here they can gather and use any information they want. …How did I miss this?

Join Us in the Fight For Net Neutrality

The WordPress.com Blog

“Net Neutrality” is the simple but powerful principle that cable and broadband providers must treat all internet traffic equally. Whether you’re loading a blog post on WordPress.com, streaming House of Cards on Netflix, or browsing handcrafted tea cozies on Etsy, your internet provider can’t degrade your connection speed, block sites, or charge a toll based on the content that you’re viewing.

Net neutrality has defined the internet since its inception, and it’s hard to argue with the results: the internet is the most powerful engine of economic growth and free expression in history. Most importantly, the open internet is characterized by companies, products, and ideas that survive or fail depending on their own merit — not on whether they have preferred deals in place with a broadband service provider. Unfortunately, the principle of net neutrality, and the open internet that we know and love, is under attack.

Net Neutrality under…

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The WordPress.com Transparency Report

Our first transparency report has been published! #nerdingout

The WordPress.com Blog

Automattic’s mission is to democratize publishing, and a fully informed citizenry is the foundation of any functioning democracy. Keeping our users and the public fully informed about our policies on responding to government requests has always been important to us — and now, more than ever, candor in this area is vitally important.

In keeping with these principles, we’re pleased to release our first transparency report. This initial report summarizes the number of government information requests, takedown demands, and national security requests that we received during the second half of 2013. In addition to giving our users full transparency about the volume of these requests, we also hope that publicly reporting our data will help hold all parties (including us) accountable.

A few highlights of our report:

Information Requests. For the second half of 2013, approximately 0.0001% of the 48 million sites that we host were subject to a…

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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)

Loyalty

Survey Monkey’s Goldberg on talent and culture. This definitely hits close to home:

There are the people who don’t have any experience but are just really smart, talented, and motivated. When you get those people right, they’re your ‘homegrown talent’, if you will. These people are your farm team. These people are, for the most part, the best people who will stay long term at your company. They’re the carriers of the culture. They grew up there. You took a chance on them. They’ve learned how to be in the business.

Read more at First Round.