The Transparency Report

Our first transparency report has been published! #nerdingout

The 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)


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.

It’s Not Shit.

A friend shared this post by Julie Zhuo today and I love it. My favorite portions (which I know is most of her already short post):

Where is the empathy? That meeting was not scheduled for the sole purpose of wasting your time. Executives do not sit at their desks stroking hairless cats, murmuring Yes, Percival, yes… We’ll stun them with a decision so bad, so unfathomably awful they won’t know what hit them!

Now, clearly, some things are a better use of your time than others. Some people’s opinions you’ll weigh more heavily. You won’t always agree with all the feedback you get, and progress won’t always be like a puck sailing over smooth ice.

Take a deep breath. It’s not Shit. It’s the energy and chaos and spirit of People Doing what they Honestly Believe is the Best Thing They Could Be Doing. It’s trying and sometimes failing and learning in the process. It’s not perfect but what person or job or life is? Close your eyes and trust.

And if you find you can’t, if it’s simply impossible to muster the belief that you’re not surrounded by shit, then maybe it’s time to seek greener pastures. Because why on earth would you insist on staying somewhere that rains feces all the time?

Who hasn’t been on both the giving and receiving end of perceived shit at one time or another? Given the nature of my work, I often feel like I’m on the giving end of  it. Those in the legal/policy/safety space often have a bad rap, and I get it. However, while it might suck to have to spend a bit more time than intended hammering out the details of a feature, I promise it’s for good reason. If it didn’t matter, we wouldn’t bother. Usually we’re looking out for the product and its users (preventing abuse) as well as the company (mitigating risk). Bottom line: it’s important to remember that we’re all part of the same team with the shared goal of kicking ass!