I’m proud to announce that, as of today, I am now working full-time for Automattic, the makers of WordPress.com, the Jetpack plugin for WordPress.org sites, Akismet, Gravatar, and more, as well as a major contributor to the self-hosted WordPress.org software and related open-source projects.
I can’t begin to express my excitement about joining the team of the amazing folks I’ve worked with for the last six weeks while under contract and am excited about the great things in the works.
While the idea has been floating for some time now, the first conversation about joining the team didn’t occur until March. In the months between then and now, plenty of digital ink was spilled on Skype about hiring me on, until finally a trial contract was offered at the end of May.
When the trial started, I was deeply impressed by the sincerity of mission obviously seen working with Automatticians and overwhelmed by the welcome.
The mission statement on the Automattic homepage, “We are passionate about making the web a better place“, is not a maxim passed down from corporate overlords and beat into apathetic clock-punching employees. No, it is evident that they care about web publishing and about reducing and eliminating the technical barriers to allow anyone—from a stay-at-home mom writing in the late night hours to one of the largest cable news channels—to publish their words for the world.
My title at Automattic is “Happiness Engineer”. It sounds cute. I didn’t like the idea of it at first. I mean, what the hell? If you’re going to “do support”, just call it that, for crying out loud.
At Automattic, we truly are trying to engineer happiness. Sure, there are plenty of times it is a simple interaction. A basic question with a simple answer. “Do this here.” “To do this, you can do this or that.”
Fairly often, much more than I expected, the role is not about providing support for an Automattic product, per se, but about the bigger picture. The mom trying to help her daughter start a blog because she’s in a writing phase and wants to encourage it. The small business that has been a dream for many years publishing their first website in the weeks before Grand Opening and being unsure about the best practices for their site. The recent college grad who is a little wayward and is chronicling a sweet six-month travel-to-everywhere adventure in search of herself.
I could simply fix their problems. Give them the answer. Change the settings for them. It’s more than that. It’s joining them and doing whatever we can to make publishing online easier and better for them.
Truly, it goes far beyond the interaction with users. How can we improve the processes in place to solve issues before they start? What tweaks could we make to help a new user learn WordPress? Is there someway that this improvement on WordPress.com can help those using WordPress.org as many make the transition to the “next stage” of their site?
Working at Automattic is a dream come true. I like being a know-it-all in the first place and love sharing what I know with others, but now I’m being paid to teach others, to share my knowledge, to help , and to improve WordPress. What could get better than that?
Sound like fun? Automattic is hiring for a whole slew of positions. Check it out.