Five minutes with Kathryn Presner
Every couple weeks, we’re sitting down with an Automattician to help you get to know the people who work behind the scenes to build new features, keep Automattic running, and make WordPress.com the best it can be. This week, we’re very pleased to introduce you to Ms. Kathryn Presner. Everybody, say hey to Kathryn!
What’s your role at Automattic?
I love troubleshooting users’ problems and finding solutions — it’s incredibly satisfying seeing someone go from frustrated and confused to delighted and enlightened. I especially enjoy “seeing the lightbulb go off” when explaining WordPress basics to beginners.
The best part of my day is when a user tells me I’ve totally lived up to my Happiness Engineer designation, which — let’s be honest — has to be one of the best titles in the world!
Tell us about a project you’ve worked on recently.
To introduce myself to my Automattic colleagues from around the world at our company meetup last fall, I prepared a presentation called Foods From Québec You May or May Not Have Heard Of… and why you need to try them at least once. It explored everything from tire sur la neige — hot maple syrup taffy poured over snow and twirled around popsicle sticks — to our most well-known export, poutine: a heart-stopping combination of fries, gravy, and cheese curds. I even brought a giant batch of homemade sucre à la crème* (decadent brown sugar fudge) to give people a real taste of Québec.
What have you learned that you can share with WordPress.com users?
Did you know that many cities around the world hold regular get-togethers where you can meet other WordPress enthusiasts in person? I’ve met some of my closest friends and collaborators that way. Try an online search for your-city-or-town WordPress meetup and see what comes up! Some of these groups also run annual events called WordCamps, where you can spend a jam-packed day or two soaking up WordPress goodness and blogging inspiration among folks who love WordPress as much as you do!
What do you love most about working at Automattic?
Every day I feel utterly lucky to be surrounded — virtually — by the most awesome colleagues in the world: funny, kind, smart, and as passionate as I am about helping people with WordPress.
What do you love to do in your spare time?
Top ten things I’m likely to be doing when I’m not on my computer:
- Cooking or baking delicious food from around the world, from
Moroccan bread to Ethiopian chicken.
- Cavorting with my three crazy cats.
- Trying not to buy more vintage Pyrex mixing bowls at flea markets
and church bazaars (and, who are we kidding, probably failing).
- Exploring obscure mom-and-pop restaurants of every stripe.
- Playing badminton or doing pilates.
- In summer, thinking up new ideas to foil the vegetable-loving
squirrels in my backyard garden.
- In winter, wondering who ever thought colonizing in a city covered in snow five months of the year was a good idea.
- Attending a weekly movie night with friends — we’ve reached #440.
- Watching a play or show put on by Montréal’s small English-language theatre community.
- Traveling to interesting places both close to home and across the world.
*Sucre à la crème is now known around Automattic as the French fudge of the gods. Kathryn is a confectioner par excellence.
Did you know that Automattic is hiring? We want people who are willing to work hard, share their ideas, learn from their colleagues, take initiative to get things done without being told, and those who aren’t afraid to ask questions. Think you fit the bill? Work with us.