Planet Automattic: Bytes from the People who Make WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the biggest blogging platform around, and one of the most visited websites in the world. Yet the team that keeps it running is an intimate group of 224 Automatticians (thinking of joining our ranks? We’re always hiring). Among them are the Code Wranglers at work on our great features, the designers who make sure every pixel in your theme is in its right place, and the Happiness Engineers who work around the clock to solve any issue our users encounter.

Among the people working on WordPress.com, you’ll find marathon runners, home brewers, slam poets, and global nomads (to name a few) — as well as many, many bloggers. What do the people who make blogging possible blog about? Here’s a taste.

Photo by Automattic designer Dan Hauk

Photo by Automattic designer Dan Hauk

Technology and design

It comes as no surprise that people who work on innovative technology also think and write about it — constantly. When the latest version of the WordPress software was released recently, for example, several of those who contributed to it shared their perspective on the process, including designers Matt Thomas and Joen Asmussen.

Other Automatticians write on geek-friendly topics as varied as web safety and problem-solving; Design Engineer Mel Choyce spent some time earlier this year imagining blog themes for each house on Game of Thrones. Happiness Engineer Paul Ciano gives helpful advice on using technology on his blog, while Growth Engineer Ben Thompson uses his site to share his thoughts on the intersection of technology and culture, like in his recent post on social media.

How we work

One of the most unique aspects of working for Automattic is the company’s distributed model: employees work from wherever in the world they happen to be (or wanted to move to). The transition into this new type of environment, and its effects on how work is done, is something on which many Automatticians reflect.

“I live in the future. My work environment is contained within a computer screen, and I can put that screen anywhere I want.”

This observation by Code Wrangler Jason Munro sums up what many here feel.

BBQ -- an Automattic obsession -- as captured by data wrangler Marcus Kazmierczak

BBQ — an Automattic obsession — as captured by Data Wrangler Marcus Kazmierczak

The challenges and rewards of working in a non-traditional workplace is a common theme in Automatticians’ blogs. Mobile Wrangler Aaron Douglas shared his thoughts on coping with ADHD in his work, while Happiness Engineer Alx Block devoted a blog post to his experience since joining the company, and how it has transformed his notion of customer support. He concluded:

Just because I couldn’t previously accept the word support for what it is, doesn’t mean that I don’t identify as support. This word has taken on new meaning for me, and it’s a positive switch.

Also on the Happiness team, Zandy Ring wrote on the women of Automattic (and women in technology more broadly), and her own path toward finding a fulfilling job. She gave this inspiring advice to others who might doubt their skills:

Let yourself be the best in the world at what you want to do. Don’t give yourself an artificial constraint based on insecurities that don’t exist outside your own mind.

Taking a step back, the head of the Happiness team, Andrew Spittle, recently reflected on the challenges and rewards of providing customer support to millions of WordPress.com users with colleagues spread around the world.

Of course, being distributed globally comes with its own perks: several times a year, Automatticians meet their coworkers in locations like Puerto Rico and Vietnam. Their blogs are all the more interesting to read for it.

Beyond the screen

Like many WordPress.com bloggers, Automatticians devote most of their writing to the people, activities, and places they’re most passionate about. As the images in this post demonstrate, we have no shortage of photography lovers, including Automattic’s very own founder, Matt Mullenweg.

Picture by Happiness engineer Jerry Bates

Picture by Happiness Engineer Jerry Bates

Photography is far from the only topic Automatticians explore on their blogs. If you ever need inspiration for WordPress-themed swag, Happiness Engineer Nick Hamze‘s blog is the place to be. Our resident gamers share their views and tips on their blogs, while Code Wrangler Payton Swick writes about his longstanding love for tea.

There is no shortage of food lovers, either, though few write about it and photograph it quite as well as Theme Wrangler Michael Cain and his partner, Meredith. For frequent literary detours, coder (and man of letters) Daryl Houston’s blog will satisfy any bookworm. Finally, proving that it’s never too late to start blogging, Happiness Engineer Kathryn Presner has finally taken the plunge and started her first blog — after years of helping others build theirs.

If this merry band of cosmopolitan polymaths sounds like a group of people you might get along with, consider joining us — did we mention we’re always hiring?


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Ben Huberman

28 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. bwcarey

    love your ethic, blessings to you all

    Like

  2. Maria M

    Wish all workplaces were as happy and well aligned, enjoy blogging and thank you for your enthusiasm and continued advice.

    Like

  3. Dennis

    Interesting to read some insights. :)

    Like

  4. Deli Lanoux, Ed.D.

    ¡Gracias! Pilamaya! Thank you! Merci beaucoup! Y’all are an amazing bunch! I am ever so grateful for your collective gifts and talents. Kudos!

    Like

  5. seweverythingblog

    Nice to meet you all! Thank you for letting us users into your world — a little bit. Enjoyed this post. Any DIY-ers, crafters and sewing enthusiasts in the bunch??

    Like

    • Ben Huberman

      If you’re interested in DIY/craft/vintage, you’ll love That Gypsy Soul, by Rebecca Collins, an Automattician who works on events and community outreach.

      Like

  6. Niko

    That’s very nice pictures :-) + thank you for your precious work

    Like

  7. Greg Urbano

    Awesome group, Happy Holidays to you guys and girls!!

    Like

  8. M. R.

    No mention of any of the poor bastards who’ve had to look after me during the past two months … maybe they’re off taking a lengthy break, eh? ;-) But I think anyone who works in Support deserves every iota of kudos available: maybe you should set up a regular update on their activities?

    Like

  9. vastlycurious.com

    What a wonderful job description ! Great work and solutions when needed. Happy Holidays !

    Like

  10. Abby

    Happy Christmas you lovely people. My blog has made me a happier person and a nicer mum and wife, and I would not have know how to blog without WordPress and the help you have given me. You are very lucky in the work you do, but then I think we often tend to make our own luck – so cheers to you.

    Like

  11. rjbailey

    Good stuff to know about.

    Like

  12. dliw canis

    We thank you. Truly appreciate the words upon words which are encountered here.

    Like

  13. KnitPickyinPA - Ravelry

    Pretty neat to read and see nuts and bolts from behind the scenes. Happy Holidays to WordPress!

    Like

  14. Karen Dowdall

    Thank you WordPress.com for all you do. Happy Holidays and best wishes for a Wonderful New Year.

    Like

  15. sixdegreesphotography

    What a diverse group of talented people.. Thanks so much for sharing this “behind the scenes” peek at your work place.
    Happy Holidays WordPress !!

    Like

  16. dilmilgaya.com

    Great to meet the backstage performers! Seem like a happy bunch, who love what they do. Truly appreciate WordPress & its contribution to the blogosphere via these Elves. You all need a well deserved rest so….Happy holidays & Merry Christmas to all!

    Like

  17. bubblegummonsters

    Some great quotes within this articles.

    I think blogging is one of the best ways of stepping out of the irrational fear that no one wants to hear what you have to say.

    Like

    • Ben Huberman

      Well said!

      Like

      • sue marquis bishop

        It is great to learn about some of the talented people behind the scenes. Happy holidays to all of you. Thank you for your support all year. Sue
        Womenlivinglifeafter50.com

        Like

  18. passports & visa

    I work for a tech company and also work from home, but I don’t think our semi-distributed workplace is quite this happy! Thanks for providing a glimpse into those who make blogging a little easier for the rest of us!

    Like

  19. Nish

    awesome! Merry Christmas to you all!!

    Like

  20. auntyuta

    Thank you and have a Happy Christmas! Aunty Uta

    Like

  21. Paolo

    Reblogged this on Paolo Belcastro and commented:

    A word about some of the wonderful people I work with.

    Like

  22. ddcuk

    Thanks so much for sharing this “behind the scenes” peek at your work place.
    Happy Holidays WordPress !!

    Like

  23. John S

    You are doing a brilliant job. Makes blogging for people like me incredibly easy. Have a great Christmas and New Year!

    Like

  24. Satusatuen

    nice pic. and Merry Christmas

    Like

  25. ld51550

    Very helpful information and great photos.

    Like

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