Five Minutes with Sendhil Panchadsaram
Do you enjoy on-the-go blogging from your iPhone and iPad? Meet Sendhil Panchadsaram, a mobile engineer who works on the popular WordPress iOS app.
Every so often, we sit down with an Automattician to help you get to know the people who build new features, keep Automattic’s wheels turning, and make WordPress.com the best it can be. In this installment, we’re delighted to introduce you to movie buff, comics geek, and Mobile Engineer, Sendhil Panchadsaram.
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Hi Sendhil! Tell us a bit about what you do here at Automattic.
You’re a Microsoft alumnus. How did you find your way to Automattic?
A friend of mine (and fellow Mobile Team member Dan Roundhill) had encouraged me to apply in 2012. He told me that Automattic was looking to grow their Mobile Team and he thought I’d be a good fit. At the time I politely declined because I was working at a startup. About a year later the startup came to an end and I gave him a call…
What do you like most about developing the WordPress iOS app?
The biggest highlight for me is that I get to work on an app that’s used by so many people out there in the world. One of the coolest things for me was when I was talking to someone I just met and they mentioned that they had the app on their phone and they were a user.
Another highlight is being on a team of people who are extremely talented and devoted to the app and to our users, and who also happen to produce great work. It’s fun to go back and check out the work my co-workers have done — I always learn something new from them.
How’s life as an Automattician been so far?
I love the culture here — the fact that Automattic is a company that is incredibly flexible, and trusts its employees to get their jobs done wherever and whenever we want. I didn’t realize how much I would appreciate being able to work where I want and when I want, but now, after having done it for a year, I absolutely love it. It’s so nice to be able to schedule work around my life, rather than the other way around.
How do you structure your day, given this flexibility?
A “typical” workday for me starts by checking Skype to see if anything urgent came up or needs to be addressed right away. We don’t really use email all that much at Automattic as we’re huge fans of internal blogs we call P2s, but I’ve set up my P2s to be delivered to my inbox to make it easier to keep track of what I’ve seen.
It’s so nice to be able to schedule work around my life, rather than the other way around.
After dealing with email I’ll usually check our GitHub repo for any interesting activity. Sometimes I’ll chime in on certain issues, re-arrange issues across milestones depending on where we are in a release, or review some code. After this I’ll usually start to tackle some of the open issues for the current release myself and do that for a few hours.
During the day different things will come up that will alter my routine. Sometimes it’s a co-worker wanting to chat about an issue, or user requests for help. Other times it’s our team chat getting really interesting.
What would you say is the most unique thing about working here?
I’d have to say our meetups. Every team at Automattic will have a few meetups a year where the team will fly out to a location picked by the team to work on projects together for the week. It’s always fun to me that people who haven’t seen each other in a few months can land in a foreign destination, pick up right where they’d left off, have a blast, and enjoy each other’s company — all while at the same time being productive.
To me, it’s always been cool that Automatticians look forward to interacting with their co-workers around the globe. Whenever I travel around to different cities I always like to look up other Automatticians nearby, and will try to meet up with them — it’s fun every time.
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