An Automattic Decade

Ten years ago I left SVSU and started working for Automattic. I still remember discussing the risks of joining a startup with my parents. I think I made the right choice. đŸ˜‰

March 13, 2008

  • 22 employees
  • 1 former Automattician
  • I was hire #23
  • 3 Happiness Engineers
  • 9,725 commits on WordPress.com

March 13, 2018

  • 700 employees
  • 138 former Automatticians
  • I’m #15 in tenure
  • 264 people in our Happiness division
  • 171,566 commits on WordPress.com

Here’s a photo from the 2008 Grand Meetup, in Breckenridge, Colorado. Exactly half of the people in this photo no longer work with us.

breckenridge-gm.jpg

Here’s the photo from the 2017 Grand Meetup in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada.

2017-a8c-gm.jpeg

A lot has changed and I’m excited to see what happens in the next decade.

7 Years with Great People

Today marks the start of my 8th year with Automattic. When I started on March 13, 2008 I joined a group of 20 great people and I still work with 15 of them.

Some friends and family questioned leaving a stable job at SVSU for a startup based out of San Francisco. During the hiring process, which took about a month, I spent less than an hour on the phone and never sat face-to-face with anyone from the company. People couldn’t really comprehend this or the fact that I’d work from anywhere I wanted on my own hours. Turned out to be the best decision of my life.

Automattic, which will turn 10 this year, hired the 1st employee on June 20, 2005 and currently has 306 great people around the world. If you’re a great person and want to make the web a better place, come work with us.

Chart of Automattic employee counts
Automattic Employees

From SVSU to Automattic

I started attending Saginaw Valley State University in 1998. A year and a half later, I got a job in the IT Services Support Center as a Student Technician. In 2002 I was hired as a Help Desk Analyst and graduated with my Bachelor’s a few months later. A little over a year ago I took a job as Microlab Technology Specialist. After nearly 10 years, Wednesday was my last day working for SVSU.

During my time with the school, I made a lot of friends and gained great experience. I’m sad to leave the people and a place that has been good for me, but I’m happy to be moving onto something new.

For the past 6 weeks, whenever I wasn’t at SVSU, I was working for Automattic. Thursday was my first day as Happiness Engineer for the company. My main focus is to provide support for WordPress.com but I also get my hands a little dirty with WordPress and other things. Automattic is a young company with a bright future. I’m thrilled to join a very talented team.

How did this come about?

Late in 2003 I was looking for some software to run a blog. I landed at Photo Matt and liked the way the site was setup, so I shot Matt an email. He suggested I give WordPress a try and I’ve been using it ever since. Over the years, I’ve contacted Matt a few times and earlier this year at the MacWorld WordPress meetup I had a chance to meet him in person. A week later I was browsing around the Automattic web site and noticed some jobs openings, so I applied. Now here I am…it’s my job to work with WordPress. Somebody pinch me!

Find Your True Calling

I believe that everyone has a common goal in life. We all want to find our true calling and end up doing that for a career. Every human being has that one thing that puts us in “the zone.” The hard part is finding out what that is.

Athletes thrive on competition, doctors live for saving people’s lives, and teachers love seeing a student’s face when they learn a new concept. Everyone has their own thing and some people even have a few things. It is important to find this calling, because then work seems like play. Going to work never really seems so bad compared to if you’ve ever had a job that you didn’t like.

A few years ago when I was taking classes for my CS degree, I found my calling. I absolutely love computer programming. I never had problems getting assignments completed on time for my CS classes, because I enjoyed doing them. It never really seemed like homework to me. For some reason, I always did my best work late at night when no one is around. I guess that is partly due to the fact that interruptions can really impede your thought processes when working on a computer program. Everything flows in a series of logical steps (for programming) and if that thought process is broken, you usually have to start over.

I’m a very good logical thinker, which helps me tremendously in programming. Another reason that I like it so much is because I get to manipulate the code to get the computer to do what I want it to do. Although it can be extremely frustrating at times, it’s a great feeling when you finally figure out where the problem/glitch was.

I hope to move along in my career path soon and make work fun again.

I’m curious as to what others think of having a true calling. Have you found your calling? What gets you going? What makes you tick?