Four years at Automattic!

Well, you know I love an anniversary. But this is a big one! No, for real this time. After you’ve been at Automattic for four years, you get a new custom laptop with a lit up W (or Jetpack logo, or Automattic logo. I went with the W.) It’ll be a while before I actually get it, since it’s custom made and all that, but it’ll be worth the wait.

And next year is even better – a three month paid sabbatical after five years! I have already started planning how I’m going to use my time (organizing every inch of the house, rocking NICU babies, cooking a lot, you know, the usual.)

I was thinking about how Automattic has changed since I started. We have stats for everything, and I found this one:

You started on 2013-11-18. Of the 632 other Automatticians, 166 (26.3%) started before you, 2 (0.3%) started on the same day, and 464 (73.4%) started after you.

Wow! Yeah, we’ve grown quite a bit in the last four years. (And I hired 38 of those!)

I think there were about 45 Happiness Engineers when I started, and now there are over 200. We hadn’t yet acquired WooCommerce, Calypso wasn’t a thing, heck, we were barely offering live chat to our customers! Now users with the Business plan can upload themes and plugins! (Trust me, this is huge.)

I have traveled to at least 18 cities in the last four years for work – from Dayton to Auckland. I’ve been up mountains and dipped my toes in the sea. I’ve seen the sun rise in Utah and in Spain. Okay, I’ll stop being poetic now.

I’ve met amazing people, made amazing friends, learned so much. I can’t wait to see what the next four years holds.

(Can you find me?)

automattic2017

Oh yeah, and as usual, we’re hiring!

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London and Manchester 2017

How lucky am I? The second time in a year to go to my favorite place on Earth, and this time, no one was barfing all over the Airbnb. (Okay, honestly, nothing could ever beat our trip last Christmas, but that was definitely a low point.)

This trip was for work. My team (the Happiness Hiring team, also known as Athena) met up in London to work on things, and then we went to Manchester for a couple of nights for an event. It was very busy, but what better place to be busy? Plus, we’d just made our three European teammates (Dan, Cécile, and Hannah) travel to Canada for the Grand Meetup, so it was only fair we went to them this time. We’re so kind and generous.

Monday
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Whistler on film

I brought my film camera (the old, beaten up Pentax K1000 that I’ve had since I was about ten) to Whistler, thinking the scenery there would make for much better photos than my backyard. I was sorta right…

I don’t know if the film was not great, or if I wasn’t getting exposure right or what, but these pictures feel a bit muddier and grainier than my last batch. I think the film was ISO400 this time as opposed to ISO200, which would certainly explain the grain. And I bought a new battery in Whistler but somehow the meter kept konking out. So maybe I just need more practice? Better film? A fresher battery? A less beat up camera? (Though this isn’t a hobby I want to invest a ton of money in.)

(None of these photos have been edited digitally in any way. The negatives were scanned for me at the photo lab.)

It’s also interesting to compare these with the photos I took with my phone. Maybe I’m just used to digital photography. I want to argue that the film pictures feel warmer or something, maybe I’m just hopelessly nostalgic or fooling myself.

Film left, iPhone right.

I look at the left photo and it just feels nice, but then I look at the right one and I think “oh yes, that’s much better.”

Who knows? Maybe I just need to try with better film, for a start.

 

Elizabeth, on top of the world!

 

 

Automattic Grand Meetup 2017

Back to Whistler!

And even more gorgeous than last year. The weather was stunning until the last day, and even in the rainy mist it was beautiful. On to the pics!

Day 1: Arrival and the opening party

Checked into hotel, found the view of the pool wasn’t quite as nice as last year, but I’m not complaining.

Look, it’s Bob! Not my big brother! Bob looks like my brother, only with dimples and technically younger than me by a couple of months. (But seriously tho.) Continue reading

Melbourne (before I forget)

Dealing with constant sickness since I got back from Australia means I haven’t been able to finish blogging about it. So without further ado, a recap of our short time in Melbourne.

On the flight from Auckland, Deborah made friends with a Finnish triathlete who lived in San Francisco. She shared our taxi with us to our hotel, the grand old Hotel Windsor. This hotel was cool. It was old and the hallways were hella creepy, but the rooms were updated and very clean. Plus, they had a menu where you could order different types of pillows for your bed. FANCY!

But the long hallways also reminded me uncomfortably of this:

shining.jpg

Right?

More hotel pics:

After we were checked in, I went to go visit Deborah’s room, and from her window I spied a rooftop bar across the street with Pimms umbrellas. SOLD! So we went over there for dinner and a pitcher of Pimms. Continue reading

Auckland time!

Sorry for the delay, have been catching up on work and life and sick kids.

So I left off with us leaving Sydney on Friday. We had breakfast at the airport (Beckett said it was the best eggs benedict she’d ever had) and then got on our flight to Auckland.

You know, when you are flying from Australia to New Zealand, you think “oh, that’ll be an easy jaunt, it’s so close” but then you realize it’s a) not as close as it looks on a globe and b) another country. So the flight was almost four hours but since it was international, we got a meal and wine. Score! (But it also means passport control and customs yet again.)

So anyway, we watched La La Land on the flight, ate some reasonably yummy airline food, drank some New Zealand wine and then landed in Auckland. We got in a cab to get to our airbnb and proceeded to sit in gridlocked traffic for an hour and a half. The traffic was due to torrential rain that was causing…I dunno, flooding? Or just bad driving? In any case, our trip took three times longer than usual so by the time we got to the airbnb, we were tired and missed the speaker dinner.

Welcome to Auckland!

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A few days in Sydney

I really need to be better about blogging more during trips and not saving it all for the end when I get overwhelmed. I also need to remember to set my camera clock to the local time so I don’t have to figure out exactly how many time zones to adjust it afterwards. Especially fun when you have DST starting in one country while you’re gone. (Ultimately I decided life is too short to care if my photos’ data is off by that many hours.)

I apologize for any repeated photos from the last post or social media. And now, let’s start the recap…

I left for Sydney on Sunday, March 5. George and the boys dropped me off at the airport after lunch at Chipotle, and everyone was in high spirits. I had a bit of time to wait, so I was still at the gate when Linus called me, sobbing, and begging me to come home. Well, break my heart, why don’t you? Talk about feeling like the World’s Biggest Jerk. Sigh.

Leaving #nola. #travelmattic #timelapse

A post shared by Pam Kocke (@pyjammy) on

I’m not going to bore you with the details of the next 20+ hours. First I flew to San Francisco, which took 4 hours. Then I waited for Beckett, and we got on the 15 hour flight to Sydney. It was fine. I slept a few hours here and there (which is huge for me, so yay) and I watched a few shitty movies. United can bite me for still having the old movie selection on the plane, so there was nothing I hadn’t seen a zillion times. LAME.

We arrived in Sydney on Tuesday morning, which still doesn’t fail to freak me out a little bit (WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY?!?!?) Getting through security and customs and all that was a piece of cake, though I was pretty upset not to get a single new stamp in my passport during this entire trip. Sad! However, the reason for this appears to be that everything is automated and therefore extremely fast, so I shouldn’t complain too much.

We got a taxi to the hotel, the Metro Hotel on Pitt. It was nice. They held our luggage while we got lunch at a sushi place in a nearby shopping center. I posted a pic on Instagram and it seems as if everyone on earth has been to this exact sushi place. We did a little shopping after, and I got some lipstick that was very appropriately named for my job. (The final interview for everyone applying to work at Automattic is called the Matt Chat. I wrote a little about it here.)

After we were able to check in, we took little naps, then got some dinner from a place down the street. Found a bottle shop for wine, and watched some Australian tv before crashing. (Well, American shows on an Australian tv set.)

The next day we went to find somewhere to get some work done. We ended up (after getting lost and going to the wrong train station) coworking at an adorable cafe on an adorable little side street kind of alley thing in an area called Artarmon with our coworker Kristen. When the cafe closed, Kristen invited us back to her lovely home where we drank her wine, ate her candy, petted her bunnies, and played Ticket to Ride. We are outstanding guests.

That evening, we…ate again? Probably drank a little wine? It was a week ago, now!

The next morning we got up bright and early for a run. Our hotel was not far from a park (Hyde Park?) that connected to another park (?) that led down to the Sydney Opera House and the harbour.

It was such a nice run! It was cool outside and not sunny, and we ended up running 5k (but Beckett only counts running, so including the walking and climbing stairs and stopping to admire the flowers, we actually went a lot further.)

 

It was a great run. After we got back to the hotel, showered, and ate breakfast, we headed to the Zoo. We were determined to see some Australian animals, and since we were sticking to cities, we figured this would be the best way to go about it.

We saw adorable schoolchildren, koalas, kangaroos, lots of snakes that can kill you, and other exotic and deadly and cute creatures.

Later, we made our way across the Harbour Bridge (via train again) and got off in Milsons Point. The view of the Opera House from this vantage point was really spectacular, but we really came across to see Luna Park up close. Kind of nutty. It wasn’t open, sadly.

After lunch, we headed back across the water and did a little shopping and saw a giant fluffy dog and then rested up before our event that evening. We were hosting a little gathering for the local WordPress meetup group, where we chatted about support and hopefully convinced some people there to apply to work at Automattic!

The next morning, we had to pack up our stuff because we were headed to Auckland!

To be continued…