Some “personal” news…
Last week, I started work at Automattic, the private company that grew out of the open-source, content management system WordPress. Specifically, I’m joining WordPress VIP, their Enterprise WordPress division, where I will be their first Relationship Manager located in the UK & continental Europe.
WordPress VIP provide consulting, support, hosting, training, and other services to some of the biggest and best WordPress sites for clients like Time Inc., Facebook, TechCrunch and The New York Times.
I’m looking forward to working with many clients in or near my timezone, which currently includes names like Capgemini, News UK and more. Other global brands whose content marketing is powered by WordPress VIP include Microsoft, Airbnb and Capital One.
More widely, Automattic’s products include WordPress.com, Jetpack, WooCommerce and more. Most recently, they acquired the popular social media platform Tumblr.
Automattic is famous for being a completely distributed organisation – there are no offices – and everyone works from home, or another productive location. That also means my application and interview process was conducted completely by video call and Slack chat; I met my first Automatticians last week when they happened to be meeting clients in London.
I now work alone at my desk at home in Manchester, accompanied occasionally by my cat. I do somewhat miss the coffee chats I used to have at my old workplaces, but I’ve found a rhythm that works for me. Via tools like Zoom, Slack and Automattic’s internal blogging platform “P2”, I’ve already had productive conversations with colleagues. And with the choice of almost 6,000 chat emojis, there is literally one for almost every occasion and reaction. I’ve already begun to understand the various memes that define a distributed working culture :lovemustard:
Right now, I’m undertaking a rite-of-passage that is common to every single employee of Automattic: the support rotation. This first three weeks of employment are a structured programme of learning, including how to effectively communicate with over 900 staff around the world and, most crucially, how WordPress VIP handles customer support. Now in my second week of three, I’m actively reading, answering and completing tickets raised by customers of VIP. This will give me both an empathy for, and an insight into how clients use our services and how we support them — which is a critical underpinning for an effective relationship.
Unsurprisingly for a company rooted in blogging, there’s a great deal that’s been written about what it’s like to work at Automattic, how it recruits and the benefits so I won’t repeat those here.
Suffice to say, this is a huge step forward for me and I’m very, very excited about it. I want to thank everyone in my personal and professional life who has helped me get to this point. WordPress VIP is growing and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in with clients. There’s a great deal of experience that I can bring to the role as the Relationship Management team continues to develop.
I’m also really proud to be working at a company that’s so intrinsically linked with the fabric of the web: over 34% of all sites on the web use WordPress. Of sites that use a content management system at all, the market share is over 60%.
Finally, I’d love to talk to you if you have a WordPress project that you’re working on, or if you think you might need the support of VIP. I expect to be travelling frequently between Manchester, London and the continent too, so please do get in touch for a coffee and chat wherever you are.
I hope to connect with you all again very soon.