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I’ve Gone Automattic

I’m part of this crew now. :)

Yesterday was my first day as a full-time employee of Automattic.

This is extremely exciting for me.

I have been creating and working with Web stuff ever since I first learned about it back in high school. In the mid-90’s, I bought a book, taught myself HTML, and not long after created my first ugly, colored-text-on-black, graphics-heavy, completely unusable Web site on AOL—using TeachText. (It didn’t last long.) Web coding and standards became an important hobby factor in my life all through college and beyond, and even helped pay the bills on occasion.

I started blogging in college, first rolling my own system in ASP (with the help of my roommate and best friend) and later using young services like LiveJournal and then graduating to hosting my own, hopping from software to software for a while. I remember what WordPress was like without themes and plugins. I first started using WordPress for my personal Web site “full-time” in 2003, and have been following its development and using it ever since. I’ve developed Web sites for other people using WordPress. I’ve helped lots of others set up their blogs and learn how to publish for themselves using WordPress.

In short, WordPress has been a big part of my life for years now.

In my last job, I created some learning materials for other employees and for customers, including documentation and a few tutorial videos. I’ve long advocated the use of the Internet—and specifically the WordPress platform—as a tool for building Web sites that serve a community of users and help them to get the most out of the tools and software they are using.

It was only natural upon hearing about the position of Reel Wrangler that submitted my name for consideration and hoped for the best. That was nearly eight months ago.

Days later, I was speaking on the phone with Michael Pick about the job and why I was interested in it. I remember that I had a hard time reserving my enthusiasm. A couple of months later, I began working in the evenings and on the weekends, helping to collect, organize, and publish videos from users and WordCamps around the world on WordPress.tv. That work has been great. I’ve met a lot of really interesting people, seen a lot of great WordCamp sessions as part of the review process, helped a bunch of WordPress users, and have come to know my coworkers at Automattic and learn what it’s like to work with the team. The “trial” of contract work was really fun and the company and I learned whether we were right for each other.

Thankfully, the answer was “yes,” and so on my 30th birthday, I signed an offer for full-time work. Automattic is a “distributed” company, which means that we all work from home and are located all around the world. I’ll be working as a Happiness Engineer; half of the time I will be focusing my efforts on customer care for WordPress.com and other services, and the other half of the time I will be continuing to update and improve WordPress.tv as a visual resource for WordPress.

It’s an interesting change to working from home and being disciplined enough to do that around my four children, but I’m looking forward to the experience and being part of something really, really cool. I have grown to believe in the power and importance of open source software, and to be working with a group of people who live with that kind of ethos is an awesome thing. My fellow Automatticians are a diverse, unique, fun, and supremely intelligent bunch of people and I am fortunate to be working with them.

So yes, it’s been an eventful couple of weeks, and I’m excited to be starting this adventure. I’m sure you’ll hear more.

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Leave a comment:

  1. Congratulations on your new beginning!

    I had completely forgotten about that homebrewed Snitz CMS thing we built. That thing was awesome.

  2. Nice post! Great having you with us, Ryan. It’s been awesome getting to know you, and I’m sure that we’ll be working on a bunch more coolness together in 2010. Looking forward to meeting up too!