My colleague Sara just posted the “official” recap post for this year’s VIP Workshop, which I attended and at which I learned quite a bit and had a great time. A quote from the writeup that stood out to me:

We again had some great flash talks from VIP clients and partners, and this year’s presentations included talks from CBS Local, Re/code, USA Today, Digital First Media, BlueHost, The New York Times, Tribune Broadcasting, and Interactive One.

These are all top-notch clients doing amazing things with WordPress and the WordPress.com VIP service, and I get to work with them every day. I love that.

If you want to see my thoughts on the workshop, you can find them here.

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I’ll write more about my week and takeaways from it in a bit, but this is one of the swag pieces we gave to our clients at the WordPress.com VIP Workshop this past week in Napa.

The best preview I can give is that I’m much more motivated to be in a position where the above pictured advice will be useful.

About five years ago, I took a chance and sent in a cover letter and too-thin resumé to the email address jobs@automattic.com. And then I did it twice more over the succeeding months.

A little over four years ago, two gentlemen named Michael Pick and Matt Mullenweg took a chance and gave a guy with entirely the wrong masters degree and who was working in the traditional publishing business two successive interviews and then a trial for helping to manage a thing called WordPress.tv.

A tiny bit over four years ago, Matt took a chance and gave that same guy a full-time offer to join a company that was still small, but growing. I still hadn’t met anyone from the company.

And four years ago today, I started my first day full-time at Automattic, taking a chance and leaving behind that publishing job to join a growing company, work from wherever I wanted, and get paid to work with the software I was increasingly using both inside and outside of work.

In the last four years, Automattic and I have proceeded to take successive chances both on each other and on things in general. It’s been a surreal adventure the whole way and I still have days where I sit down (or stand!) to work and wonder how I got here. I don’t think that feeling will ever go away.

And it’s taken me from working on videos for WordPress.tv, to supporting WordPress.com users in multiple forms, to my current assignment of working with some of the biggest publishers and media companies in the world hosting sites on WordPress.com VIP. (I spent my last trip to New York agape at how many buildings I saw with our clients’ logos on them. It was crazy.)

It’s been four wild years so far. I’ve met some of the most amazing people and formed some pretty great friendships along the way. Automattic is still growing, and it’s still providing me with opportunity to improve myself, learn new things, and stretch my abilities.

So, hey. Four years is a big deal. I’ve worked here longer than anywhere else now.

Here’s to many more years of amazing people, amazing opportunities, and taking chances.

Next week, I’ll be celebrating four years of working at Automattic, which has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional life. One of the perks of reaching your four-year anniversary is being given a MacBook (Air or Pro) model of your choice, with the WordPress logo customized onto the top cover.

As it turns out, the laptops are customized/branded at Colorware, and I asked before ordering mine if I could also have it painted. The answer was yes. :)

I went for a glossy red for the main piece, glossy white for the hinge, and matte black for the top and bottom plates. So far, the consensus is that it’s pretty sweet-looking:

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It even looks pretty boss with the hinge closed, due to the fact that the main plate also covers the sides of the construction:

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Red and white mixed with black has become a bit of a color scheme for me since I started working at Automattic. When you start here, you get a bag with the logo embroidered on it:

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Originally, I’d gone this route because it matched these guys:

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And it happened to match these guys, too:

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But then at some point, it kind of turned into matching this guy/girl, which dawned on me when I bought this:

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That’s of course not the only thing I have that matches the scheme, like my iPad in black with a Product Red case:

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And my 3DS, which is in red and black:

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And my wallet, which is the image of the grandaddy of them all:

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But this new one is my favorite.

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I’ll say more on the actual anniversary, which is next week. :)

In just four more months, I will have been working at Automattic for four years full-time, which is one of those things that feels both like it’s been forever (because it’s such a part of who I am now) and a really short amount of time (because, you know, time flies).

When I started here, I was updating WordPress.tv as often as possible, and being a Happiness Engineer the rest of the time. After about a year of that, I moved to being a Happiness Engineer full-time.

In four years, I’ve done pretty much everything there is to do in Happiness Engineering: I’ve been in our forums, I’ve been answering tickets for WordPress.com and almost every other service we provide, I’ve been in-person at Happiness Bars and doing workshops at WordCamps, and I’ve helped train and welcome several new “classes” of Happiness Engineers to Automattic I’m happy to call colleagues. It’s been a lot of fun being sort of the Happiness Engineering Obi-Wan.

Today is my first day not being a part of that Happiness team. I’m pleased to share that I’m joining the team working on WordPress.com VIP, supporting enterprise and time-sensitive customers with that same dedication to happiness. I’ve been working a rotation with the VIP team for the past two weeks, and it’s been both rewarding and challenging. I’m looking forward to extending this into the next few years.

Matt says often that within Automattic, we should look for new things to do every few years to make sure we’re keeping the mind sharp and learning new things. If the past two weeks are any indication, this is going to be a grand new adventure. It’s wonderful to have team leads who supported this move and teammates old and new who have provided encouragement.

So here’s to new things.

If you think this sounds like a great place to work, it is. And we’re hiring.

My colleague Joen Asmussen writing about the process of shaping the new default theme for WordPress 3.6 (that happens to be powering this blog now):

Designing Twenty Thirteen has been a pretty remarkable experience, mainly because I got to work with such an amazing community. There’s nothing to temper a theme into shape like hundreds of people submitting patches. It’s as much a privilege as it is a learning experience and the design has changed so much since my initial mockups, all for the better. Here’s how it all started.

Joen and the WordPress community have outdone themselves with this one. I find myself saying it every year, but I don’t see how I’ll switch away from this one.

Two things about this:

  1. It was totally awesome and in the dream I was a total badass. Saved the day.
  2. It’s possible that I may have some repressed feelings about that job.

My main man Warren set up a GoPro outside the new Automattic office space in San Francisco as the new sign was placed on the building.

I’m already trying to concoct a reason for me to be in San Francisco so I can see the place and enjoy the new digs. I always enjoyed going to SF and just working from our “home away from home” on Pier 38. The new place looks great and I can’t wait to be there.

I got a bit tired of my workspace a few weeks ago and decided to do something about it. I never really liked having my back to the door (having read Dune, of course), and didn’t think the space was very helpful though it was nice and bright.

Office v.1:

Office v.2:

The biggest change I like is that I got rid of the chair mat I was using that kept shattering every six months and bought a small area rug that’s pinned under the desk and protects the carpet.

I have a couple of Lack shelves for the wall that is now behind my desk but I’m dragging my feet on installing them. I think maybe that’s Office 2.5.

Matt shared on his blog the Automattic Creed, which is how my colleagues and I live and breathe on a daily basis:

I will never stop learning. I won’t just work on things that are assigned to me. I know there’s no such thing as a status quo. I will build our business sustainably through passionate and loyal customers. I will never pass up an opportunity to help out a colleague, and I’ll remember the days before I knew everything. I am more motivated by impact than money, and I know that Open Source is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation. I will communicate as much as possible, because it’s the oxygen of a distributed company. I am in a marathon, not a sprint, and no matter how far away the goal is, the only way to get there is by putting one foot in front of another every day. Given time, there is no problem that’s insurmountable.

Working for with Automattic has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and certainly the best job I’ve ever had. I love what I do and the impact I have in making the experience of WordPress.com users and visitors better each day.

If you’re reading this and think this sounds interesting, maybe you should consider applying.