End of one era, on to the next

Automattic has claimed ownership of the plugins I worked on during my employment. As such, the VIP team and others will be taking responsibility for their continued development, maintenance, WordPress.org support, etc. Hopefully they remain independent and aren’t rolled into Jetpack. I’ll contribute as relevant to Human Made projects, but will no longer take an active role with the plugins.

These plugins include:

  • Edit Flow
  • Co-Authors Plus
  • Ad Code Manager
  • P2 Resolved Posts
  • Document Feedback
  • Rewrite Rules Inspector
  • Custom JavaScript Editor

Sometimes what appears to be a curse is actually a blessing in disguise. Human Made has pretty neat products in the works that I’m enjoying applying my creative energy towards. Stay tuned for that. And, on the open source side of things, I’ll have more time to contribute to wp-cli.

To everyone who’s used one of the above: it’s been a pleasure working with you. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to do so again in the future.

Automattic’s hidden tricks

Automattic has been particularly good at building an effective distributed company. Some pieces (e.g. P2) are obvious. Others are hard won and don’t get the limelight they deserve.

Matt’s Global Search (MGS). Now that I’m on the outside, MGS is the piece I miss most. MGS searches all Automattic P2s of all time.  Ever wonder why something was done a certain way? Just search. You’ll likely find a thread from three years ago discussing the pros and cons of a half dozen approaches, and an explanation of why the fourth approach was picked. For the unacquainted, it takes some retraining to avoid asking a colleague every time you have a question. When you learn to search first, you become infinitely more capable (and ultimately end up in Barry’s good graces).

IRC for everything. IRC — you know, that really old technology like bulletin boards no one uses anymore? Yeah, it’s still really cool. It’s lightweight, you can use it on your desktop or phone, and it’s super hackable. You can pipe all sorts of things to IRC rooms. Like such as fatal errors… server load alerts… down notifications… When you couple your monitoring with IRC, it becomes a realtime health indicator of your platform, and an immediate point of collaboration for your team.

As I transition to my new role with Human Made’s increasingly distributed team, these tricks are at the forefront of my mind.

Farewell, Automattic

To be is to do
What you do must be filling
Search for gas stations

Earlier this week I made the difficult decision to leave Automattic, where I’ve been working on the VIP team for just shy of two years. It’s been a tremendous ride — I’m truly proud of who I’ve been able to work with, and what we’ve been able to get done.

I’ve felt my personal growth slow in recent months, however. Considering where I’m at in my career, and that Leah is busy with school, I’m looking for a more challenging opportunity — one that pushes me to learn, grow, and lead. If you have or know of such an opportunity, I’d love to hear from you: [email protected]

Here’s my updated resume.

Status

Hack day project idea(s), inspired by the data science session this morning. Look at a random sample of comments across WordPress.com and…

  • Classify their content (e.g. how they’re responding to the post).
  • Do a topical classification of post content and compare against comment word count or frequency.
  • Calculate diversity of commenters for a site as a function of unique email addresses to number of comments.
  • Build a network graph indicating correlation between commenters across different sites.

The big takeaway: with any given dataset, play with visualizations first before trying to draw a conclusion.

Status

Today we launched WordPress.com Enterprise. Great response thus far and it feels like we kicked off something big.

Leah’s done with classes too! To celebrate the occasion, we’re doing a long weekend vacation of rest and relaxation.

See you next week…