Year in Review: 2013

Wow, what a year. It’ll be tough to top this one.

Epic Summer

The most notable events of the year took place between the months of May and September.

Sunday, May 26thProposed to Leah at the Spray Rodeo. After a couple of months procrastinating / waiting for the right opportunity, I went for it. Dropping the question in front of hundreds of people was the easy part. Summoning the courage to ask permission from her dad was much more difficult. Best decision I’ve ever made.

Monday, July 29th – My 26th birthday, aka the day we learned Leah was pregnant. I remember the moment vividly — she was at home, I was at work, and she called me on Skype video to share the news. My initial reaction was excitement, and I’ve been excited ever since. We weren’t quite ready to share the news with my parents that evening, but my sister Madeline guessed something was up when Leah uncharacteristically declined to try her cocktail.

Sunday, September 1st – Leah and I get married at the beach, in front of Haystack Rock and almost 200 family and friends. Oregon lived up to its promise with beautiful weather. We had a perfect weekend.

Professionally Speaking

2013 was great for hitting my stride as a web developer focusing on media and technology. I started out the year continuing my gig with Automattic’s VIP team. In addition to the day to day of competing with Mo for most closed Zendesk tickets, I continued work on Edit Flow, Co-Authors Plus, Ad Code Manager, and a variety of other plugins.

I also started contributing more regularly to WP-CLI:

WP-CLI contributor chart

Getting to be involved in the project is something I’m both honored by and proud of. WP-CLI has been an invaluable asset to the work I do — I use it in some capacity on a daily basis. Having my code critiqued by scribu has really pushed me as a developer too. His feedback is always apropos, but it’s fun to occasionally prove him otherwise. One of these days, the package manager will finally land…

At the end of April, I left Automattic to join Human Made, a leading WordPress agency that splits its time between clients and product. It was a great transition for me. The team is a pleasure to work with, I get to apply my creativity every day, and the gig has all of the perks of a distributed company.

Since the switch, I’ve likely spent the most amount of time working on Vocativ and WP Remote. The former has been a neat opportunity to me because I’ve been able to build many “future of journalism” ideas I’ve had in the past. Although I’m technically not in the newsroom, it’s the closest I’ve ever been and I get to interface with editorial staff on a regular basis. They’ve hired a number of forward-thinking journalists too. Two things we’ve built of note: Template Manager, essentially Zoninator on steroids, and Poster Images, aka Photoshop in the browser with Imagick doing the heavy lifting. They use both to maintain a highly-visual homepage, with more user-facing features to come.

WP Remote has also been a great opportunity to flex my creative muscles. Just a month after starting with Human Made, I helped lead the charge on getting its first paid feature out the door: Automatic Backups. The only problem: our async jobs system was dead on launch. Joe and I then spent the next 24 hours building Job Agency, a simple, durable jobs system for WordPress (powered by WP-CLI, of course). In October, we launched WP Remote Premium with a few more features, and WP Remote has seen steady revenue growth since.

I really look forward to helping shape Human Made to be a company I want to work with for years to come.


For the last few years, I’ve been pretty fortunate to have jobs and a work/life balance that support one of my passions: traveling.

According to TripIt, here’s the tally for 2013:

  • 24 trips over 139 days.
  • 99,228 miles flown.
  • Visited 33 cities in 8 countries.

Broken down, it looks like:

  • January – Vegas for Blogworld, Tahoe for skiing, San Francisco for the AAN Digital conference.
  • February – Vegas for the VIP team meetup, New Zealand for Webstock, Utah for skiing, Kentucky for NICAR.
  • March – Seattle for some Edit Flow hacking, Hawaii for a week of rest and relaxation.
  • April – No travel (except the beach)!
  • May – San Francisco to meet Tom and Joe for the first time.
  • June – Seattle for WC SEA, NYC to kick things off with Vocativ, Japan for a bit of adventure, Wisconsin for a family memorial.
  • July – Lake District in the UK for Human Made meetup, Meadow family cruise to Alaska, San Francisco for Vocativ meetup.
  • August – No travel (except the beach and Central Oregon)!
  • September – Honeymoon number one to Sunriver, NYC for Vocativ, Amsterdam to launch WP Remote Premium and attend WordCamp Europe.
  • October – Victoria to visit Leah’s grandparents.
  • November – San Francisco for GigaOm Roadmap.
  • December – NYC for Vocativ, Paris for honeymoon number two, and Boston and NY for cousin Steve’s wedding.

With a baby on the way it will be tough to beat those numbers next year but I’ll try my best!


Joseph Scott January 1, 2014 Reply

I’m curious about Job Agency. Any particular reason you didn’t go with one of the many existing job systems out there?

Daniel Bachhuber January 1, 2014 Reply

Probably some amount of the “not invented here” syndrome, to be honest.

Because we had an immediate problem to solve, we were afraid to add new technology to our stack and end up with two problems. Gearman is one we looked at briefly. As far as I know, there aren’t any WordPress-based job systems out there. It was easy enough to just build our own, in part leveraging what I remembered of async job system.

So far, the decision appears to be a smart one:

Easy to scale because it runs across all of our web nodes (e.g. increase the number of workers on each node, or increase the number of nodes).
Haven’t run into any critical architectural issues.
Integrates nicely into our software stack, and anyone on the team can understand how it works.

The WP Remote setup is performing roughly 3500 jobs per day. It can scale linearly, and isn’t even close to capacity. If we had to do 10x or 100x the jobs, we probably invest time in researching whether there are better options out there.

Joseph Scott January 1, 2014 Reply

I’ve been eyeing beanstalkd from a distance, so that was one I was thinking of specifically.

The source code the jobs system is available at

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