Four (Nearly Five) Years At Automattic

Today marks my official fourth anniversary at Automattic of being a proper full-time employee! In reality I started working for Automattic in about July of 2009 but due to an oversight, most of my coworkers thought I was already hired on as a normal employee. Meanwhile I just kept submitting my monthly contract report. Our hiring process has thankfully changed quite a bit since then!

Four years is a big milestone at Automattic as that is when you get your really cool custom WordPress MacBook. Unfortunately for me I’m one of the handful of Windows users at Automattic so it doesn’t make a ton of sense to get a MacBook just to run Windows on it. Oh well. :)

Working at Automattic really has been a dream come true for me. Besides getting to work on something I’m passionate about, WordPress, I also get to work with some of the most amazing people. I’ve made some life-long friendships here that I truly cherish. I can’t speak highly enough of the company and my co-workers. And as always, we’re hiring!

I hope my next four (nearly five) years at Automattic are at least half as good as these past ones have been.

Spoils From Nike Employee Store Visit

My stepmom was kind enough to get me a guest pass to the Nike employee store here in Portland at their world headquarters. Tons of cool stuff and all of it is about half price compared to normal retail prices. Awesome!

Nike

I picked up a pair of flexible trainer shoes for use with walking and stuff like that, a pair of normal shoes, two sweet jackets, and two shirts with a humorous message on them.

Attack Of The Cones: The Story Of How I Broke My Viper

On July 19th, I took my Viper for a HPDE track event at The Ridge race track hosted by Hooked on Driving.

For the first four sessions of the day, an instructor rode along with me while providing input on how to do a better job driving around the track. By the end of the day they were confident enough in my quick progress that they signed off for me to solo drive.

The fifth session of the day was a mixed session with both group A (beginners like me) and group B (people who had a few events under their belt, I would have been B at the next event). I considered skipping it as it was the end of the long day, but decided not to since I wanted to make sure to get the most out of all of the money that I had spent in order to be there. This turned out to be my first mistake.

The second mistake was going out solo instead of continuing to have an instructor ride along with me. I was overconfident in my skills when clearly I was still a major novice who was just making good progress.

The third mistake was lifting off of the gas in the middle of a small corner in order to begin getting ready to start braking for an upcoming sharp corner. This turned out to be the critical mistake and I paid for it.

I was recording the day with two GoPro video cameras and caught the mistake from two angles:

One of those three cones I hit jammed up under my bumper, breaking it and pushing up far enough to actually bend my air conditioning condenser and break my power steering cooler, spraying power steering fluid all over the front of my car. While it could have been worse (I was headed for that barrier before I caught the slide), it still majorly sucks.

Even worse is that while I bought insurance for the day ($300! ouch), I found out today that the deductible is 15% of the total insured value which is in this case $7500. That means that the insurance won’t cover this $3000-4000 worth of damage. Ouch.

So while I had a ton of fun at the track before the accident, this turned out to be a really shitty two weeks. :(

I’m done taking this car to the track as I just love it too much to risk further, and expensive, damage to it. I’d rather just have a bit less fun with it on the street instead. If I do get the track bug again, then I’ll look into buying a cheap track car and drive that instead.

Switching Teams: A New Chapter At Automattic

Ever since I joined Automattic three and a half years ago (I can’t believe its been that long already), I’ve worked on our VIP team providing support for our VIP hosting service. This work involved answering questions from our client’s developers as well as doing reviews of all of their code to make sure it will scale well and be secure.

However over the past 6 months to a year I’ve come to realize that as amazing as the people are on the VIP team, I want to get back into writing more code. Writing code is what got me into the WordPress community and Automattic itself in the first place and it is one the things I enjoy doing the most. I enjoy the challenge of designing and executing a coding project.

So on February 18th, I will be leaving the VIP team and switching to a team we call Janitorial. No, I won’t be sweeping up our hallways (that would require having offices!) but will instead be working on projects that slip through the cracks and don’t really fall under the umbrella of any of the other teams at Automattic. This includes making cool internal tools for all my great coworkers to use, something I’ve done a bit in my freetime previously and have really enjoyed.

I’ll miss working with all the great folks on the VIP team but I’m also looking forward to the new challenges that await me.

San Diego Road Trip Final Route

Just for fun I put together a map of the route I took to San Diego and back in my Viper. It was long (over 3100 miles!) and gas was expensive ($851.02, 16.3 miles per gallon) but it was 110% worth it. Thanks again to Stephane and Evan for riding shotgun with me on the way down and the way back, respectively. I had a great time!