It's only been about four months since I joined Automattic, but in that time I've had some great experiences working on amazing projects and websites with some delightful people. The past week took that adventure to new level as I joined my 270ish (and growing) co-workers for the annual company "grand meetup," held this year in Park City, Utah.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect going into the gathering; I'd been told that it would be overwhelming, chaotic, amazing, fun, productive, and lots of other things. I've of course spent time with co-workers before, been to a variety of tech conferences with intensive schedules, etc. but something about bringing everyone at a fully distributed company together for a rare chance to connect and collaborate felt different somehow - higher stakes and a little more scary. Flying across the country to spend a week in a remote mountain lodge with a bunch of people you met on the Internet...sounds a little intimidating, right?
A week later as I head home, I'm full of gratitude.
I flew across the country to spend time in a mountain lodge with a bunch of strangers I met on the Internet. And they are wonderful. #a8cGM
— Chris Hardie (@ChrisHardie) September 16, 2014
I'm grateful to have met so many Automatticians from around the world who brought such kindness, curiosity, patience, fierce intelligence, creativity and humor to the time we had together. I'm grateful to have learned about their hobbies, families, personal journeys, quirks, pet peeves, amazing skills, unmitigated geekiness and brilliant senses of humor.
— Cami Kaos (@camikaos) September 21, 2014
I'm grateful to work for a company that invests heavily in creating amazing personal and professional development experiences like this one for its people, knowing it supports and furthers all sorts of other business goals along the way. I'm grateful for a company culture that celebrates the many different ways in which people are able, and embraces the diversity of our backgrounds, experiences and perspectives.
I'm grateful to have learned even more about the incredibly wide range of people, places and organizations that WordPress.com and our related services support, and the incredible, beautiful complexity that goes with WordPress powering 23% of all websites.
I'm grateful to have experienced organizational leadership where unusual transparency is practiced daily, and where ongoing evolution of thinking and approach is held up as essential instead of something to be avoided or embarrassed about. I am grateful for Automattic founder and CEO Matt Mullenweg's personal investment of time and energy in making sure that each of us is genuinely welcomed and encouraged in understanding and shaping most every aspect of the company's work.
I'm grateful for my co-workers on the VIP Team who take such pride in our work and who are constantly supporting and challenging each other to be better at what we do.
I'm grateful for the beautiful mountains of Utah and the spirit of outdoor adventure that is everywhere around Park City. I'm grateful to have survived my second-ever 5K run, at altitude and up some hills at that.
I'm grateful to have learned a little more about node.js, why people delete their blogs, how to make wooden spoons, Android app development, PhpStorm and Xdebug, life on the road as a nomad, whiskey stills and Utah alcoholic beverage laws, international travel best practices, the history and future of publishing, tree-felling techniques, the existence of macaroni-and-cheese balls, life in Korea, extreme parking and multiple other topics.
I'm grateful for many things in this adventure I'm on. Thanks, Automattic.
(If it sounds like an adventure you might like to join, we're hiring.)