A Year at WordPress.com VIP – 2017

In June 2016 I joined the VIP team at Automattic the company behind WordPress.com, Jetpack, Woocommerce and other products.

Automattic is a fully distributed company where we all work from wherever we choose, and apart from the Grand Meetup where the whole company meets, we also gather at smaller meetups throughout the year.

Meetups are an important part of Automattic culture and they are a mix of work and social gatherings, getting to know each other is a key part of making distributed working work.

In addition to the team meetups, this year I flew to Brazil to visit a client, took part in a conference in Napa and did a training course in Amsterdam. The world feels a lot smaller now as I look back over the year and in 2017 I’ve met many great people from all over the world.


A VIP meetup in Barcelona. This was an excellent kickoff for the year, we had some great workshops with a highlight being a session with our systems chief Barry.


A visit to Abril in São Paulo for a week of workshops and training sessions. This was a really enjoyable week and I’ve written more about the trip in a separate post. One of the photos shows my colleague Matt Perry demonstrating a deploy to production to the Abril developers. The whole week was one big highlight and I’m looking forward to visiting again in January 2018.



A VIP retreat in Napa near San Francisco for enterprise WordPress developers and product owners. Memorable highlights were a talk by Ilya Grigorik from Google on the mobile web, meeting our clients and agency partners and seeing wildlife I’d never seen before including hummingbirds and a scrub jay.



A VIP support meetup at Hafton Castle in Dunoon, Scotland. Excellent workshops, lovely countryside, truly awful snooker playing on my part and games nights with Resistance and Secret Hitler.



The Grand Meetup in Whistler Canada, Automattic’s annual company meetup. Highlights were seeing fellow VIPers, meeting wider Automattic colleagues, our CEO’s session, a product management and strategy workshop that I attended our and seeing a woodpecker. I could go on. Mental note for next time, take a decent camera.



A leadership training course in Amsterdam where I met leads from other parts of Automattic from all over the world. Our group had people from the USA, UK, Spain, India, Sri Lanka, Uruguay, Israel, Austria, South Africa and one currently nomadic. If that sounds like a recipe for interesting discussions and learnings, you’d be right.

It was very dark and grey whilst I was there but Amsterdam is definitely a lovely city with its cycle paths, canals and waterways and excellent public transport.

I feel enormously grateful to have had these opportunities in 2017 and am already looking forward to 2018, the first trips are already planned. 🙂

If your interest in VIP is piqued and the idea of working with notable clients using WordPress at scale with colleagues across the world from wherever you choose sounds interesting, please check out our website. We are hiring!


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