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.

January

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.

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A great case for WordPress

I recently switched one of my family member’s blogs over to WordPress from Drupal 7. It was a good experience and here is why.

I have more experience with Drupal which is why I initially set up a site for them in this technology, but eventually some downsides became painful. Media handling even if set up nicely with wysiwg and image uploading is really clunky and unintuitive, the admin interface was a bit overwhelming for them and I was always tweaking it to make it useable for them. But the key thing that made me want to switch was support and usability.

I had made a nice application in Drupal that worked fine as a blog but it was still a custom application and I was getting so many requests for help with this and that I soon didn’t have the time to help any more. They just didn’t get it. So I switched them to WordPress and made a new site with that.

There were some real advantages in the end, WordPress is super usable, media handling and content editing is a dream and the best thing of all, it was a standard solution. When the support requests came in, I was able to redirect them to tutorials and help pages online, and even bought them a WordPress book. Their instance of WordPress was so straightforward that they were up and running on their own, it just worked. No custom application, just a standard install that did the job with a wealth of help material if they needed it.