Work

Work with me here

I’m lucky enough to work for what I think is the best company in the world. Here’s a selection (with some local flavor) from my colleague/teammate/friend Chris Finke’s reasons for why you should be working at Automattic too.

Do any of these places sound like interesting locations for week-long team meetups? Hawaii, New Zealand, Mexico, Spain, New York City, Miami, San Francisco, Iceland, Boston, Las Vegas, San Diego, Italy, Berlin, Amsterdam, Montreal, Portugal, New Orleans, Chicago, Winnipeg, or Montevideo, Uruguay? Work with us. (And that’s just a selection of 2012 meetup locations.)

Don’t worry, no one will make you go to Winnipeg. (Maybe.) You should read the whole thing on Chris’ blog — it’s great. Oh, and work with us. :)

Standard
WordPress, Work

My WordPress Theming Inspiration

I sometimes tell people that it was the Happy Cog Blogger template project that got me into theming. Specifically one blog post about it by one of the designers that made me think, “Whoah! Theming for thousands of people is a really cool design problem that I’d love to tackle!” Of course, I totally forgot what that blog post was and never mentioned it anywhere that was easy to retrieve. Like a blog. This was a full two years before I started blogging so maybe I can excuse myself that way.

Anyway, it turns out it was two blog posts that inspired me. Dan Rubin’s post puts into words something that I still find exciting about theming.

The num­ber of peo­ple who will make use of these tem­plates is astound­ing (it’s already started), and the web is going to be a much bet­ter place for the effort (just think of the hun­dreds of thou­sands of sites that will soon be using well-designed standards-based markup!).

And the trick, according to Dan, is still the same.

Design some­thing visu­ally fetch­ing, but not too per­sonal (the pri­mary func­tion is a reusable tem­plate, which might dis­play many dif­fer­ent types of con­tent), yet indi­vid­ual enough to inspire some­one to actu­ally use it.

It’s harder than it looks.

There’s maybe less excitement in Dan Cederholm’s post about his TicTac template but it’s his concern over the header that I remember the most.

Extra care was taken to ensure the design would be flexible enough for any amount of content at any text size. For example, the header uses a vertical version of the Sliding Doors technique (sliding windows?), where if the Blogger user has a long site title, or if the user bumps up the text size, the header graphic (separated into two pieces) willl “spread apart” to accomodate it.

I thought this was just amazing in 2004. I still do. It’s one of the central concerns of any good WordPress themer. Making sure everything just works for bloggers. It’s never boring.

Ironically, when I got around to finally blogging two years later I never did use these templates. I used Doug Bowman’s Minima template. It’s a design marvel. In 2007 Jeffrey Zeldman called it the Helvetica of web design “magically supporting whatever tone the content provides.”

Douglas Bowman’s white “Minima” layout for Blogger, used by literally millions of writers—and it feels like it was designed for each of them individually. That is great design.

He’s right.

So there you go. My WordPress theming inspiration: 8-year old Blogger templates. :)

Standard

Work

Getting ready for SXSW

Image
Work

I’m in New York!

New York is one of those “life list” destinations for me and, thanks to the Automattic Theme Team meetup, here I am. If you have any “if you’re only going to do one thing in New York in January do this one thing” things let me know. We’ve got some time set aside on Saturday for doing some of those things.

Standard
Work

I finally tried out Notational Velocity just recently. It’s rapidly turning into an app I’m not sure I could go without. If you make a lot of plain text notes for yourself and wish they were magically organized and easily searchable check it out.

Link
Work

The Automattic Creed

You know you’re working at your dream job when the company creed starts with one of your personal ideals in the very first sentence — “I will never stop learning.”

The following — the Automattic creed — is sent out to every employee in their offer letter. You have to sign your name right next to it. Before starting work.

I will never stop learning. I won’t just work on things that are assigned to me. I know there’s no such thing as a status quo. I will build our business sustainably through passionate and loyal customers. I will never pass up an opportunity to help out a colleague, and I’ll remember the days before I knew everything. I am more motivated by impact than money, and I know that Open Source is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation. I will communicate as much as possible, because it’s the oxygen of a distributed company. I am in a marathon, not a sprint, and no matter how far away the goal is, the only way to get there is by putting one foot in front of another every day. Given time, there is no problem that’s insurmountable.

Matt’s whole post on it is a must read: Automattic Creed.

Standard