Welcome, Tiger Global

I’m happy to welcome new investor Tiger Global to the Automattic / WordPress.com family. From Matt’s blog:

…there has been a large secondary transaction in Automattic stock, about $50M worth. “Secondary” means that it’s existing stockholders, like the earliest investors or employees, selling stock to another investor versus money going into the company (“primary”). It was led by Lee Fixel at Tiger Global, one of the behind-the-scenes quiet geniuses that has previously invested in SurveyMonkey, Facebook, LinkedIn, Palantir, Square, Warby Parker… Automattic is healthy, generating cash, and already growing as fast as it can so there’s no need for the company to raise money directly — we’re not capital constrained. The minority of stockholders that elected to participate are holding on to the vast majority of their shares. We’re building an independent company that’s going to be a growing part of the fabric of the web for many years to come, so allowing early investors to lock in some returns releases any short-term pressure there might be on the company for a liquidity event and allows us to focus fully on the long road ahead.

At WordPress, Happiness is Automattic

Cool observations from new Automattic employee Jason Munro.

Unencumbered by Facts

On the first of May, I started a new job at Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com. I was hired as a “Code Wrangler,” but to date I have not written a lick of code. This is because for the first three weeks new employees must participate in a customer support rotation. I know what you are thinking: “Let the software engineers communicate directly with customers? I saw Office Space, so I know that’s a bad idea!” or maybe “Bummer, customer service is a thankless soul-sucking quagmire of loathsomeness.” Surprisingly, neither one of these normally valid assumptions is true in this case. So what makes working at Automattic so special that software engineers can enjoy communicating directly with users and customer service ends up being rewarding and fun? Quite a few things actually.

The customer service team is known as the “Happiness Team,” and its members are “Happiness Engineers.” When I…

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My 5k welcome to Automattic

My first day as an Automattic employee was last Monday, April 23rd. I had heard how welcoming the team at Automattic could be, so I wasn’t surprised they put on a special running event just to make me feel at home — the Automattic Worldwide WP 5K. I had mentioned in one of my interviews that I was a runner, so this was a considerate way to help me celebrate my first week on the team. 😉

Here’s a bit of background on my running setup to help set the stage:

  • Gadgets. I don’t do much without electronic gadgets, and running is no exception. My iPhone 4S provides the soundtrack (Mumford & Sons). RunKeeper satisfies my nerdy obsession with data (see stats for my wwwp5k or join my street team!). Wahoo Fitness’s cool new BlueHR heart rate monitor uses Bluetooth Low Energy to tell RunKeeper just how out of shape I am. And the Skype app lets me keep in touch with the many exploding tickets from my Happiness engineer rotation.
  • Food. My two daughters baked some excellent blueberry muffins yesterday. I had a few right out of the oven, one for a snack in the afternoon, and a few more this morning. That seemed like just the right amount of carbo-loading.
  • Shoes. My current pair is the New Balance MT20 Trail Minimus shoe. I got into minimalist running about a year ago in an effort to improve my running form (which is about as lithe and relaxed as a drunken elephant walking backward on a balance beam). I’m not sure my form has improved, but I discovered a hidden masochistic side during six months of non-stop calf pain. These days they feel pretty good and I tend to wear them all the time. My wife sometimes asks if I’ll be wearing them to bed.
  • Outfit. When I first started using WordPress.org, I liked it so much that I wanted to pay something. So I found my way to the Indigo Clothing WordPress shop and “contributed” $17 by ordering a stylish red t-shirt. It seemed the perfect thing to wear for my run.

I headed out this afternoon. It was hot, about 80 degrees, as I left from home south of San Francisco on one my usual routes that happens to be almost exactly 5k. Things were pretty normal, until a few yards before the finish line when my three-year old daughter started pacing me. Her older sister and friend even held up a streamer for me so I could finish in style! Thanks to my wife for capturing the moment in the photo above.

And thanks to all my fellow Automatticians for a fun, running, start!