For the next two years we continued working on IntenseDebate as we now had the resources and the expertise to really push the envelope. We made great strides towards a more cohesive and stable commenting system, and when it became time to let the project rest for a while it was in a really good place. It was something to be proud of.
Since then I’ve realized just how much I actually learned from creating IntenseDebate. It may have always been a bit rough around the edges, but the lessons I’ve learned from it are priceless. And many of the techniques we explored back then I still use every day now as a designer.
After a short stint working as a general designer I joined the newly formed Mobile Team as a team lead and designer. This was a brand new type of challenge for me, and I had no idea what to expect. I remember I asked Matt “Why me?”. Perhaps not the best thing to ask on your first day but I was genuinely curious. He just smiled and replied “Because you have all the right stuff.”
It may seem silly now, but at the time I was overwhelmed. Excited but cautious. Freaking out but trying to act the part.
The first few years I asked a lot of questions as soon as I had the chance. I watched other team leads to see what they did and more importantly how they did it. I tried to have a keen eye on my team: I wanted to create routines. I wanted to help provide an overview. I wanted to remove everything that stood in the way of getting real work done, even petty details. Above all I was trying to be someone you could depend on to have your back and help make things run smoother day by day.
After three and a half years with the Mobile Team it was time for me to do something different. I was worn out. A lot of things had changed in the mobile space and it became ever more important to Automattic as a whole. We grew the team from four to fourteen people while I was team lead, and shortly after I left we refocused on mobile across all product teams.
Now I’m a product designer on the Data Team. It gives me a bit of room to breathe and allows me to rediscover my passion for front-end design and creating good user experiences. The fact that I could switch jobs like this, and that many others like me are doing the same around Automattic regularly, is a testament to how great of a workplace Automattic is. There’s trust and there’s always room to learn new things.
6 years really just flew by.