September 20, 2008 signified a big milestone in my life: I achieved one of my life goals, to have co-founded a successful startup, and as a result I started working at Automattic.
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.