Back in mid-July, John Maeda asked me to write about my first few weeks working at Automattic, but it took me until now to stop and reflect on how it’s been since I was hired in mid-June. Shortly before I applied to work at Automattic, I found the creed, and knew that this was the place I wanted to be. Each of those sentences really resonated with me, and there have been many opportunities to exercise the spirit of the creed.

I will never stop learning.

It is appropriate that this is the first part of the creed, because from the day you start, there are tons of new things to learn. There are dozens of tools, code repositories, and truckloads of information to process. It can be overwhelming at times–trying to keep track of everything–but it’s a great challenge and the opportunities to learn are endless.

I won’t just work on things that are assigned to me.

I look at this as finding solutions to problems that haven’t been identified, or don’t have a solution yet. We’re given quite a bit of leeway in what we can work on, and if you have a good idea, you’re allowed to run with it.

I know there’s no such thing as a status quo.

“We’ve always done things this way,” and resistance to change for the better is one of my pet peeves. I haven’t encountered this kind of thinking yet, and I’d be surprised if I did. “How can we make this process better?” comes up often.

I will build our business sustainably through passionate and loyal customers.

The first thing new Automatticians do is 3 weeks of support, which is a great opportunity to learn about the problems our customers have with WordPress.com. It was certainly eye-opening for me to see places where customers struggle to make it work for them. One of the most rewarding feelings is getting positive feedback from a happy customer.

I will never pass up an opportunity to help out a colleague, and I’ll remember the days before I knew everything.

There are dozens of opportunities to do this every day, mostly jumping in to help someone with a theme issue, or helping craft CSS for a customer site. I’ve never had difficulty getting help when I don’t know something.

I am more motivated by impact than money, and I know that Open Source is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation.

On automattic.com, it states: We don’t make software for free, we make it for freedom. That is the spirit of Open Source, that it enables people to share, to build, to make a living for their families. WordPress is probably the most important piece of Open Source software ever written, and I’m proud to be doing what I can to make it better.

I will communicate as much as possible, because it’s the oxygen of a distributed company.

It can be tough coming from working by yourself, to being part of a team in a company with 550+ other people, but overall it’s amazing. There is an astonishing amount of communication that happens internally, and one of the struggles is finding the best way to keep up without being overwhelmed.

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.

There’s a certain amount of irony in this statement, because my team is currently in the middle of a “sprint” to wrap up a project. But I get the spirit of the statement. It takes a lot of work, and there are uncountable steps between starting out and being successful. Just keep moving forward.

Given time, there is no problem that’s insurmountable.

Even writing blog posts on time. 🙂

Posted by Chris Runnells

I'm a Theme Wrangler for Automattic! I like outrigger canoe paddling, photography, chocolate, and long walks on the beach. Also Star Wars.