Here JJJ is sharing a heartfelt piece on his days at Automattic. Very interesting article!
I know it’s been 3 years since we split up, but I wanted to reach out to say that I’m sorry for all of the pain I caused you. You see, back in 2010, I was on top of the WordPress world. I had great clients, was making OK money, and was making a move away from a city that hated me (Miami) to a city that might hate me less (Providence.)
I gave up my clients and my money to pursue you. I switched from Qwerty to Dvorak for you. I even tried new things I knew I would hate to try and make things work between us. I gave you my best ideas about Jetpack, Reblogs, Followers & Likes, but once I had you, you weren’t what I expected you to be…
That was my fault, for putting you on a pedestal. I set expectations you weren’t setup to meet for me.
When you asked me to join you as part of your distributed workforce, I asked if I would have to wear pants. That quip echoed through the company culture enough where The Year Without Pants was the popular vote for a book where I’d only be mentioned a few small times amongst a team of top-tier Automatticians.
When you asked me to work on Jetpack, I wanted to work on WordPress.com Profiles. I still think user profiles
I didn't expect to agree with so much of this. "Not being in core means the component maintainers are able to develop independently of any core release cycle – both faster & slower if need be." "Many contributors see a core-merge as a natural graduation path to their efforts, for lots of things – even small things like ideas and recommendations. We get attached to them, and define success & ultimate acceptance as the end result being gifted to the world via WordPress core."
Normally I’d start with a history lesson, but for this I’ll cut to the chase since most of you reading this already know what I’m talking about… Projects like Django function & thrive without their REST API in every core installation. Not being in core means the component maintainers are able to develop independently of any core release cycle – both faster & slower if need be.
Externally facing API’s are a mouse on a wheel. Just as XML-RPC is ready, REST is here to take its place. Once we are all comfortable with REST 10 years from now, something else will replace it to, and so on.
WordPress is of the size and popularity now where building wp-admin into a hybrid of REST & AJAX calls will be confusing to future contributors.
Going back and rebuilding wp-admin to be fully REST is a thankless job, and would take ten years to complete at the current pace. It’s more likely wp-admin would be replaced, which would break backwards compatibility with existing plugins. It’s akin to hiding Windows 3.1 under the 95 skin, and abandoning all previous applications. No way.
Many contributors see a core-merge as a natural graduation path to
I love a good rant, and John delivers here. Focus on the things he suggests we can do to battle against developing bad software.
Are you a software developer? I am, and everyday I’m embarrassed by my profession. Every single day, I run across some website, app, program or plugin that is egregiously broken; embarrassingly broken; 5000-developers-with-six-figure-salaries-and-free-catered-lunches-and-still-can’t-get-it-right, broken.
Apps on my phone, tablet, computer, tv, and car, crash constantly, sometimes resulting in actual data loss. We shoved television behind a pay-wall in a cube that buffers and loads more than it presents anything. We broke copy & paste, because who would ever want to paste a password anywhere? Form fields do this shit where they want to autocomplete and autocorrect and autofill 3 different suggestions at once. We connected wrist-watches to the internet to draw doodles back and forth that don’t even send half the time. We hid mechanical engines behind electronics so complex there is noticeable lag driving performance cars. We connected entertainment systems to airplane diagnostic systems, so passengers can see how high up they are. We connect doors to the web to unlock them remotely, but firmware updates brick them and now you’re locked out of your house. We
JJJ is onto something here. Its not just about three Ts. He is onto something bigger.
Jacob talks about reputation and ethics. He makes a good point at the very end, that Ethics matter more than reputation.
Yesterday, I tweeted about the recent Volkswagen debacle: Volkswagen losing 1/5 its value is a reminder that your reputation is constantly in question, success is relative, and ethics always wins.
— John James Jacoby (@JJJ) September 23, 2015
It got me thinking about the WordPress community, who the major players are, and where I might fit into it all on any given day.
I’ll start with Automattic and work my way across from there. Full disclosure, if you didn’t know, I worked at Automattic for a few years, so some of my observations are based on internal influences from a company half the size with a different CEO, and 4 of Matt Mullenweg’s hairstyles ago.
Automattic, is a powerhouse. They have enormous momentum that’s intimidating to compete with even when you’re trying to carve your own niche. Interested in e-commerce? Woo. Hosting? WordPress.com. The cloud? Jetpack. Backups? VaultPress. Together they’ve solved a number of small problems in huge ways, and are uniquely qualified to do so with Matt at the helm and millions in the bank.
If you’ve read The Year Without Pants then you got a decent (if bland) idea of how the sausage is made, but my not being a part of Scott’s retelling is
Great blog post from John James Jacoby about challenges of remote work. I could never have it work for me, glad to see someone honestly disucssing challenges.
In 2010 I took a job with the fine folks at Automattic. Having been contributing to WordPress, BuddyPress, and bbPress since 2007, working with the biggest company in the WordPress ecosystem seemed like the next logical step in my career. If you somehow haven’t heard of them, they’re a great company with open-source in it’s heart and transparency in it’s soul; there’s so much publicly available about Automattic that I’m comfortable bypassing the details completely. In short, it’s an absolutely amazing company to work for, and if you’re still reading this, you should probably think about applying.
Fast forward to 2013. After a few lengthy conversations with the most influential people in my life at the time about career goals, experiences, and my personal bucket-list, I came to the conclusion it was time to move on from the job I once thought I didn’t deserve to the job I needed to have, to keep growing, to keep learning… somewhere I would be able to make a larger impact on a smaller group.
Welcome to 10up.
10up is a company you likely know less about juxtaposed to Automattic, but that doesn’t make them any less impressive. 10up and Automattic both rely heavily on the success of WordPress