A couple of weeks go, I wrote a post about an unexpected hitch of working in a distributed team. Yesterday, my ex-coworker, Ann McCarthy wrote a related, more elaborative post on the same issue. It’s worth reading.
The Mysterious Status of .blog Domains
When the .blog TLD was started by Automattic, employees were given the option to reserve a domain for free. In return […], they asked that the domain be used as a primary domain (no forwarding to a different site), and that the site be updated with new content at least once a month. This requirement was the last argument for me NOT taking boris.blog — I didn’t want to make this commitment, plus I like gorelik.net a lot.
Recently, there were some not so nice developments about .blog names that were given away to Automatticians. The complains about this situation are usually anonymously, but I think that in this case, anonymity isn’t the right approach. That is why, I decided to share here an anonymous post from the Antimattic blog. Although I am not the author of this original post, and I don’t share the views of some of the posts written there, I do share the concerns expressed in this particular article. Posting in return for a domain name might have been a reasonable request at the beginning of the .blog TLD to help promoting its adaptation. But now, several years after this TLD is active, this requirement is simply not OK. To read the original post, click the screenshot below.
The first paragraph of this post is a verbatim copy from Antimattic.
Is Distributed Work a Divide and Conquer Strategy?
Before becoming a freelance data scientist, I used to work at Automattic, which I used to regard as my dream job. Not every current and ex-Automattician share that rosy point of view. Antimattic is an anonymous blog that allows ex-Automattic employees to vent their feelings about what used to be their workplace. One recent post on that blog raises a fascinating question about distributed (or work from home, or remote) companies. “Is Distributed Work a Divide and Conquer Strategy?” I have to admit that I haven’t thought about this perspective before. It looks like we will see more and more companies switching to remote work. It’s an interesting interpretation of the “future of work.”
Obviously this site exists because people have had negative experiences at Automattic. But many people have also had very positive experiences at the company. Could it be that the distributed nature of Automattic allows for such varying experiences? 45 more wordsIs Distributed Work a Divide and Conquer Strategy? — Antimattic
How I got a dream job in a distributed company and why I am leaving it
One night, in January 2014, I came back home from work after spending two hours commuting in each direction. I was frustrated and started Googling for “work from home” companies. After a couple of minutes, I arrived at https://automattic.com/work-with-us/. Surprisingly to me, I couldn’t find any job postings for data scientists, and a quick LinkedIn search revealed no data scientists at Automattic. So I decided to write a somewhat arrogant letter titled “Why you should call me?”. After reading the draft, I decided that it was too arrogant and kept it in my Drafts folder so that I can sleep over it. A couple of days later, I decided to delete that mail. HOWEVER, entirely unintentionally, I hit the send button. That’s how I became the first data scientist hired by Automattic (Carly Staumbach, the data scientist and the musician, was already Automattician, but she arrived there by an acquisition).
The past five and a half years have been the best five and a half years in my professional life. I met a TON of fascinating people from different cultural and professional backgrounds. I re-discovered blogging. My idea of what a workplace is has changed tremendously and for good.
Until now, every time I left a workplace, I did that for external reasons. I simply had to. I left either due to company’s poor financial situation, due to long commute time, or both. Now, it’s the first time I am leaving a place of work entirely for internal reasons: despite, and maybe a little bit because, the fact that everything was so good. (Of course, there are some problems and disruptions, but nothing is ideal, right?)
What happened? In June, I left for a sabbatical. The sabbatical was so good that I already started making plans for another one. However, I also started thinking about my professional growth, the opportunities I have, and the opportunities I previously missed. I realized that right now, I am in the ideal position to exit the comfort zone and to take calculated professional risks. That’s how, after about four sleepless weeks, I decided to quit my dream job and to start a freelance career.
On January 22, I will become an Automattic alumnus.
BTW, Automattic is constantly looking for new people. Visit their careers page and see whether there is something for you. And if not, find the chutzpah and write them anyhow.
Curated list of established remote tech companies
Someone asked me about distributed companies or companies that offer remote positions. Of course, my first response was Automattic but that person didn’t think that Automattic was a good fit for them. So I googled and was surprised to discover that my colleague, Yanir Seroussi, maintains a list of companies that offer remote jobs.
I work at Automattic, one of the biggest distributed-only companies in the world (if not the biggest one). Recently, Automattic founder and CEO, Matt Mullenweg started a new podcast called (surprise) Distributed.