After a little more than four definitive years at Facebook, I’ve decided to leave to pursue a newly created opportunity at Automattic by helping to build out their Product Marketing function. This decision cost me many sleepless nights, as I am grateful to Facebook for not only the opportunity to be a small part of a fast scaling company with a vital mission but for the incredible relationships and friendships I’ve made in my time there. I finally decided this was the right thing to do – I needed to get out of my comfort zone, take what I’ve learned, and try it out at a new organization I believe in and want to help build further.
What mattered most to me when deciding what to do next
This was not easy, and after having played a critical role in either scaling or conceptualizing and launching three significant products for Facebook, I wanted to define what the next thing for me would be. I broke it down into the following principles.
1. A builder role with ample opportunity for impact. Watching Facebook scale from a little over 7,000 employees to 35,000+ employees and grow its daily active users to over 2 billion, (from under 1 billion when I joined the company), I wanted something where I would be building again, but perhaps at an earlier stage. Somewhere between 500 to 2,000 employees was an ideal sweet spot for me.
2. A company I love with a mission I care about. Automattic fit that bill – I’ve had my own WordPress site for several years, and am already part of the publishing community. Their commitment to open source (their founder, Matt Mullenweg, is a prominent figure -if not the most famous – in the open source community) is something I’m attracted to. I believe in the free flow of information, and the democratization of publishing – both things that are a fundamental part of Automattic’s mission to make the web a better place.
3. There had to be a community element. Having spent the last five years of my career growing, fostering, and caring for communities – particularly technical communities, I would be lost without that aspect of cohesive, aligned goals, and camaraderie. WordPress’s global community is impressive, and I’m looking forward to attending the Word Camp EU this summer in Berlin.
4. It did not have to be in tech. Unlike many people who live in my world, I wasn’t set on my next role being in tech. Many industries are going through disruption, and I fundamentally believe that thinking only about tech would be too limiting. In my mind, tech is no longer a true vertical but a horizontal thread that fuels disruption across several industries. Regardless of where I landed, I knew tech would be a part of it, even if it wasn’t the core focus.
5. There has to be a great leadership team and mission. Four years at Facebook spoilt me. I’ve had the chance to work for and with some of the most influential people in tech, and for a company with a clear mission and the wherewithal to get there. When I looked at Automattic, I found an organization run by a prominent supporter of open source who was recruiting stellar internal leadership like Kinsey Wilson, John Maeda, and my very own divisional leader and champion, Michelle Broderick.
6. I had to stay in the Bay Area, and I had to be able to continue being a great employee and mother. One of the most exciting things to boot about Automattic is that it is a fully distributed company – meaning that no one goes to an office! There isn’t an office. Well, there is an office with access to WeWork in San Francisco, but there is no expectation that anyone goes there – and most people don’t. I feel blessed that not only do I get to continue the path to doing great things at an organization I love, but I get to live the future of work by being part of a company that views its workforce globally. I’m going to learn and experience all sorts of new things, and I can’t wait to get started.
So.. what does Automattic do?
Automattic is the parent company of WordPress.com. They also have several other products associated with publishing, hosted web-builders, content management, hosting, and even productivity suites. And they are a major contributor WordPress.org – complete open source software that allows anyone to build and control their own self hosted website.
What will I be doing?
I’m excited to work with the existing marketing team and cross-functionally with several other teams at Automattic to best understand how product marketing can help Automattic grow and better fulfill its mission and then start providing the needed support. I’m sure I’ll also do a lot more with time, but for now, this is what I see in the near future.
Follow me as I write about the future of work
The best way to learn about the future of work is to live it. I plan to share my journey at Automattic on my WordPress blog, and here on Medium. I have never worked for a fully distributed company before, and I know I have a lot to learn. If you’re curious about distributed work, Matt Mullenweg just launched a podcast called Distributed (which I’m subscribing to).
Talent is evenly distributed around the globe, but opportunity is not.
I am excited to start a new adventure!