Obligatory Thanksgiving song below, and some history about the song for the uninitiated. 🙂
Spent the day at Harborfest with the kiddo, this is the 40th anniversary of the event which is “America’s largest, longest-running, free maritime festival“. The weather was beautiful, the mercury was high, and sunburn aplenty. Got to see a lot of really neat ships, booths, performances, and demonstrations. The food was pretty fantastic too! 🙂
Daytime mode (when there’s not a laptop occupying the space):
I planned on penning a post about this much earlier in the week, but as it turns out, it took me a few days to recover and then I was consumed with work and things that needed to be done around the house. What am I talking about? Well the Automattic annual grand meetup, of course!
We met in Park City, Utah again this year. It’s a great resort, and one of the few that can accommodate 400+ Automatticians and our fevered thirst for Wifi. A speedy internet connection can make or break a meetup, and if you have subpar network services, we’re probably not going to use your venue. Resorts, take note!
So lets set the tone. I’m pretty sure it can all be encompassed by this single quote by Matt in our Slack announcements channel:
This actually applies to every single day, not just the first night, and personally I think calling it an “endurance trial” might be a more accurate description. Since we don’t work from an office and only get to hang out with the entire company once a year, it can be a little overwhelming to be around all your peers at the same time. At least that’s the case for me, and this has held true for every GM, especially as we continue to grow at a pretty good clip.
On day one, the travel day is pretty much what you would expect. Sit on a plane or in the airport all day (some flights MUCH longer than others), take a shuttle to the resort and check in. Head to the main meeting area where it’s shoulder to shoulder Automatticians. Grab a water bottle and a nametag, and jump into the crowd. Warmly greet old friends and meet new ones. It’s a pretty amazing thing that you have to experience to understand.
The rest of the week involves eating great food, watching your friends flash talks, working on a project, learnup or just performing your daily job. This year I chose to work on Akismet stuff, which I really enjoy. Due to a back injury earlier this year I didn’t participate in paintballing which was disappointing as it’s a tradition. I also didn’t do any extreme activities this year, last year that resulted in a friend getting hurt and spending a day in the hospital, so I took it easy this time around.
The accommodations were amazing, just like last year, this time around I had a larger flat complete with a conference size table and fireplace. About mid-week I realized that the fireplace made for a great standing desk.
Along with a great view. Here’s an overnight time-lapse from my room:
The party suites on the top floor of the resort was a mecca of activity from early in the evening through sunrise some nights. Not heeding Matt’s advise, I found myself unable to tear away until the wee hours of the morning.
On the final night a stage was set up in the grand meeting room where a dozen or so Automatticians took to the stage to perform, and it was nothing short of amazing. This was followed up by the Jane Doze who kept the party going.
After which, Matt took to the stage to say a few words about Automattic’s tenth birthday, and then cake!
But it wasn’t all fun and games as it would appear. We also had our serious moments:
All in all, it was a fantastic event, that no blog post could ever do justice. I’ll close this up with a few photos of friends, new and old. Can’t wait for next year! If you’re interested in being part of this organized chaos, we’re hiring!
By the way, looking through all these photos (and I have tons more) and remembering the week has made this the most fun blog post I’ve ever written. 🙂
The kiddo just recently went on a school day-trip to DC. The tour buses left very early in the morning, much earlier than I’m accustomed to being awake nowadays. When I woke up, this was waiting on my desk:
Small gesture, large impact. Reminds me of another homecoming a while back. 🙂