Matt Chowning

Matt Chowning

Mobile Wrangler on Gutenberg Mobile
Joined June 2019

I’ve been with Automattic for almost two years, and one of the things that excites me the most about working here is the people — Automattic has the most interesting, diverse, and exciting group of people that I’ve ever worked with. I’ve thought about how Automattic has been able to attract (and keep) such incredible people and I think the secret is the freedom we have in our work — it allows many different people to not just “fit in” here, but to thrive.

When I joined Automattic, one of the first ways I felt that freedom was discovering I wasn’t restricted to only working within my “role” as a developer. Almost all communication within the company is open to anyone, so I could read about any part of the company that I was interested in. I’m interested in data analysis, so one of the first places I looked was at what the data analysis teams were doing.

Following and learning about what the other teams are doing is great, but I wouldn’t feel very fulfilled if I was only watching from the sidelines. Fortunately, I’ve found that the teams at Automattic not only welcome, but depend on, people coming forward from outside their team with a desire to contribute.

“I practiced law for eight years before becoming a developer, so I expressed an interest in updating the license on some of our largest open-source repositories…”

For example, my background is a bit unusual in that I practiced law for eight years before becoming a developer, so I expressed an interest in updating the license on some of our largest open-source repositories. I am now coordinating that work, which involves working closely with multiple teams, including the legal team. In just the last three months, I have also worked with HR on hiring initiatives, and with the data teams to better analyze our users to improve our products. I’ve even seen this kind of collaboration result in career shifts: In the last two years, developers have switched to both the data analysis and hiring teams, and I know of Happiness Engineers who have switched to developer roles.

Automattic’s commitment to distributed work also lets me work how, where, and when is best for me. I work from home, and I have my office set up just the way I like it: a motorized standing desk with a walking treadmill that I can slide out of the way when I want to sit down.

“I tend to get some work done early in the morning before my family is awake, and then take an extended break in the middle of the day to rest and recharge.”

Many people are working from home these days, but it’s different at Automattic because you have complete freedom to choose your hours. The fact that I work directly with people all across the world (currently Automattic has employees in 79 countries), means that it is always in the middle of the day for some people, and the middle of the night for others, so there are no “core working hours.” I tend to get some work done early in the morning before my family is awake, and then take an extended break in the middle of the day to rest and recharge.

Of course, there’s a reason that many companies require overlapping hours: effective asynchronous communication is hard. This is where Automattic’s 15 years of experience building tools and fostering a culture around asynchronous communication becomes a huge factor: I’ve found it is much easier to collaborate asynchronously at Automattic compared to my experience at previous companies.

These are just a few of the things I love about working for Automattic. There are many others so if you’re thinking about applying, I hope you go for it! I think you’ll be happy you did, and we would love to get to know you!

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