My experience on Trial at Automattic

Last week, I finished my Trial at Automattic. While I wasn’t successful in my bid to work for a company that I hugely admire, I appreciate the experience and insight that I was able to gain from my few weeks working with them.

How it all began

I’ve been toying with the idea of giving up engineering as my career and moving into web development full-time, as I’m enjoying it a lot more.

My plan had been to do freelancing full-time, but to give up a steady professional salary and benefits for the uncertainty of freelancing is daunting. If someone could pay my salary for 6 months while I build up my workload and client list, I could easily earn well in excess of what I make as a professional engineer. However, I haven’t had any applications for someone willing to do that for me.

So when I read that my friend Dustin Hartzler had recently landed himself a job at Automattic, it turned on a light bulb in my head. I started considering whether I wanted to work for Automattic, and the more I read, the more I wanted to jump right in (I’ll explore the benefits of working for Automattic later).

Our experience with Katrina Hollon, Holistic Maternity

We were very excited when we first met and hired Katrina as our midwife. She just fit our personality types very well (laid back, sensible, professional, nature-driven) and we knew that it was a good fit.

Well, here we are now, over 7 months later with a baby in our hands, so I thought I’d write a little about our overall experience.

Katrina was wonderful throughout Martina’s pregnancy. She was always gentle, informative, flexible and friendly. No question was ever too stupid, no concern ever too trivial and no need ever unmet.

50 things to do before the end of 2013

I’ve seen several of these lists in the past few years and I’ve always wanted to do one. And now that I have an appropriate place to do one, and the desire to be a better person, I decided it’s time to do one. I realise that the normal time to build this list is at the start of the year, but I’ve only just settled on it, so I’m doing it now.

I’m not sure how this year is going to pan out, because after June, time will be very restricted, because of the birth of our daughter, but I’ll try my best nonetheless.


  1. Deliver my daughter personally, at home.
  2. Discover more new music.
  3. Eat completely vegan for 30 days straight.
  4. Be more extroverted and work on my people skills.
  5. Take several “tech holidays”, each lasting at least 72 hours.
  6. Buy myself some new clothes and not feel bad about it.
  7. Lose the last 15 pounds.
  8. Stop biting my nails.
  9. Watch a film at a drive-in.
  10. Eat at a food truck.
  11. Try a cuisine I’ve never had before.
  12. Have a guys’ night.
  13. Care less about what other people think of me.
  14. Do more yoga.
  15. Go kayaking.
  16. Do more photography.
  17. Read ‘The Shack’.
  18. Keep blogging here regularly
  19. Go to at least two state parks that I’ve not been to before.
  20. Be less concerned about what others think of me.
  21. Eat less, more often – do better at snacking healthily.
  22. Watch the British GP.
  23. Watch England’s World Cup qualifying matches.
  24. Watch more British TV.
  25. Watch 5 classic films that I’ve never seen before.


  1. Call my siblings once a month.
  2. Speak to my parents more regularly.
  3. Visit home and try and take Martina and our daughter with us.
  4. Spend time alone with my daughter at least once a week.
  5. Take my wife out for some proper dates.
  6. Buy more presents for my wife, for no reason.
  7. Write a letter to my unborn daughter to be opened on her 18th birthday.
  8. Be more present when around other people (leave mobile phone in pocket).
  9. Do more home-cooked meals and less prepared foods.
  10. Have a better NYE than in years past.
  11. Save more.
  12. Take lots of pictures of my daughter.
  13. Create a new family Christmas tradition.
  14. Write a love letter.


  1. Give away at least $1000 on top of my regular tithe.
  2. Do a random act of kindness at least once a fortnight.
  3. Write letters to my best friends.
  4. Buy a scratch card and send it to someone randomly.
  5. Help a stranger.
  6. Tip a waiter/waitress 100%.


  1. Blog more consistently across all my sites.
  2. Go to a WordCamp, or local WordPress meetup.
  3. Leave work at work, but work more at work (less procrastination, more action).
  4. Contribute to the WordPress core.
  5. Try to increase Alexa Rank to 40,000 or better.

Have you ever considered doing a list like this? There’s something about writing it down and checking things off (I’m a list maker) that makes it more like a game, especially as you move beyond the half-way mark and try to to narrow down the final tasks that will complete the list.


Martina treated me for my birthday and bought me tickets for Muse. She was originally supposed to come, but since she was pregnant, we decided it wasn’t the best idea for her to come.

It was the best concert of my life. Absolutely fantastic. The band themselves are incredible live, and then the sound, effects, energy, lighting and lasers just made for an unforgettable experience.