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The Year Without Pants

Wordpress.com and the Future of Work

By Scott Berkun
13-minute read
The Year Without Pants: Wordpress.com and the Future of Work by Scott Berkun

The Year without Pants offers an intimate look at life inside one of the most successful tech companies out there: Automattic, the brains behind sites like Wordpress.com and Polldaddy. By thinking outside the box, abandoning tradition and cutting the fat from your processes, you too can follow Automattic’s example and jumpstart innovation.

  • Entrepreneurs from any industry
  • Start-up CEOs
  • Employees in tech industries

Scott Berkun has written six popular books on creativity, leadership, philosophy and speaking, and is a regular blog contributor for Harvard Business and BusinessWeek. He was formerly a co-host on CNBC’s The Business of Innovation, and taught creativity at the University of Washington.

 

© Scott Berkun: The Year Without Pants copyright 2013, John Wiley & Sons Inc. Used by permission of John Wiley & Sons Inc. and shall not be made available to any unauthorized third parties.

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The Year Without Pants

Wordpress.com and the Future of Work

By Scott Berkun
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Contains 8 key ideas
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The Year Without Pants: Wordpress.com and the Future of Work by Scott Berkun
Synopsis

The Year without Pants offers an intimate look at life inside one of the most successful tech companies out there: Automattic, the brains behind sites like Wordpress.com and Polldaddy. By thinking outside the box, abandoning tradition and cutting the fat from your processes, you too can follow Automattic’s example and jumpstart innovation.

Key idea 1 of 8

If you want your employees to be independent, hire people you can trust.

If you’ve browsed the web, you’ve seen the name WordPress. It’s among the most popular blogging platforms available.

WordPress.com was started by Automattic, one of the most famous web developers in the world.

They’re known for their awesome team spirit and flexible working environment, which attract developers from all across the world. Getting a job there, however, isn’t easy.

Automattic places heavy emphasis on hiring precisely the right people for the job.

At other job interviews, you might face abstract questions designed to test your problem-solving skills, such as: How many ping pong balls can you fit into a 747?

Not at Automattic. Here they prefer to concentrate on assessing the concrete skills you’ll need to do your job. So, interviewees are instead tasked with completing a small project, using the tools and techniques that would be available to them if they joined the team. This way, only the people who can actually do the job get recruited, not the ones who are best at interviews.

After recruitment, Automattic ensures that staff are immediately trained in the most important area of the business: customer support.

With any new job, people can concentrate so much on their own little world that they ignore the wider goals of the company. To counteract this, Automattic starts their employees off in customer-facing roles, where they learn that the client is all important.

The author, for example, spent his first weeks at Automattic as a Happiness Engineer. Each day was spent dealing with customer problems in different areas of the company. This ingrained in him the knowledge that, wherever he worked in the company, the needs of the customer would always come first.

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