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What a year.

Over 300.000 km of air travel, more than a combined total of 148 PRs contributed to (mostly) WooCommerce, WordPress and Tumblr iOS, around 90 interviews to potential new Automatticians, and a couple dozen of mobile coding tests reviewed, and two talks at different WordCamps.

Travel

When the year started, I was not expect it to be a busy one, in terms of travel. Oh, boy, was I wrong!

Some of the trips this year:

  • Several trips to Madrid. Folks back home are not in their best health, so I’m grateful I have been able to go back as many times as were needed. Working with Automattic really helps when it comes to having a healthy life-work relationship, and being available for family and friends.
  • Chicago, for my team meet-up. It was great meeting my team mates in person, and being able to assign a face and a 3-D structure to the people I work with.
  • Orlando, for Automattic’s GM. The GM was intense, and emotionally exhausting, but at the same time it was great. I got to hang out in real life with some of the folks I usually interact with, outside of my team.
  • Kuala Lumpur, for WordCamp KL. That was a neat WordCamp, extremely well organised, and with very high quality talks (sadly, mine was the exception)
  • New York, for the kick off of my rotation to Tumblr. Automattic acquired Tumblr a few months back, and a couple of months ago some folks from Automattic (myself included) got embedded in some of the teams at Tumblr. It’s been a blast so far!
  • A couple of trips to Toronto (and Vancouver 😍). That included staying in Toronto for the most part of July. Again, the perks of working in a fully remote and distributed company 😉
  • A lovely trip to Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Vaxjo.
  • A couple of trips to Thailand at the beginning of summer. Public holidays in Hong Kong are scarce, but this year things lined up quite well at the beginning of summer, and we managed to book a few three day trips. Koh Samui, in particular, was awesome!
  • Okinawa. Another lovely three day trip in summer.
  • Sydney! My first time in the Southern Hemisphere, and, well, my first time in Australia. Funny story, right next to the hotel we stayed at, we stumbled upon the Australian branch of a Swedish company I used to work for in another life. It’s a small world indeed.
  • A surprising amount of trips to Singapore. Don’t get me wrong, I like Singapore, maybe even more than Hong Kong, but I just didn’t know I liked it so much! To be fair, it is a fairly easy way to burn some airline miles. 🤷🏼‍♂️

As a side note, I finally got myself a Leica (a third hand Leica Q-P). I love that little camera! 😍

Work

This has been quite the year at work. I was lucky to be part of a great team, with a great culture, and that permeated into everything else I attempted during the year.

For most of the year, I have been contributing to WooCommerce iOS, and recently I started a rotation with one of the mobile teams at Tumblr, which is turning out to be a great experience. I find myself right now with one foot in Automattic and another in Tumblr, two different companies with two very different cultures and processes. Being in that position to compare both cultures from within, and hopefully being in a position to take something useful from the best of both cultures, is priceless.

Of course, not everything is rose coloured. If keeping up with all that is going on within Automattic on a daily basis is complicated, imagine also trying to be, at the same time, a good Tumblr-er.

But, if I may say so myself, the WordPress iOS app is a great tool to keep up with everything that happens internally. But that is probably a topic for another post.

One of the cool things about working at Automattic is the amount of opportunities you will find to raise your hand and say “I’ll do it!” (Knowing also that you will find the support you need).

And one of those opportunities showed up when the folks driving Auttomattic’s hiring efforts asked for help. So now, I get to spend a significant amount of time interviewing potential new Automatticians. This is a part of my job that I really enjoy as I get to chat with a lot of folks that share pretty interesting life stories! I am more convinced than ever that there is not just “one true path” to tech. And I am proud to be doing my little bit to help with Automattic’s focus on diversity.

I also gave public speaking a try (actually two tries). This is something that I’ve always wanted to do, even though it scares the crap out of me. Or precisely because it is a great way to push myself out of my comfort zone.

I am definitely an introvert, and I am not a native English speaker, so putting myself in front of unknown people, and trying to tell them a story in a language that I do not speak fluently has turned out to be challenging for sure.

The results were not great, but hey, no regrets! It has been a great learning experience that I do not regret one bit!

All in all, I would definitely sign for another year like 2019 right away, with all the challenges, all the difficult and frustrating moments, but also with all its rewards (and the personal and professional growth).

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