Wapuu Colouring Pages

My family has fallen in love with Wapuu, especially my son. He loves his Wapuu shirt and every time he puts it on in the morning he asks me if I’ll wear mine too.

Lately he has been drawing and painting versions of Wapuu. He came home from school excited the other day to show me what appeared to be a giraffe version with a very long neck.

In case you’re somehow not familiar with Wapuu you can find out more about him here http://wapuu.jp/

Today I had a few minutes so I decided to help him out a bit and took a couple of images and turned them into colouring pages for him to do. They aren’t a great job and the Wapuunk version was a bit tricky in spots, but printed out they will do the trick for him.

If you’re interested you can grab them here.

Feast or Famine

When I was running my own business it seemed work always came in peaks and valleys. Helping people get online was always my favourite part of it. Having to worry about making sure I had the next project to work on when one was finished, I hated.

Not knowing when I would be paid for from someone was hard too. Really I guess it comes down to the fact that I didn’t like and wasn’t good at the business part. It felt like a catch 22 situation, I could find someone to help with the business part but was never really busy enough to justify or afford that. 

In the past few months I’ve ended up having more inquiries and people looking for web development work than I did in a long time. If I wasn’t 100% sure that I’m in the right spot at Automattic it would almost be tempting to take a look. 

Just one of the great parts of working at Automattic and supporting WordPress.com is that I still get to help people all day get setup online without having to make sure there was a next person to help. There is a steady stream of users looking for help from me.

It’s not quite the same thing as going from the beginning to the end with one client but everyday I get to help many people. Some it might just be a small question but others it’s finding out what they really need and if WordPress.com is the best option for them. I wish I had of used WordPress.com more when I was doing client work. For many of the sites I did it would have been more than enough without having to worry about server side aspect of things at all. 

Joining Automattic

This post has been rattling around inside me for some time now so I think it’s about time that I get to writing. It’s been just about a month since I first started working full time at Automattic but the whole process started long before that.

I’ve been using WordPress to build websites for quite some time. I signed up for a WordPress.com account in 2007 I’m guessing to get an API key to use Akismet to handle spam on one of my self hosted sites. Years later I did help a client customize a site on WordPress.com but for the vast majority of the work I did it was all self hosted version of WordPress.

I know I had heard about the company Automattic before this, but the first real time I remember it was in 2010 when I heard Matt Mullenweg on an episode of the Big Web Show that I really realized what they were doing. I had just recently graduated from University and was just getting started so I never really considered applying at that time.

It wasn’t until July of this year that I ended up reading another interview of Matt. It really struck me that I might actually stand a chance at working for this company and it sounded like an amazing place to work. So I set out an applied to be a Happiness Engineer. But I rushed it and I didn’t do a good job of presenting myself. It didn’t take long before I received an email saying they weren’t interested at this time with the suggestion to volunteer in the support forums to better get to know the product and to get a feel for some of the work I would be doing if I was hired.

If there has ever been something that I’ve been good at over the years though it is getting the job. I don’t have a good track record of staying at one place very long though. It’s certainly not because I haven’t worked for good companies but I always just thought I saw something better, got bored, or something made me unhappy. I’m fairly certain a lot of it was just not being overly happy with myself though.

With that in mind I slowed things down a bit and made sure when I applied again I would make sure I would at least get to the interview stage. I didn’t even wait a long time to reapply, but I worked hard in the forums trying my best to help people and to get to know the WordPress.com product. I started using my WordPress.com account as well which this blog is on.

At this time it wasn’t until mid September that I heard back again, but this time I was offered an interview. The hiring process is tough, and long, but it I really appreciate it and I’m convinced that our hiring team knows how to find the right people because I haven’t had a negative interaction with anyone yet.

After my interview I was asked to do a small project. In this case I was asked to look though the existing support documentation and find a something that needed improving and fix it, or find something that didn’t exist and write it. From there they must have liked what I did and I moved onto a second interview. Keep in mind that all these interviews and communication were text based. Arranging times over email, but then the actual chats over Skype messaging.

At the end of the second interview I was asked to do a Trial. This entails essentially doing the job as a contractor for a number of weeks. This allows you to really figure out what the job is and if you like it, and allows them to ensure that you are a right fit for the team as well. No one expects you to do it for free, or to leave a job you already have to do the trial. They are flexible and allow you to work the hours you can around your existing job and responsibilities.

Obviously the more time you put in the faster you will figure things out so my wonderful wife Jen basically completely took over the household while I worked all day at the University and then came home and put in as many hours as I could into the Trial. It was honestly exhausting and at one point I really almost burnt myself out so I slowed down a bit.

I love the Trial aspect of hiring. One job I previously took I tried to get the company to let me come in and get a feel for the job, the environment, and the team before I accepted an offer. I would do it for free on my own time, I just wanted to make sure I was making the right decision. They let me come in for a few hours one day, but that really doesn’t give you a full picture of how things will be. For Automattic to immediately give me access to just about everything full time employees have access to and let me learn as much about the job as the company and the culture itself works well for both them and me. Plus they paid me well to do it.

On my birthday October 30th I was having a feedback chat with my hiring team at the end they surprised me with the good news that they were happy with everything I did during the Trial and they were moving me to the final part of the hiring process. That is a chat with the CEO Matt himself. This part amazes me as well. He still talks to every person and signs off on them before they are hired. Keep in mind how crazy busy his schedule must be even without the hiring aspect, but to take the time to talk to me for a long time truly shows how much he cares about the company and the employees alike. I was nervous as can be but it went well and at the end he told me was offering me a job and sent the letter of offer.

It’s been a fairly long journey to this point, but it is only getting started. You are a trusted and valued employee and it shows in everything the company does. In return we all love the company and what we do. I mean how great is it that I get to help people get themselves setup online so they can share their thoughts and ideas. I honestly feel that this company and this position were almost tailor made for me.

We are hiring so if you want to hear more certainly let me know, or better yet visit our site and apply.

New T-Shirt

Ordered this a few weeks ago and it just arrived today.

It is just in time as I have a feeling over the next few weeks this will be even more true than usual. Lots of late nights and long days. So much to learn and do!

Healthy BMI Calculator WordPress Plugin

This is one of two Plugins I recently released to the WordPress community that I had developed for my personal health blog, http://health.sandym.ca.

I found myself calculating my BMI fairly often as I was losing weight. I wanted a quick and easy way to do this and find out what weight I needed to be to finally be considered a healthy weight.

I also wanted both metric measure and US style measurements. I looked and couldn’t find anything that did what I wanted to so put this together.

All it does is adds a calculator to your site either via a Widget or Shortcode [sm_bmi_calculator].

The only settings you have for the widget are the title and the color you want for the background of the results.

Note: This is only for self hosted WordPress.org websites. Not sites hosted on WordPress.com

Visit the plugin site at: http://wordpress.org/plugins/healthy-bmi-calculator/

Health Progress WordPress Plugin

This is one of two Plugins I recently released to the WordPress community that I had developed for my personal health blog, http://health.sandym.ca.

It is pretty simple plugin but it does exactly what I was looking for it to do and hopefully others will find it useful as well.

I wanted a way to keep track of some basic measurements from when I started working at becoming healthy. Since I started a blog I decided I would display it on there as well.

So this plugin creates a Widget that will let you display what ever measurements you would like.

Once the plugin is installed all you need to do is go to the Settings page in your dashboard, set the number of fields you want to track, then fill in your starting measurements and the date you’re starting.

Then go to the Widgets area drag it to the area you want to display and fill in your current measurements. Then whenever you want to update just go back into the widget settings and update the current measurements.

Note: This is only for self hosted WordPress.org websites. Not sites hosted on WordPress.com

Visit the plugin site at: http://wordpress.org/plugins/health-progress/