Today, I started my day asking myself:
“How much longer will you hold off on applying to join Automattic?!”
Before I answer that, let’s take a quick (imaginary) trip to 1991, when I was in fourth grade of primary school.
That year something amazing happened in my school: two groups of fifth-grade students started a school newspaper each.
I was thrilled!
After asking both groups to join them, I got two negative answers on the grounds that I am not a good fit in their culture.
I was shocked, but the negative answers —or me getting shocked— is not what matters.
What matters is what I did next.
My next move was to found another paper.
One open to editor applications and focused or reader needs.
A paper that its content was based on reader interests (after inquiring them in regard) and also focused on the arts. We were even having promotions where a customer could get an on-the-spot full-page copy of one of the sketches included with our paper, along with their purchase.
“Just another school newspaper”?
Fast forward to 2007 and the point in my life where I promised myself I would stop trying to fit in conventional workflows and I registered CrowdedTent.
Having already some background and appreciation for open source software —namely Linux distributions— it wasn’t long before I discovered WordPress.
WordPress initially helped me advance my workflow and deliver faster results to clients, but it wasn’t until a brief chat with my (similar-aged) sister when I realized that more business does not necessarily mean only expanding my clientele. It also meant having repeat customers.
This chat ultimately helped me establish a different connection with them; which resulted in happier, more passionate and loyal customers. One where it is made absolutely clear that we work collectively, as a team, and that our relationship does not end when we deliver a website or experience online. That shift alone translated in a lot more repeating business and, at the same time, excellent referrals which in turn meant more business.
It is now summer of 2014 and by the end of this year I am about to bridge “I” with “we” on a WordPress level.
I have to admit that it took some time. Seven years was no little time, but it just so happens to coincide with the 7-year-itch in relationships. It all happened very quickly after I received an email newsletter from then WooThemes, mentioning WordCamp Europe. “Come meet us” it said; “Will happen this September in Sofia, Bulgaria” it said.
Little did I know that in Sofia that year I would get to meet in person Matt, Mark, Andrew, Remkus, Luca, Rocío, Vivienne, Maxime, Nikos, Fotis, Konstantin, Nemanja, Marina, Barry, Mike, Noel, Alexandru, Davide, and Siobhan, among others.
Siobhan had just started interning and Konstantin was a code wrangler with Automattic.
Impostor syndrome was really strong with me back then. “You should apply anyway” Konstantin said; “At the very least you will have a track record to show between the first application and the next” he said.
That September, WordCamp Europe had shown me such an amazing time and infused me with such energy that immediately following it I moved to the island of Crete, became a founding member of both its WordPress meetups and so far I’m attending and volunteering at every WordCamp I possibly can.
No, I am not participating for the presentations alone.
I am participating because of the community of the people participating, the energy in the air and my determination to share it with as many more people as possible.
Through the years I am also playing the role of a communicator. Getting people in touch; acting as a bridge if you like. This comes easily to me since I am an extrovert and positive person by nature.
Nothing makes my day more than hearing that I helped by getting two or more people in touch.
Introverts, freelancers, solopreneurs and businesses alike.
Which brings us to “What one event are you currently most proud of executing?”
My answer is this year’s WordCamp Europe, of course! It is so amazing to collaborate with a big and diverse group of people from different disciplines. Our input not only affects our everyday lives co-organising the event but ultimately the experience of everyone attending it this June in Belgrade.
Initially, I had the pleasure to participate in the design team for the first six months, where I helped set the design foundations for this year’s event.
While now, I have the privilege to participate in the sponsors team of the event, alongside Luca.
The same Luca that I met and admire since WordCamp Europe 2014.
No, it is not all about WordCamps and the WordPress ecosystem.
WebCamp Zagreb 2017, among others, clearly showed this to me and I aim to continue in this direction.
Now, back to my original question: “How much longer will you hold off on applying to join Automattic?!”
Application is sent now and I am awaiting for a response.
Very grateful for everything in my life so far,