It’s my seven-year anniversary of signing up with WordPress.com. So much has happened in that time!
When I first started using WordPress.com, I did almost everything in WP-Admin and only occasionally remembered that “newdash” existed. But the new dashboard evolved over time (and we stopped calling it NewDash, which as anyone who has had to discuss post-modernism knows is not a sustainable name) and starting in January 2014, Matt Mullenweg described a new vision (not “newvision”) for WordPress.com, where people would manage their account rather than just a series of sites, and that WordPress.com would be a home for them. That project, of course, was Calypso. Now, I’m writing this post from my WordPress desktop app, where I can see all my WordPress sites, from my self-hosted testing sites for WooCommerce, to my self-indulgent sites, to my comfortable base here on this blog. Every day, I blog from my WordPress Android mobile app, and my current blogging streak is 324 days.
When I first started using WordPress.com, WordPress 3.0 (Thelonious Monk) had just – literally just the week before! – been released. We’re now up to version 4.8, which was released June 8 of this year. It may not sound like a lot, but that represents 180+ (my counting may be off) different version changes, from point releases to major overhauls, of the WordPress code. To put that in perspective, there are only 59 version changes from WordPress 0.7 to WordPress 3.0. Don’t confuse version changes with deployments, either. On WordPress.com alone, code was deployed 1,122 times this week. WordPress (the open source project, of which WordPress.com is the largest multisite installation) powers more than 28% of the web.
Just over two years ago, WooCommerce joined the Automattic family, but if you had asked me when I first signed up for WordPress.com if I imagined that would happen, I would have had to admit I had no idea what WooCommerce was. When I first started blogging, I had been married for a year, I had no kids, and I was working on my company’s intranet and helping build their external website using Citrix and PHP – which is shocking to me now on many levels. Mostly because I’ve spent so long away from that kind of CMS that it’s all fled my mind in haste and horror. During that time, I stumbled on the site CSS-Tricks, and I really enjoyed Chris Coyier’s voice on the site and his appreciation of WordPress. I suggested that my company use WordPress.com as a CMS for our internal magazine, insights (it’s still on a WordPress installation, by the way).
When I started using WordPress.com, I had no idea that I’d be one day working at Automattic, but I am rapidly approaching my 5 year anniversary with Automattic. According to some internal data, 18% of the company was hired before me, and 82% after me (so far). This makes me feel like an old-timer! Yet, every single day, I encounter questions I never expected to, scenarios I’d never imagined, and interactions with peers and customers that suprise and engage me. Every time I use WordPress.com, I’m think, even if for just a moment, about the time I was reading the WordPress Codex and getting myself more and more confused, hoping for something just a bit simplier, and then finding WordPress.com (but not realizing that the domain extension made any difference) and signing myself up. I recall the dawning realization that WordPress.com was different from WordPress the-open-source-project.
I consider myself lucky. I get to work with smart, fascinating people who I have only met because the company I work for is fully remote. I get to interact with people across the world on a daily basis that I would never otherwise be able to forge a connection with other than we work for the same company. It’s not a case that my company employs thousands of people in offices all around the world, and I talk to the people in my office and maybe a few others regularly; I have access to and talk with people in other countries as a matter of course during my day – not all of it is strictly work (or it could be thought of as “work adjacent”), and this is the true power of a dedicated remote environment. We have space to have our watercooler chats, and connect as humans, not just as colleagues who need each other to complete tasks.
I don’t know what the next 7 years have in store, but the next 3 years are going to be very exciting as WordPress.com, Jetpack, and WooCommerce continue to build and evolve, and as the open source project itself continues to power more and more of the web, and is adopted by and cared for and crafted by the passionate people who see open source as a powerful idea that can continue to elevate the entire internet. That first heady dip into WordPress.com seven years ago has shaped my life from that moment, in ways large and small, from freeing us to move wherever we want, to actually empowering us to be try for a third baby, to giving me the flexibility to be much more present and involved in the children’s lives. So much has WordPress.com influenced our lives, that we even gave Grant the middle name “WordPress.” * Join me in raising a glass or your heart in a toast to WordPress today! Thank you for seven fun and challenging years!
*No one reads to the end.