How All Hands Support Works at Automattic

A photo of 400+ Automatticians at our last Grand Meetup. Most of these individuals work in all hands support at least once a year.

We now have close to 300 non-support employees at Automattic. Yet, each year most one of them (even Matt, our CEO) helps out in support. It’s a practice commonly known as “All Hands Support” (also referred to as Support Weeks at Automattic).

I’ve been helping to wrangle Support Weeks at Automattic for a bit over two years now. As our company continues to grow, it can certainly get a bit complicated at times, but we think it provides great value to the company. Here’s a bit more about why we believe Support Weeks are important and how we go about implementing them across a 400+ person company.

Full disclosure, this is the process in place at the moment, but it’s bound to change and evolve as time goes on. Also, if you find yourself reading this and wanting to know more, join the Support Driven Slack group and ping me (@duvall).

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5 Lessons I’ve Learned From One Year at Automattic

As of a few days ago, I’ve now been working for Automattic, makers of WordPress.com, for just over a year. It’s hard to believe that just a short time ago, I was ending my trial and starting full-time on a product that I both love and believe in.

I’ve written quite a bit about the trial process and what a day in the life of a Happiness Engineer looks like. But, I haven’t written much about insights working for a distributed company or how I now view customer support. In other words, what I’ve learned over the past year working at Automattic. In no particular order, here are the top five items.

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Yes, I Work in Customer Support

I often have a hard time communicating exactly what I do on a daily basis when someone inevitably asks. It might be that they’re not familiar with WordPress.com (although that’s becoming rarer!), or they’re just not very interested in tech at all. In the beginning, there was also a bigger issue that I hated to admit. The role of customer support also just felt, oh I don’t know, a little embarrassing.

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A Day in the Life of a Happiness Engineer

This week, many of us at Automattic are documenting our day to give everyone an idea of what it’s like to work for an entirely distributed company. If you’re interested in reading more you can follow the tag #a8cday at WordPress.com and on Twitter. Here’s my day as a Happiness Engineer.

Whenever I tell someone I’m a Happiness Engineer, I normally get a blank stare followed by one of two reactions:

  1. The person pretends like they know what that means and no further questions are asked.
  2. A short chuckle ensues with the follow-up question, “So, what does that mean?”

I definitely understand. Before working at Automattic, I had no real idea what a Happiness Engineer might do.

So, what does a Happiness Engineer actually do on a daily basis? The short answer: we do whatever it takes to make the user experience as great as possible at WordPress.com. For those that want more, here’s my complete schedule from October 6th, 2014 to give you an idea of what it’s like to work for a company that is 100% distributed.

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Fully Automattic – Joining the WordPress.com Family

I’m extremely happy to announce that I’m joining the Automattic team (the parent company of WordPress.com) as a Happiness Engineer starting on Monday, October 28th.

I couldn’t be more excited to join a team of passionate people that are helping to power a large portion of the web including many writers, designers, and creative folk. In fact, I didn’t know this until recently, but WordPress effectively powers close to 20% of the web. That’s pretty impressive in itself. To make matters more impressive, they accomplish this large reach even with a much smaller staff in comparison to other companies with a similar-sized audience:

Monthly Uniques (US) Employees
Google.com 196M 53,861
Facebook.com 140M 4,619
WordPress.com 130M 211
Amazon.com 79M 88,400
Yahoo.com 69M 11,700
eBay.com 68M 31,500
Aol.com 34M 5,660

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