Joining Tumblr

Thrilled to announce I’ve joined Tumblr as head of product and technology. This new role means I get to work alongside industry veterans on a brand and a platform that I’ve admired for years — all while engaging with and creating new experiences for an amazing and diverse community of fans, creators, and brands.

With Automattic and Tumblr joining forces in September 2019, we’re keeping momentum going as we build products and experiences together. Tumblr is alive and kickin’! Especially recommend checking out the mobile apps (available in App Store and Google Play Store) as strong evidence of a thriving product development culture that deeply understands its user base.

What most excites me is the fit of my skills and experience with this new challenge. New learnings. Combines years of experience as a hands-on product developer with cross-functional operations at the executive level. My full range! Success means nurturing and developing an outstanding technical organization, purpose-driven to support a thriving online community and grow a healthy, sustainable business.

For product news and updates follow the Tumblr blog to keep up with the latest and greatest. Y también hablamos español, síganos en Tumblr: El blog del equipo.


For a brief taste of Tumblr:

Explore the archives on this isn’t happiness — an art scrapbook that’s curiously addicting…

Find the warm fuzzies on cozy.tumblr.com, as an alternative to news-obsessed social media…

Hear stories of discovering a community around shared interests at explore what you love;

And, enjoy Garfield Minus Garfield. (I love this one).

Follow me on Tumblr, too.

Two blogs going so far, with a few more in the works: nanobar.tumblr.com (main) and blackedoutrims.tumblr.com (side obsession número uno).

So many fun features to discover including this never-ending TV show and — for pros — lesser-known features like the dogear, fast reblog (use a long press on mobile), and fancy archive pages.

Leaders Shorten the Distance

Our job as leaders is to close the gap between the inconceivable to some but inevitable to us.

Paraphrased from Nancy Pelosi’s 2020 commencement address as Smith College (emphasis mine).

During this crisis and in the days, years, and weeks that will follow, the world needs your leadership too,” Pelosi said to the graduates. “Our goal as leaders is to shorten the distance between the inconceivable to some, but inevitable to us … Because Smithies are relentless and persistent, I’m confident in your ability to do so,” she continued.

Boston.com

Free Tutorial: Optimize Your Business Website

For any business owner, freelancer, entrepreneur, or anyone interesting in building an online business or side gig. This free webinar from WordPress.com web design pros (YouTube) will teach you tips on site design, SEO, monetization, and mobile optimization.

Kathryn Presner

Two weeks ago, my colleague Marjorie asked if I’d be interested in helping run a webinar for small businesses, with tips on getting the most out of their website. She knew I’d done a lot of public speaking and thought I might be interested. Even though we wouldn’t have a lot of time to prepare, it took me all of three seconds to accept.

Fast forward to yesterday, when my colleague Steve Dixon and I presented a one-hour online workshop called Optimize Your Business Website: Secrets from Web Design Pros. Topics included essential pages for business sites, layout templates, the WordPress block editor, and what it takes to optimize a site so it’s both easy to find in search engines – and easy for visitors to use. We also looked at how to make sure your site is both accessible and mobile-friendly, along with a few different ways to…

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From Panic to Bewilderment

“The first step is to tone down the prophecies of doom, and switch from panic mode to bewilderment. Panic is a form of hubris. It comes from the smug feeling that I know exactly where the world is heading — down. Bewilderment is more humble, and therefore more clear-sighted. If you feel like running down the street crying ‘The apocalypse is upon us!’, try telling yourself ‘No, it’s not that. Truth is, I just don’t understand what’s going on in the world.”

Yuval Noah Harari in 21 Lessons for the 21st Century.
Bewilderment is more humble

Via Book Freak Issue #51 by Mark Frauenfelder, a newsletter with “short pieces of advice from books.” Hat tip, Matt.

A Crash Course in Remote Management

Curious about managing teams while working remotely? Watch this free webinar for best practices.

A Crash Course in Remote Management — The WordPress.com Blog

Beginnings

It is always hard to believe that the courageous step is so close to us, that it is closer than we ever could imagine, that in fact, we already know what it is, and that the step is simpler, more radical than we had thought: which is why we so often prefer the story to be more elaborate, our identities clouded in fear, the horizon safely in the distance, the essay longer than it needs to be and the answer safely in the realm of impossibility.

This very simple step is all that is needed for the new responsibilities ahead.

From Consolations by David Whyte.

Simplenote is Back!

Still the best on-the-go notes app, clean and simple. Syncs instantly across devices, light/dark themes, always fast.

Simplenote

After a short hiatus, Simplenote is actively being developed again! We’ve been busy cleaning up the user interface, bringing old code up to date behind the scenes, and fixing some long-standing bugs. Check out the recent release notes below.

Android

  • Added search sorting by date created, date modified, and alphabetically with search history and suggestions.
  • Added a resizable note widget to view a note and open it in the app from the home screen.
  • Added an option to the Theme setting to follow the system day/night mode.
  • Updated dark theme with darker colors for less eye fatigue and better battery life.
  • Fixed multiple bugs with cursors for notes with checklists, syncing for deleting tags and emptying trash, and networking causing interface slowness.

Full Release Notes for Android

Electron (Linux/Windows/Web)

  • Added a sync indicator to show changes that haven’t yet been sent out to synchronize with the server and other devices.

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Review: Everything is Figureoutable

Everything is Figureoutable

Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo.

My Goodreads rating: 4 of 5 stars.

This is a powerful, pragmatic, and motivational reference that I’ll revisit again each year.

The basic premise throughout is that any problem, dream, goal, or task are figureoutable. Meaning that if I break it down into achievable steps, face my fears about starting it, and truly want to say “yes” to it — and then take full responsibility for failing and learning from the experience — I can and will “win” because I learn and grow.

All you need is one core meta belief, a master key that unlocks every imaginable door in the castle of your consciousness. It’s like throwing a switch that instantly illuminates a field of infinite potential. If you haven’t yet guessed, the whole purpose of this book is to inspire you to adopt the supremely powerful belief that everything is figureoutable!

Marie Forleo

The book is full of coaching tips, motivational stories, and testimonials from people who follow Marie’s teachings on MarieTV and her B-School course for entrepreneurs.

Read on Kindle, free from my local library.

View all my book reviews, and see my books on Goodreads.

Automattic Engineering Culture on Key Values

Automattic is hiring engineers across mobile and web, frontend and backend. Recently we partnered with Key Values to highlight our top values, from open communication and open source all the way to flexible work location and a focus on teams.

Listing of Automattic engineering values on the Key Values website.

Top values include:

  • Open communication: As a distributed company, communication is our oxygen.
  • Open source contributor: We believe open source is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation.
  • Committed to personal growth: The first line of our creed: “I’ll never stop learning.”
  • Flexible work arrangements: Set up remotely in a way that works for you — and take the time off you need.
  • High employee retention: Automattic employees tend to stay at Automattic: Our retention rate for Code Wranglers and JS Engineers is 86% over the last 5 years.
  • Heavily team oriented: Teams are how we organize our work, communication, meetups, and impact.
  • Engages with community: We are more motivated by impact than money.
  • Engineering-driven: First and foremost, we are an engineering company. Engineers are the ambassadors of our company and community.
A view of Automattic employees.

Check out the full list of Automattic engineering values here: https://www.keyvalues.com/automattic. And, if anything matches your interests and passion, please apply!

An Advice Process Paves the Way for Clear Decisions

In Brave New Work Aaron Dignan describes a wonderfully clear way to use an “advice process” to make better decisions.

Watch a short video on YouTube where author Aaron Dignan illustrates the advice process (at minute 4:45).

Start with consent by asking for agreement. Get buy-in and move things forward. This not consensus or everyone is 100% happy with it, instead it means it is safe to try.

Use an advice process. Whenever you’re about to make a decision that’s irreversible or could damage things, go seek advice from those who’ve done it before. And, seek advice from those affected by it.

This replaces the waiting and expectation for a leader to do something—top-down decision making—with your own judgement and responsibility.