WordPress was my first introduction to the idea of distributed work — we didn’t need to live in the same place or work in the same office to build something that changes the world. So when I started building Automattic in 2005, we took the exact same approach. All you needed was good WiFi and a dream.
Fast forward to 2019, and Automattic remains a fully distributed company, with 900 employees working from 68 countries and no central office. Now that we’ve been working this way for over a decade, I wanted to create a podcast to tell the story of distributed work — not just sharing everything we’ve learned at Automattic, but speaking with other companies, executives, and creators who are pioneering the future of work. We’re going to learn about the practical application of distributed work in our daily lives, but also answer the bigger questions about why it’s important.Matt Mullenweg
Forward-looking new series about distributed work from the founder of WordPress and Automattic (my employer).
Keep learning. You’ve only touched the edge of the issue. Develop your judgement, which is essentially decision making under uncertainty. Pattern matching: keep growing your pattern matching database, and be very conscious about it.
Heard on the a16z podcast for March 26, 2018 with Andy Rachleff, Wealthfront founder and CEO.
You can build something that the cool kids love. You can build something that the bystanders love. Or you can build a cult favorite. Best to do it on purpose.
Via Seth Godin’s new podcast, Akimbo.
A cognitive empathy experiment: Do you see differently when you change your angle of view?
I heard a perfect example of this recently in the NPR “Hidden Brain” podcast. The episode’s guest speaker describes a medical organization where doctors and nurses wouldn’t notice details in hospital rooms to make patients more happy and comfortable — yet the hospital cleaning staff did notice.
Their special viewpoint? A different angle, looking at the ceiling to see what the patient sees when they lie down in the hospital bed. Is there dirt there, dust, or something else undesirable? What could they then do to make it look nice, safe, inviting?
Looking at what other people see helps to understand how they perceive the situation; how they view the world.
Listen to the episode: You 2.0: Dream Jobs.
Two weeks ago I mentioned the notion of think as a poet, work as a bookkeeper. Not surprisingly I heard an echo of this on a new summer series on the “Hidden Brain” NPR radio show. The first episode — You 2.0: The Value Of ‘Deep Work’ In An Age Of Distraction — features Deep Work author Cal Newton (I haven’t read his book yet, but my colleague Jeremey DuVall posted a detailed 5-star review).
In the show, Cal Newton brings up a quote by David Brooks:
Think like artists but work like accountants.
Echoes of E.O. Wilson? Yes, I’m going to assume Wilson said it first. Either way, it’s a brilliant way to frame the paradox of disciplined work to drive creativity and free thinking.
System shutdown complete.