The Automattic Grand Meetup experience: How Meetups boost the Distributed relations

So, it’s finally done and checked off the list. I’ve been to the Grand Meetup 2019 organized in Orlando, Florida by Automattic.

Since the day I joined, it was on my mind. I had equal share of excitement and assumptions related to meeting all the people I see everyday through the Slack window.

Joining Automattic in 2018, I knew I was joining a ginormous pool of amazingly skilled and lovely people who live and breathe WordPress. Working with everyone, and learning from them has been a key motive for me since the beginning.

At Automattic, we thrive on async communication, and we’ve developed an emotion with text based communication, which serves us well. We work in a distributed pattern, and everyone works where they feel home.

To bring each member of the company face to face, Automattic organizes events like the Team Meetup, and the Grand Meetup.

Each year team members meet in small group called a Team Meetups, and likewise the whole company also meets under one roof yearly – known as Grand Meetup.

Impressions and Takeaway

Bringing together 800+ people under one roof, around same time and in one piece is no small feat. The Events team at Auomattic deserves all the praise and love they get from the team. Throughout the event, the events team members were on their toes to make this experience enjoyable and fruitful for all the attendees.

I was amzed to see how easy it was to talk to any Automattician. Everyone was so polite, friendly and chatty. I was literally waving to any person with the Automattic badge passing by in hallway, and everytime they stopped and we had a great conversation.

Working in a distributed environment, we sometime care less about the real face to face time with our co-workers, and in my opinion the Grand Meetup (and the yearly Team Meetup) helps rejuvanate that.

Leaving the Grand Meetup I feel more connected with my company, and not just my team. I work as a Happiness Engineer with Automattic, and at the Grand Meetup I found myself in conversation with individuals like the Data Science Team Lead, Creative Technologist, a new hire in Mobile Design, an 11-year old Automattician, Code Warnglers, System Wranglers and who-not.

I got to learn a lot about what everyone does apart from just Happiness Division, and I now have a better understanding of our shared mission as the company, and what each team is doing to achieve it.

Events like Grand Meetup fill the gap left by the async communication, and timezone differences – and this is where I believe Automattic plays great.

Leaving the Grand Meeup I feel more connected, and well-informed about what I need to do to conribue not only towards my division, but also towards our shared goal as a company.

Looking forward to the Grand Meetup 2020 already!

Featured Image Credit:

PS: Some photos and social media takeover we did during the GM:

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💕 family portrait 💕 (📷: @joelwills77)

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Geeks and stickers #a8cgm

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