For the last two weeks, I have been visiting Orlando, Florida, attending Automattic’s annual Grand Meetup! (We all call it the GM.) This is the only time of the year when the whole company actually gets together in person. We spend a week doing a bunch of stuff! My schedule included…
- Meeting my team members for the first time
- Meeting literally hundreds of other new people
- Attending and learning from keynote sessions with speakers from outside the company
- Attending and learning from other workshops with internal speakers
- Doing my normal job, assisting our customers through email support
- Hanging out with a bunch of fellow Automatticians and just having fun!
Until now, my work has involved mostly other Happiness Engineers. I had interacted with a couple developers, a couple from HR, but that was it. During the GM, I had meals with folks from marketing, accounting, events wrangling, and many other divisions in the company. I met people who had been there two weeks to some who had been there over 12 years. I met people from almost every continent on the world. I don’t think I have ever been in such a diverse crowd of people!
The first few days were overwhelming. I actually found it relaxing working on customer tickets, as it was something I was used to. (Strange how customer interactions were so nerve racking back in the Trial, and now they are actually comforting!!) But after a few days, I finally got used to the environment and the GM program itself. By the end, I was enjoying the opportunity to meet so many talented people!
Thanks to the Events Team who did a fabulous job decking out the place with the Automattic creed! I actually asked the hotel staff one day if we had booked the whole hotel or not. We hadn’t… which means all those other guests would have got a good dose of Automattic, too 🙂 (Checkout Pam’s blog post here to see the full extent of the hotel’s Automatticization!)
There is a whole lot more that happened at the GM. I’ve been back 3 days and I’m still remembering different episodes and details to share with my wife. The GM was a great opportunity! Once a year is enough (we were all exhausted by the end!) But I can see the benefit in having this once every year. Thank you Automattic!