j a m i e

WordCamp EU

Over already, time flies when you’re having fun.

Continuing on from WordCamp London I was chosen to also attend WordCamp EU, in Paris for 16th & 17th June.

WordCamp London prepared me for the usual stuff, the volume of visitors though had rocketed from ~500 up to almost 3,000 which was crazy! Also bumped into a few old faces which was cool.

I arrived late Thursday night after having my flight delayed. Friday was intense, from 7:30AM through to almost 6AM, Within the first 3 hours we’d given away the lions share of our T-Shirts, through the years WP Engine have gotten a name for themselves for having the best shirts in the business, which I’d tend to agree with. New designs for every convention and actual proper fabrics – not run of the mill tees with a logo, bright color and starched. We also had some of the usual stuff, shades, a bunch of stickers and our French themed sticker too! And fidget spinners.

Thursday night we had a trés exclusive afterparty at a bar in town, the spicy home. Around 100-150 people squeezed in and somehow we had a magician. After that, we showed up to another afterparty we co-sponsored for plugin development. Fell into bed around 1am to do it all again Saturday. Worth noting at some point around then one of my own personal servers had a raid array fail over, ultimately lost a whopping 18tb of backups. Re-downloading them as we speak.

Thankfully, Saturday was quieter. That coupled with our now almost depleted stock let us have a bit of a breather and some of us managed to get in a talk. Luckily, I managed to grab the Q&A with WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg which was really good. On the whole, it’s great to start recognising people, even those from competing companies and having a chat. As always, it’s fantastic to have clients come up to us also with their success stories, of how much they enjoy it with us. It’s great to know that we’re making peoples lives easier, good for the soul.

That’s pretty much it, writing this up from a Bus Eireann rattler that’s still an hour from Limerick. Can’t win em all.

So, a blog.

Figured I should write up one of these.

6 months ago I couldn’t have imagined I’d be where I am today. 7 weeks (or 8) into a new job with an awesome company, been to Austin Texas for two weeks to meet a bunch of new people, new apartment, a macbook pro (UGH)….lots of stuff happened.

I wasn’t even supposed to be in Limerick when i first heard of the job. I moved out of an apartment I was leasing with a friend (Eoin) in July and moved in with Barry and his fiance, Mel for a few weeks to tie up some loose ends in Limerick. Two weeks turned into five weeks as things dragged their heels. One night while me and Barry were chilling in his office (we had both of our computers set up in this small office, it was great) he got a LinkedIn message off a recruiter in Texas. That led to a skype interview a few days afterwards which ended up running 20 minutes late. Instead of leaving the room when the call eventually did come, I just slinked into the corner of the room. It was late, like 10:30pm or something but they were chatting away while I was off in my own world, headset on. Must have been 20 minutes or so into it when Roxanne (hey!) asked what was up with the two monitors behind barry. I awkwardly waved back at his webcam, caught completely by surprise. Few minutes afterwards Barry was asked a question on nginx/apache and the question was passed to me. 4-5 weeks later I got the job offer. None of it would have been possible without Barry & Mel being so nice and kind, you guys are amazing.

That’s not all. I managed to screw up the address for the in-person interview and arrived 15 minutes late. My manager references took 17 (SEVENTEEN) days to come in. My passport was out of date and had to be rush renewed. I was still living as a third wheel! It’s a miracle I got to the 4th skype interview, let alone got the job at all. Oh yeah, 2 days before the job was starting I managed to sprain my ankle really bad. Great. 7 weeks later and I’m still walking like a cripple.

But I got the job. That was 7 weeks or so ago. In those 7 weeks we spent the first two training in our office in Limerick with Josh Garduna, our first real introduction to what this company was (we’ll come back to him later). Everyones met managers before but managers often say a whole load of stuff, then it turns out it was basically a pack of lies. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. When I was awaiting the job offer I looked around online to try figure out what kind of place I was going to be working for. The usual stuff was there, “great job, love it” with the odd sour comment saying they hated it. Nothing out of the ordinary, I just assumed it was going to be another normal job, except this time in IT. Well one day we got an invitation to have a meal with Nick, Brian and Richard. I think there was 6 (of the 9 that would get hired) of us there not including the managers and ever since we sat down we knew this wasn’t going to be the same as any other company. We were reminded repeatedly of the freedom and trust being put in us, how they expected us to work yet also to enjoy work. Put ourselves first, job second – it all sounded great but too good to be true. Once we started training Josh (TUNAAAA) drove those points home without even really trying to. Josh was flown in from San Antonio for our first 3 weeks, it was great. He told us not to take everything too seriously, how to have a little fun and how to solve 30+ breakfixes that we’re never going to meet in the wild apparently, thanks for that Josh. I think it was 3 weeks he was with us before he departed for home, us following him shortly over to Austin for our 2 weeks! Josh is my homeboy, it’s unbelievable how even though he left weeks ago he’s left a huge mark on all of us. Not only that but the people that followed after him, Foster and BP have also been so great and helpful. It’s nuts, when am I going to meet the inevitable douche?

Austin was great, it was HOT and so god-damn HUMID. Work was awesome though, we got a real taste of the company culture that everybody was talking about. I’ve never worked anywhere before where everything was so relaxed, so laid back. I laughed more at Matt making a dumb face the last 6 weeks than I probably did all year. The food was great, the servings were often huge and breakfast tacos kick ass. I’m not a craft beer guy, I have boring taste but it was really cool how ingrained craft beer was in Austin. Everything seemed so homely, the southern hospitality oozed out of everybody. BJ especially has been like a father to us this whole time. In Austin we worked closest with Foster, Trey and Duke who were all so good to us, it’s amazing, every night after work there was always somebody coming out to have a few beers with us despite them not even knowing us a few days prior. That doesn’t really happen in Ireland. We also got to spend a day in San Antonio where we met their much smaller, second little base in Texas. Home of The Alamo, Roxanne, Tuna and a lot of buildings that look way older than they really are. San Antonio was fun but we had to rush to beat traffic, yet got stuck in it anyway.

I’ve gone a few paragraphs without saying a word about my co-workers. The short of it is they’re great, we’re a diverse bunch with different tastes and hobbies. They’re funny, laid back and don’t hate me. There’s nothing more I feel like I have to say, it’s fantastic. We’re after having several meet & greets with possible new hires also. It’s great to be so included in this sort of stuff, and it’s really cool that you get to talk to people and get a handle on them before (possibly) working with them.

Since we’ve come back from Austin it’s been 3 weeks of slowly taking off training wheels basically. We’ve had to learn how to “get over yourself and ask the dumb questions” because lets face it, it’s going to happen if we don’t ask anyway. Plus there is literally people in Austin 3rd shift (night shift) jumping to help us and point us in the right direction. It really makes you want to give back too, it’s a very healthy and positive work environment.

Other bits and pieces I skimmed over. We all have macbook pros now. I hated macs before this, now I have a macbook & iphone. It’s not that they’re great, it’s actually way better than I thought it was going to be. That and Dad got a free phone upgrade so I finally got to move off my samsung s2 (!) to a 5c. That should tide me over for a while. I also (FINALLY) picked up an apartment again. This time though instead of going somewhere that was sorta, low budget, I decided I wanted to spend more and live as close to the city center as possible. Mostly because I was lazy but also because it’s awesome leaving your apartment block and having a dunnes stores across the street. Work is a 4 minute walk away. There’s a bus stop across the road. That combined with the interior of the apartment being bitchin and having 360/36 internet with Virgin Media, I literally have zero complaints. I’m paying full rent right now until I have someone move in – who is anybodies idea. Eoin won’t move back in until he has a job but there’s something on the horizon for him. Who knows.

I’m sure there’s other stuff I forgot, I’ll try add it to my next blog post (whenever that happens).