This Week On WordPress Weekly – Book Author Scott Berkun

This Friday at 3P.M. Eastern on WordPress Weekly, book author Scott Berkun will be our special guest to talk about his experience working at Automattic on WordPress.com in his brand new book, The Year Without Pants. I recently finished the book and it was a great read. I learned a bunch of things that I didn’t know before hand. In fact, here are 10 things I learned from the book.

  1. Prior to Scott being hired, Automattic was a completely flat company from a hierarchy stand point. They had less than 50 employees when he was hired.
  2. Do not play against Andy Peatling in any pub games, especially shuffleboard.
  3. The code name for JetPack was “.org connect”
  4. Scott was one of the people responsible for getting rid of the ‘NASCAR’ effect of using share buttons from different services
  5. While Automattic has a ton of P2 sites and wants everyone to know everything going on in the company, certain private back channels of communication proved necessary to acquire valuable feedback
  6. IntenseDebate was a mess of code and architecture which was one of the reasons why no one wanted to tackle the project for so long
  7. Scott finally got the opportunity to work on a pet peeve project and the result was instant feedback after publishing a post on WordPress.com
  8. I believe Scott’s successful experiment as team lead has led to other teams and leaders throughout Automattic. It’s part of the way the company works now.
  9. Scott and I are on the same page as it relates to the dashboard experience for WordPress.com. It could be vastly improved.
  10. Many of the features at WordPress.com were built-in isolation, not taking into account how features will display or interact with each other.

This is just a small sampling of great information I picked up from this book. If you have read it or have any questions you’d like me to ask Scott, post them in the comments!

3 Comments


  1. But he is partly responsible for JetPack aint he? The damnation of all consultants based on the people that complain about it and want scripts for deactivating automatically in my twitter feed.

    I think the book could have been meatier. It felt a little thin. Partly I think its because of the inbedded journalism thing. It prevents journalists from being totally honest and one identifies with ones subject of investigation. Now it seems filtered and based on personal connections.

    Also does he have anything to say to Evan Solomon?
    https://medium.com/lessons-learned/8076216a30b9

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  2. @Andreas Nurbo – His team that he lead, Team Social are the ones responsible for building the first version of Jetpack and a couple versions thereafter. Not sure what you mean by thin. Were you expecting him to quote or publish all of the conversations that took place on the P2’s and other places?

    As for the bit about Evan, maybe I’ll ask about that experience, maybe not. But thanks for bringing it to my attention.

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  3. @Jeffro – By thin I mean not really a lot of stuff, but I think thats mostly to do with the method chosen. It felt somewhat polished but thats what you get when you are a friend or become friends with your object of study. Not saying publish conversations, not really fond of that. But he could have included talks with people on how they felt about the team changes etc before and after in a pro/epilogoue something.
    When reading it it felt like the book was like 80 pages but Im a prolific reader so might have a skewed perspective but all in all it was a good read.Also got some nice ideas from it which is always a plus.

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