Automattic: Democratize publishing w/o a physical head-office

Almost all companies in 2020 are toying with the idea of remote work for a significant time or forever.To help on that journey, we present the top 10 global companies who have aced remote work. To learn more about:

  1. What is remote work?
  2. Twimbit’s e-tact framework
  3. Our selection criteria

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#2


Twimbit’s top 10 global companies to ace remote work
Company: Automattic
Industry: Internet
1176 employees | Fully remote

Ethos

Automattic is a fully remote company with 1,176 employees in 75 countries speaking 93 different languages. The company’s focus is to build products for soothing communication, collaboration and work.

The goal of the company is to democratize publishing so that anyone who wants to publish a story can do it, regardless of income, gender, politics, language, or where they live in the world.

Automattic is a strong advocate of Open Source which means they have to move against the current.

The Automattic creed directs the employees to an optimal mind-set for the company.The creed asks the employees of Automattic, or Automatticians as they fondly call themselves to:

  1. Be constant learners and efficient communicators
  2. Take up tasks outside their scope
  3. Help colleagues and others
  4. Basic human instincts as the glue that sticks a fully remote company.
    • Create camaraderie among colleagues who never shook hands
  5. The creed reminds the employee that working for open source is like swimming upstream
    • An Automattician shouldn’t back off if there is no instant result
    • Continue swimming and believing that things will fall in the right place when its time
  6. The product should be constantly upgraded because there is no such thing as a status quo.

Talent strategy

“Skill in writing is one of the things I look for the most in hiring, because I feel that clear writing represents clear thinking, regardless of someone’s background, or whether they’re a designer or coder or whatever.”

-CEO Matt Mullenweg

For a remote company, the productivity rises when an employee gets a sense of ownership and feeling of association.

Automattic imparts these feelings right from the offer letter.

  1. Unlike other companies, the letter is not in a PDF but a webpage which radiates an aura of an open source leader
  2. It contains the Automattic creed written in first person
  3. For the past 9 years this has been a powerful tool for Automattic to influence people’s perception and shape the right mind-set
Hiring Process
  1. An interview post screening
  2. Followed by a contract project for 2-6 weeks
  3. First two weeks after joining full-time is spent in customer care for WordPress.com[1]
    • Makes them thorough with the products and services of the company.
    • Gain insights into the future of development
    • Compulsory for every employee, regardless of their position, to spend a week in support annually if they stay at Automattic.
    • This is an ice breaker for a new hire as all are equal to the company

Employee Perks and benefits:

  1. Paid sabbaticals to prevent burn out
  2. Two or three global get-togethers
  3. Financial assistance in continuous learning
  4. Practical reinforcement of the Automattic Creed.
  5. Open vacation policy
  6. Home office setup and coworking allowances and reimbursement of hardware/software expenses
  7. Company-sponsored life insurance
  8. Open parental leave (includes maternity, paternity, and adoption).
  9. Branded electronic goodies at 4th and 7th anniversary of joining.
  10. Other benefits are country-specific, and include health, vision, and dental insurance; matching retirement/pension contributions; childcare vouchers; income protection; travel insurance; and discount offers.

Sounds interesting? Check the employee perks for Basecamp too.

Customer Centricity

Automattic believes an early and ongoing connection with the people who use their products is irreplaceable for a person joining the company. The company thrives to make this connection from the moment a person joins Automattic. This nurtures a customer centric culture among remote employees.

  1. Connect with the customer
    • Every employee starts in support for 2-weeks and spends a week in support annually
  2. A data-informed and user-driven development process
    • For every feature launch
      • Metrics on usage, interaction, and growth
      • Feedback received on blogs and other support channels

Merger and Acquisition

The now defunct Tumblr.

  • A microblogging platform and social networking website was acquired for $3M.
  • This acquisition was to allow Automattic to help people make money.
  • As the digital service provider continued to broaden its customer base, it could sell a variey of services to publishers looking to diversify their revenues.

The acquisition of ZBS CRM is on a non-disclosure agreement.

This takes Automattic one step closer to a one-stop play for Server Message Block features that go beyond a web presence.[2]

Tools Used

According to Automattic, distributed work is most successful when information is shared freely and transparently across the company. They continue to say that some information shared between two people might be crucial to hundreds of other people in the team. They accept the fact that it might take some time to embrace a culture of mutual trust, but once it starts to work it will motivate people to pursue new challenges.

That’s why they developed a tool called P2.

  1. A blog where everyone can post and comment
  2. Different groups or teams could have their own space on it
  3. Everything is tagged, traceable and transparent
  4. It is an internal space for announcements and project documentation

Automattic tracks about:

  1. 70% of their projects on P2-themed WordPress.com blogs
  2. 25% in private chat rooms
  3. The rest on Slack[3]

Awards and Recognition

Recognized by FlexJobs as a Top 100 Company to Watch for Remote Jobs 2014-2019

Curious to know about other top picks by Twimbit?

Appen|Basecamp | HubSpot | Lionbridge | Magellan Health | Microsoft | TranscribeMe | Twilio | VIPKid

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