Ryan Cowles:

I just spent 7 days in Park City with 400 incredible people. My coworker Steve shared some thoughts and photos.

Originally posted on allmyfriendsarejpegs:

Once a year, every employee of Automattic (the folks behind WordPress.com) get together in one place for a week. This time, we returned to Park City in Utah, which is home to the Sundance Film Festival. By this point, the company has grown to 400 people, based in locations all over the world; a number that is more than double that of the total when I first joined.

During the Grand Meetup, we spend the week collaborating on projects, eating together, drinking (a lot), teaching and learning new skills, making music, dancing, and generally getting to know more about the people that we spend a good chunk of our lives speaking to online.

It is a surreal, exhausting experience to be around that many colleagues for an entire 7 days, especially when everybody seems like a celebrity (to steal a friend’s phrase), and you know them better by their profile picture…

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Ryan Cowles:

The team over at Alfred is starting a “How You Use Alfred” blog series. I was lucky enough to be featured today. You can read the full interview on their blog. And you can read more about my workflow here.

Originally posted on Alfred Blog:

In this new series, we’ll be taking a look at how some users have adopted Alfred in their workplace. They’ll give us a glimpse of how they use Alfred, how they stay productive and what it’s like working for some of the companies we know and love.

Today, we begin the series in good company, with Ryan Cowles, who is a Happiness Engineer for Automattic, who you’ll also know best as the company behind WordPress.com. I’ve been using WordPress for over 10 years now, so it’s great fun to see people like Ryan are there to keep WordPress users happy!


Who are you, and what keeps you busy?

Hi there! I’m Ryan. I work for Automattic (the company behind WordPress.com, Jetpack, and a whole bunch of other cool stuff). I’m a Happiness Engineer, and most of the work that I do is supporting the Jetpack plugin. This involves answering support requests, beta testing…

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Although it might not seem like it from all of the pictures, meetups can be hard work. On my most recent meetup, we spent most of our time focused on workflow, efficiency, team goals, and discussion. But as usual, we managed to sneak some fun in as well…

Mid-week, we took a break from work and went tubing through an old sugarcane plantation with Kauai Backcountry Adventures. The tour started with a bumpy drive in an off-road vehicle that took us to our put-in. Along the way, we had a chance to see the beautiful scenery and snag a few photos. After a brief safety demonstration, we boarded our tubes and headed down river.

The tour took us through the former irrigation channels on the plantation. We passed through five tunnels – the longest of which was just under a mile long. The current varied from lazy river to mild rapids. In the last tunnel we all shutoff our headlamps, and drifted through in complete darkness. I fought the urge to turn my headlamp back on, and accepted the surreal feeling. And I’m glad that I did.

I took my GoPro along, so I was able to take some pictures and video along the way. Even with the headlamps, it was still too dark in the tunnels for the GoPro to capture much. But you can check out some photos and a video below.

On our last full day on the island of Kauaʻi, we took a drive up to Waimea Canyon. The scenery was beautiful, and unlike anything I’d ever seen before. I thought I saw a few small dinosaurs… but it turns out they were just chickens.

The Aurora team is staying on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai this week. After spending some time working in these horrendous conditions today, we explored the area by foot.