Automattic Turns 21

May 14th, 2008

Not 21 years old, but that is now the number of people employed by Automattic. As was reported by Ed Sutherland of, Automattic has hired Warwick Poole, former director of systems at Vidavee which was recently acquired by Vignette. According to his job title as “Systemologist” Warwick will be in control of.

Keeping the barriers to online publishing low, by scaling the infrastructure which runs,, and other related projects.

But that wasn’t enough for me. I sent Warwick an email containing a few questions regarding his title, as well as his role within Automattic. Here are his responses.

Jeff - First off, congratulations on becoming the 21st employee for Automattic.

Warwick - Thanks, I am very pleased to be involved with Automattic.

Jeff - Mind telling us how this all came about?

Warwick - I am a longtime WordPress user. So I have known about the company for a while. I found Automattic’s recruitment note hidden in their HTTP headers (an innovation typical of this group) and got in contact. Then I met some of the Automattic team.

Jeff - What will your primary focus be while employed by Automattic?

Warwick – For the next few weeks, supporting users and helping bloggers with any support questions they have. All new employees work the support desk for 3 weeks as a way to grok the user experience and to get to know the product(s) well. It’s a great idea. All companies should do this.

Check this:

Jeff - Your role within the company has been labeled as a Systemologist, just what exactly does that mean?

Warwick - It’s a made up title, like some of the other Automattic titles ;) I will be working in the Systems group which looks after the infrastructure powering, and Akismet, and some other projects no doubt.

Jeff – The job criteria states that the employee will be working on keeping the barriers to publishing low while scaling various projects administered by Automattic. Can you give us a couple of your ideas on how you plan on improving the scalability of these projects?

Warwick - Thats not an official Automattic job criteria, I wrote that on my LinkedIn profile. To me, WordPress represents liberty: an instant global publishing system that is accessible to anyone who has the means to be online. The Automattic team is world class and an incredibly talented group of people and their systems are scaling already to impressive levels. This is accomplished with a team so small that it’s hard to fathom. I’ll be working with these guys.

Jeff – What can the end users of the various projects administered under the Automattic umbrella look forward to with your employment?

Warwick - Someone who can speak Afrikaans. But most importantly, a vegetarian amongst the BBQ lovers at Automattic ;)

With the popularity of along with other Automattic projects increasing, Warwick will have plenty of work ahead of him to accomplish. But I think it’s reassuring to see Automattic take a vested interest in trying to make the WordPress software as scalable as possible. Keep in mind that and are live examples of what is capable with WordPress. What is accomplished by those two sites can be equally accomplished by anyone else.

Congratulations to Warwick for becoming the next member of the Automattic team.




  1. Jacob Santos says:

    And here I was laughing at the HTTP message. Who knew they were serious? I suppose Automattic had the last laugh.

  2. amolpatil2k says:

    Just goes to show the leverage that the Net is capable of providing. As for me, I still haven’t been able to grasp the difference between an open source project and a commodity project. It seems that with the former, you get users to do the hard work for you, while your outfit makes a killing at the bourses. Of course, I may be completely wrong about this. My point is where and when does herd mentality turn into closure. Why is there always safety in numbers. And even if we resign to this fact of life, how do we know whether all the refinement justified all the feedback.

  3. Ed Sutherland (1 comments.) says:

    Great information-gathering, Jeff. Automattic’s recruitment method sounds similar to Google’s geek tests.

    Thanks for the link, btw.

  4. Danny (5 comments.) says:

    Good the see the team growing.

  5. Michael Watson (1 comments.) says:

    DANKIE Warwick! Its great to see that wordpress is always expanding their highly qualified team. Welcome!

  6. geniosity (3 comments.) says:

    MAN, getting back from your special “suckdustspammersanddie” page is fun.

    Anyway, what I was TRYING to say before being so rudely interrupted :P was, I think it’s a little strange speaking Afrikaans and being vegetarian amongst braai lovers :D

    Congrats on the new job


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