Five Minutes with Dave Martin


Every once in a while, we get to sit down with an Automattician to help you get to know the people who work behind the scenes here. These are the people who build new features, keep Automattic running, and make the best it can be. This week, we’re very pleased to introduce you to Mr. Dave Martin: Growth Designer, frequent mover, and family guy extraordinaire. 

What is your current role at Automattic? Tell us about the path that led you here.

I have to confess that I’m a bit of a nomad. In thirty-two years, I’ve lived in fifty-three different homes. My career has followed suit. Before Automattic, the longest I’ve ever stayed with a company was two years.

dave martinAt the beginning of this year, I made my fourth role swap within Automattic, having worked as a designer on Akismet, CodePoet, and WordPress Core, running usability tests, designing new features, and coding up front-end patches.

As a Growth Designer, I now help out with growth across a number of different Automattic products. In June, I hosted a Growth Learn-Up in our San Francisco office where we flew in 20 Automatticians from across the globe to discuss and work on growth projects within the company. It was amazing. I also help out with growth and design hiring (shameless plug: Automattic is awesome, and we’re always hiring!).

Is there an interesting project you’ve recently worked on?

We work on interesting things all the time. The experience I’ll highlight was my opportunity to work full-time on WordPress Core. It was a huge honor. If you’ve never contributed to core, I’d suggest checking it out. It’s amazing to consider that any patch you submit to Core that gets committed literally benefits the lives of tens of millions of users. I can’t think of many other opportunities where I can work one hour here and there and have such a massive impact.

What’s the best way to get involved in the WordPress community?

Find a way (however big or small) to give back to the community. You can answer questions in the forums, you can speak at a WordCamp, you can contribute your design or coding skills to Core. There are a hundred ways you can give back. If you find yourself taking, and not giving back, find ways to give back. You’ll have a much richer, more enjoyable experience. I promise!

WordCamp San Francisco is upon us — tell us about your previous WordCamp experiences!

WordCamps are amazing. They offer an assortment of learning opportunities at all levels. But most of all, they offer you a chance to connect with other people. That’s where the magic really comes in. I’m an introvert by nature. My inclination is to sit through the sessions, and then leave, without talking to anyone.

Don’t do that! You’ll miss out on the best part!

Talk with people. Ask questions. Share your talents. Doing so makes a world of difference.

What’s your favorite part about being an Automattician?

Automattic trusts us to do what is right. They trust us to decide what should be worked on. They trust us to work from home. They trust me to make my own schedule. We don’t have a vacation policy. If I feel burnt out, I can take a week or two off. No questions asked. They trust us to choose team meetup locations anywhere in the world (where we get together as a team and work for a week).  There is no limit to the number of meetups your team can schedule. They trust us to make the right call.

In the end, the thing I appreciate most is being trusted enough to make the right call with regard to pretty much every aspect of my job. It’s very empowering, and very cool.

In all, I’ve been with Automattic for three years now, and while I may continue to jump around to different roles, I have no intention of leaving any time soon.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love my work, but my family is the center of my universe.

The majority of my free time is spent with my family. We swim together, we hike together, we shop together, we play together. I go to all of my daughter’s swim practices, all of her swim meets. Automattic gives me the flexibility to do that, even during what are typically normal business hours. Automattic trusts me to get things done, while allowing me to put what is most important in my life first — my family. I couldn’t ask for more.

Did you know Automattic is hiring? We want people who are willing to work hard, share their ideas, learn from their colleagues, take initiative to get things done without being told, and aren’t afraid to ask questions. Think you fit the bill? Work with us.

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