Last week, I went to one of the most impressive events in my life – Grand Meetup by my company Automattic in Whistler, Canada. Not sure what Automattic is?
Check it out, we are hiring!
*Automattic is a fully distributed company that is behind WordPress.com, WooCommerce, Jetpack and several other products. We also power more than 30% of web. We all work from different parts of the world from our home offices and we get together once per year to meet, learn each other and celebrate our love to WordPress and to what we do. This is basically what Grand Meetup is.
This year, it was a first Grand Meetup for me. As hard as I try to describe it, I think you just simply need to live through it to understand what it is. I will try anyways to bring you along as I go through my main highlights of the Grand Meetup.
What do we do during the week?
During the Grand Meetup, you can either take or teach a class, work on a project or do your regular work. This year, I was fortunate to have a chance to attend a class on domains and domain industry. During 4 days that the class lasted, we covered several aspects of domains including ICANN and its structure, DNS records and domains business. Some of these aspects are more technical while others were covering entrepreneurial side – I found this mix of topics great since it allowed to look at domains from different angles and broaden your understanding of the topic.
The class also included a lot of hands-on activities such as domains hunt when we had to go outside and walk around the Whistler village looking for domains, ccTLDS, subdomains and subdirectories. We also simulated ICANN working group meetings to understand who and how influences and makes the decisions at the ICANN. Lastly, we have also played charades and acted out the domain name such as Twitter, Youtube and Pinterest which was an activity that required both creativity and imagination (try to act out Pinterest, that will be fun – I promise).
We also enjoyed a few guest speakers coming over during the class who were experts in specific domain fields. It was great to hear their insights into the domain industry and appreciate their expertise in the field.
And before the class, we also had a domain hunt with pictures of the domains we had to take and upload. Not without a scorecard, of course!
I think I fell in love with domains after this!
I also met my outfit twin in my domains class
On the first day of the Grand Meetup, I had a chance to spend time with my old team Jupiter and my new team Titanium. We got together in my suite and discussed the priorities and goals for the future year.
We have also selected a new name which is now TITANIUM (yes, David Guetta has already branded us so we are kind of popular). The name selection took us over an hour and we had two final contestants – Krypton and Titanium. Krypton, though, was a planet that exploded so we decided to eliminate that option – we do not really want our team to fail and go down.
Some more pictures of my cool team, because I love them all!
You are going to think these gifs are awesome, and yes, they are!
This year I was lucky to be invited to lead a homeroom. Homeroom is basically getting together with people assigned to your homeroom and doing various activities for one hour. You are usually assigned in the groups will people that you do not work with every day and the goal is to make you meet these new people and bond with them through activities. I am not going to tell which activities we did (not sure if I should do that or do we still keep it a secret?) But you can guess yourself from the upcoming images! 🙂
In general, I thought this idea was great! It allowed me to connect with people I did not know and for someone who attends the GM for the first time, I found it to be a very unique and inclusive experience!
By the way, if you are interested in the inclusion and inclusive design, check out Kat Holmes’ site who was our guest speaker this year!
Outside Work Activities
I attended several activities outside work and there were more than plenty to attend. Automatticians are people with various interests and you can always find someone who is into the same thing as you are!
Some of the highlights of my week:
- Escape Room: I am honestly really bad at this. I have trouble with logical thinking and I am more of an emotional intelligence person. For me doing puzzles is confusing. But luckily, I was with amazingly smart people who helped out team succeed and we managed to escape
- Pub Quiz: I love pub quizzes and I did a lot of them in Germany while being a student there. We got a team of 6 people or our pub quiz and we got a third place which can be considered as things going well for us. The only feedback for the next GM is to make pub quiz less centered on North America. Otherwise, it was a fun night to get together and play the quiz!
- Worldwide WordPress 5k run. Not sure what it is? Check it out! We challenge you here. Basically, at the GM, the Runmatticians run together with users all around the world the 5k challenge.
- Hike In the Forest at 6am: I kept on waking up at 5am every morning so I decided to take an opportunity and go for a hike with a group of other Automatticians before breakfast. We walked around the lost like and exercised a bit by jumping. You will see what I mean…
- Gondola Ride With A11NS: On Saturday, after our classes were over, we had a bit of free time so we decided to go on a gondola ride from peak to peak. We hoped to see the bears and we did not see any, but we took a lot of pitcures anyway.
What about Justin?
Apparently, he is a WordPress fan too, and Justin approves of the Grand Meetup.
And a Few More From the Closing Party…
Grand meetup is something you can not describe, you just need to live through it. Want to be a part of our jolly band? We are hiring!