Immediately after quitting Automattic several years ago I went into a full-on panic about The Next Thing because I didn’t have a Next Thing. All I knew is that my Now Thing wasn’t what I needed it to be. You’d have thought better planning would have gone into my decision to leave the company but it was a sudden one, the kind where I woke up in the morning and went, “Nope.” I rarely enter a relationship outright planning on leaving it. It just happens.
It’s comical how much I pimp out Automattic—Yes! You should apply. It wasn’t a good fit for me. It will be for you.—given how quickly I left. It’s like that sometimes. One day you wake up and realize that you left the candle on while sleeping and when there’s no longer any wick to trim or burn it’s time to go find a new one.
The problem was me, not Automattic. At heart I’m a grinder, an entrepreneur, a hardheaded and principled leader when it matters but an ultra-soft emotional papa bear when that also matters.
I treat companies like they are my own—R.I.P. Hastings, my first job at 16—and work long hours because the only reason I ever join one is because I believe in its mission. That works for small teams but when they scale it doesn’t unless I’m a boss. I should have been more self-aware to know that there’d come a time when I was either an executive or a former employee. Both are okay; neither would have been better than the other. I still love Matt and all to death; I’ll have his back no matter where WordPress goes.
Physically I was in Texas when I left the company and had around 1-2 additional weeks left in the States before heading back to Vietnam. That meant registering a new business called Press Build to do any contract-based work while I figured things out, getting business cards, updating my CV, and everything else that’s associated with a job loss, including dealing with the steady streams of “I’ve just made a horrible mistake.” always on tap.
The name Press Build never ended up getting used that much. I was quickly snatched up and back into the WordPress theme world via Professional Themes at an executive level, which works daily with Automattic (this, of course, makes me a very happy camper). Boy, did I love that name, though.
I held on to it, hoping to repurpose it, and when .blog came around, I jumped at the opportunity to DBA Professional Themes into Press Build and turn it into its own animal. Basecamp, a product I love and will use forever, has a similar model with Signal v. Noise that’s impressed me quite a bit.
I’ll soon transfer ownership of pressbuild.com, pressbuild.org, and pressbuild.net over to Professional Themes. We already own the .blog extension and I love the fact that it’s its own entity. It allows us to blog without getting caught up in the fact that right now we’re heavy into WordPress themes and client-side work but moving forward we might be more into plugins or other product-based initiatives. It’s a flexibility move as much as it is one of nostalgia.
Why Medium as the platform? Because I said so.