Joining Automattic

I’m thrilled to announce that I’m joining the Automattic family soon as a Theme Wrangler.

For those that don’t know, Automattic runs WordPress.com, Jetpack, Simplenote, Cloudup and other awesome web products. Woohoo! (I keep asking my wife if it really happened. She assures me it did.) 🙂 It’s hard to put into words what this means to me, but I’ll try. It’s my dream job, yes, but it goes beyond that.

I’ve been lucky enough to work for and inside some organizations with fantastic missions. I don’t get excited unless I’m attacking big problems with a chance to drive change. From being a newspaper reporter, to working for a one of the oldest disability organizations in the United States to working with one of the United States government’s most watched and most admired “start-up” agencies, a lot of my work has been for a “greater good.” At least I hope so. 🙂 At Automattic, I get to combine a lot of the passions I’ve developed along the way: publishing, WordPress, web standards and accessibility, and open source and the open web. All for a greater good: making the web a better place.

But how can someone who builds and cares for WordPress themes do that? I wanted to be a Theme Wrangler because I believe that a good WordPress theme can open up a new world to those using it, and in turn, reveal something unique about the site’s owner to the world. A theme can become the centerpiece to someone’s story. That’s something I want to do for as many people as possible. I look forward to whatever form that takes, including helping themes evolve in new ways and bringing my accessibility experience to my every day work on WordPress.com.

The best is yet to come.

Idea Box: My First Open Source Project with the CFPB

A few weeks ago, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released Idea Box. From the Github readme file:

…a django app for collecting and surfacing ideas from users, in the vein of IdeaScale, IdeaX, and Django Voice. Idea-Box differs from these projects in its minimal, easily integrate-able interface. Idea-Box also takes a strong stance on transparency, such that ideas, votes, etc. are tied to specific users.

I was lucky enough to be part of the team that built it. I’m excited to see where it goes and what the CFPB releases next as open source software.

What’s Next

A hilarious flyer including Grumpy Cat, made with love by Amberley Romo and Kevin Wenzel.
A hilarious flyer including Grumpy Cat, made with love by Amberley Romo and Kevin Wenzel.

Friday was bittersweet. I finished up a two-plus year tenure at The Arc, having the chance to work with some of the most passionate people I’ve ever met. Working there changed me in so many positive ways, I couldn’t even begin to list them all. So what’s next? I’ve accepted a position as an Interactive Designer at Rock Creek Strategic Marketing – building websites and applications for its clients. I worked in many areas of the online world at The Arc. Because of that I learned that I really love building sites and applications, and this new position gives me the opportunity to do more of that. I’m excited to meet my new colleagues, dive in and create some fantastic web experiences. Working at The Arc was an amazing experience, and I couldn’t have moved The Arc’s online communications in so many new directions without the team there. We rebranded the organization, launched a national autism information and resource center, built new blogs with responsive designs, made huge progress on website accessibility and so much more. On my last day my co-workers threw me a great party, told their favorite “Dave” stories and brought plenty of brownies and beer (my favorite motivators! :)). I couldn’t have imagined a better ending to my time there.