Leaving Automattic

I just posted this (which I have slightly edited) to an internal p2.

I am leaving Automattic

This has nothing at all do with Automattic, WordPress or any event / person here or anywhere else.

The seed for this was planted in 1985 when my – and Jacqui’s – nursing career started. Back then retirement was an option in the National Health Service when you got to 55 years old. In 2017 my wife Jacqui and I started talking about my leaving and it was planned to be June 2019 when I hit that age. She did all the planning.

In December 2018 the multiple sclerosis took Jacqui away from me. Her death I’ll never get over. Losing the closest person to you for over 32 years is something you just cannot explain. My world has changed completely. I spent a lot of time last year trying to decide what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I have no idea. As that road led me nowhere I flipped it around – what do I not want to do? The answer to that came quickly.
I do not want to spend as much time sitting in front of a computer.

I am in my 17th year of doing WordPress Support and tomorrow will start my 15th year here. I still love doing Support – how can you not love being a hero to someone every day? – but I am in a huge rut. For so many years I did only three things – I was either working, caring for Jacqui or sleeping. These days I’m either working, sleeping or not knowing what to do. That void needs filling and this rut needs flattening out.
So I am going to do the one thing that I know Jacqui would have wanted me to do and follow her plan.

What will I be doing? Covid has changed plans so … I have a huge gaming backlog (Fallout New Vegas beckons), a very long list of books I want to read, many vegetarian/vegan recipes I want to try. Summer approaches, longer dog walks and getting back into cycling. Post-covid I will spend more time at the local library where I am a trustee on the board of the charity that runs it. I also want to find other local charities and volunteer positions to help with.

It’s been really really cool to have met great people from the WordPress.org forums who were there in my time including @mdawaffe (he had long hair then! I have pics!), @macmanx, @cena.

[Lots of Thank You section]

It’s been good to have been with WordPress since 2004, to see it grow into the platform it is today. I am proud to have been a tiny part of that.

My last shift will be the morning of Tuesday 14 April. I’ll pop into our team Zoom chat at noon to say goodbye and raise a glass to my team mates. I know I will cry. I am just typing this.

Take care, stay safe and thank you.

That’s it.

Stick a fork in me, I’m done.


Stopping my 6am alarm (I will have to talk to Zelda about this)

Is it the right thing to have done? Yes, it is.

Regrets? Nope, I don’t do regrets. Act, move on, do not look back. Life has no Undo.

The future? I have as much of an idea about mine as you do yours.
Shit happens.

Plans for post-Covid?
Trips to Sheffield and Axbridge

17 Jan 2004 I installed WordPress – and now I’m here


Who sent me something?


A small – but perfectly formed – package arrived in the mail today, and I have no clue who sent it.

I’m not going to describe it because … well, I don’t have to. What I will say though is that this is the most thoughtful and deeply personal gift I think I have ever recieved.

Whoever you are, let me know? That you thought of me, chose this and sent it is amazing. You are amazing. Thank you.

A Year of Firsts

I realised earlier today that I’ve completed my ‘year of firsts’ – a year of everything happening without Jacqui. The Widower’s groups I read said this would be the hardest. A widow I met though said the first five years were the hardest. I suppose the truth is somewhere inbetween.

2019, apart from bring the saddest year of my life, has taught me a lot.

It showed how amazing Automattic has been. They have gone over and above what I think any other company would have done. HR, my team lead Raul and my team have all been there, and at the Grand Meetup two people in particular, Alicia and Chrissie, help me get through what I found to be a very difficult time.

It also showed me a lot about people personally. Pointless saying any more here about that.

Twitter. When did I leave twitter? No clue, don’t miss it.
Facebook. Very happy to have left the lizard’s domain.
Tumblr. Sad to have left there but it had to happen.
Both of those domains are comprehensively blocked here


What would I like from 2020?

A holiday would be nice. Have not had a proper holiday in over 11 years. Doubt it will happen though as going away on my own I would not enjoy.

Sorting the house out some more, but that’s money and ideas needed.

To see my youngest get married next November.

There is one more item, more of a hope. But that’s for me and a very few to know and know why.


Places I’ve been

I have Earthdesk as my desktop on the PC. (I have the default wallpaper on the MacBook as I never really see it due to the ‘work’ thing).

Apart from the moon, sun, the ISS (the yellow circle with the dot in it) and storm names which appear anyway, I’ve added dots to the places I’ve been.
Orange – family
Purple – Automattic

(click for big)

They bring back good memories.


On a personal level it was crap. Utterly utterly shite. If you can see me on fb you may have seen hints as to why.

On a work level – and apart from one angry reason – it was pretty good.

I don’t expect 2018 to be one iota different.

So was it happy?

Lady in the Post Office just wished me a Happy New Year. I replied that I would let her know in a year. On the way back I pondered this year’s events, so, if you wished me a Happy New Year 12 months ago here is what I recall.

The Good.
– I met so many great people at the Automattic Utah Grand Meetup
– I worked in 2 great teams (Jetpack / TOS) and I till work in TOS with genuinely really good people.
– I still have a job I love and work I enjoy every day

The Not Good
– J’s MS has worsened considerably.
– we lost Winston
– we lost Storm

There may well be other things but that is all I could think of on the walk home.


I’ve had an offer for my perfectly.me domain so I have moved everything there to x2.io. There was never much at perfectly.me – I just liked the domain name – but x2 is slowly becoming a handy dumping ground for stuff.

A correction

On my About page for a few years it said I was bipolar. I had written this in some blog posts too. Today I am correcting that. The diagnosis I was given in 2003 was wrong. The psychiatrist who wrote that changed how every subsequent doctor listened to me. They did not question it. It meant years of drugs and side-effects that I did not need. It has meant not getting help I should have got 9 years ago. I could rant and ramble on this for ages but I’m not going to. It’s been hard enough these past several weeks to deal with events and a rant won’t help. The diagnosis has been withdrawn (to be replaced with another but that is never being posted here) and now I get to start where I should have done in the first place.