Turning 30, starting a new job and other things

I remember celebrating my 18’s birthday in Pretoria, South Africa. I moved there a few months earlier, and I had a pretty small social circle. I was not planning to do anything really, then a family friend called, and we went out that night, and I still remember that day with a lot of fondness. The next day, my friend called me and asked me: “so, how does it feel?” I replied, what? He then retorqued: “How does it feel to be finally 18?” My reply then is the same as now as I turn 30: pretty much the same. At least in the way that matters.

Obviously, I am at a different place in life; my social circle has changed over the last 10y. But how I spend my time, the things I watch, and the kind of book I read are mostly the same. I never felt the need to change many things to “grow” as a person because I figured out what I liked doing very early on. By the time I was 20, I had worked on a tech startup; I knew I wanted to write code for a living – and even then, I was always more interested in free software.

That last dream didn’t take too long to become a thing; I joined a WPP ad agency called Wunderman Thompson the year I turned 25. My goal was never to join a big organization. Instead, I landed in a small dev agency, working as a PHP developer consultant for a Johannesburg dev house that had just been acquired by WPP – Applogix. And despite my passion for open-source, I had never worked seriously with an open-source project before my assignment to Applogix. As fate would have it, we were acquired a year later by Applogix then merged into Wunderman. I worked on some of the world’s largest Drupal rollouts, and I got involved in an open-source community the way I imagined it. I was involved with the local user group, went to industry conferences, and released some of the solutions I was working on as open-source (Actually, a funny story, I will probably write about it soon). I really got a sense of what it was like to work on a project with many people dispersed all over the world working on a project together for the benefit of an entire community! This high pretty much pushed me toward applying at Automattic, where I have been working for almost 2 months now.

So Automattic, yeah. Dude, I’m not even sure how that happens – I still plan to post about how I got hired there to work in the WooCommerce ecosystem and the whole experience. But this has been amazing so far – challenging in all the right way. I am learning how to work in a fully distributed environment on a codebase with hundreds of contributors, a commitment to openness, and a culture that encourages learning, sharing, and innovations.

When I turn 40, I hope, despite whatever life throws at me, I am still the same in all the way that matters.

I will try to post more often :-D