A Tale of Two Cities (One is Virtual)


I deal a lot with two big Internet companies.
One is WordPress.com (actually http://automattic.com/). They host my BLOG. I love them. They try to make things easier for you. If you have a problem, they are VERY helpful.
The other company is YAHOO. I recently wrote about how I cannot log out: Marissa Mayer from Yahoo. I hope YOU don’t get HACKED
Now YAHOO is going from bad to worse as time goes on. Marissa tries to make an annoying change each week as she copies all the bad points of GMail and Hotmail. Sometimes her changes backfire: Bloomberg just reported that in response to user complaints, YAHOO will restore “tabs” in the next few days, letting users easily click between e-mail, contacts and message drafts.  Mayer apologized last week for “compounding issues,” including lost messages, users being shut out and access to other e-mail systems.
ZDNET got a bit more specific:The redesign was former Googler and current Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision to force Mail users into using a Gmail imitation — a design implementation that was met with a remarkable amount of opposition and rejection from Yahoo’s typically complacent, longtime, locked-in user base. Last week, Mail’s head honcho Bonforte told employees in a closed meeting that users would have to be kicked in the balls to leave the service. Within a few days, a headline-making service outage drew attention to users’ lost emails (some since the October 8 redesign), which had Bonforte singing a more contrite tune to the public on Twitter and in Yahoo’s embarrassing blog post. The outage and its critical press returns, has been the only event to bring Mayer anywhere near the Mail mess. She eventually apologized for the loss of service, acknowledging little else by way of specifics.
Let’s look at an amazing difference between these two companies:
Yahoo makes everyone work from the office and WordPress is all virtual.
One of the most unique aspects of working for WordPress/Automattic is the company’s distributed model: employees work from wherever in the world they happen to be (or wanted to move to). The transition into this new type of environment, and its effects on how work is done, is something on which many Automatticians reflect.
“I live in the future. My work environment is contained within a computer screen, and I can put that screen anywhere I want.”

WordPress.com is the biggest blogging platform around, and one of the most visited websites in the world. Yet the team that keeps it running is an intimate group of 224 Automatticians (thinking of joining our ranks? We’re always hiring). Among them are the Code Wranglers at work on our great features, the designers who make sure every pixel in your theme is in its right place, and the Happiness Engineers who work around the clock to solve any issue our users encounter.

Among the people working on WordPress.com, you’ll find marathon runners, home brewers, slam poets, and global nomads (to name a few) — as well as many, many bloggers.
Now for YAHOO
Before Marissa arrived on the scene (with her tall black hat and broomstick?), YAHOO was like most modern companies: a lot of employees worked remote from their homes, at least some of the time. Marissa brought YAHOO back to the mentality of the 1960’s and decreed everyone will work in the office. She gave some weak explanation why, but it was probably so she can berate their performance easier and kick them out the door easier.
So what is the answer? Hard to change mail systems because everybody has your “old” email ingrained. But where I would go is not to one of the “big” ones, but to PerfectInter.Net