- Three Levels: Conversation, Discussion, Publication
- Three Speeds: Realtime, Async, Storage
- Three Spaces: Caves, Campfires, Watering Holes
- Three Sensitivities: Dandelions, Tulips, Orchids
Three Levels: Conversation, Discussion, Publication
An example of the three levels of communication at Automattic
I go about my ways of working on this and having resolved a few different issues along the way through conversation, I am now ready for discussion on my idea. At Automattic we make extensive use of internal sites called P2s which are a way to quickly post an idea internally for people to read and have threaded discussions. So for example I could post all the details I have about my idea so far, and it’s via this I learn about another approach that’s currently taking place by a different team using a service called Sentry.
Three Speeds: Realtime, Async, Storage
This is the speed where you must be there to engage in the conversation. This kind of collaboration happens often in one-to-one discussions, with a lot of messages exchanged in a short amount of time and quick replies. Sometimes this can happen with more than 2 people, but it’s unlikely to reach a large team. For this speed to work well it’s very important to have a good notifications system in place.
This is the speed where you will be there at some point to reply in the conversation. This form of discussion involves small groups of people. Usually, the groups consist of 1- 3 participants but not often more than 10 or conversation becomes very difficult. It is frequently represented by content displayed in an activity flow.
This is the speed where you are not there anymore in the conversation after you wrote it. This is a form of broadcast communication: one person writes, many people listen, often in a long timeframe. It’s often a piece of content that is able to stand on its own, covering a specific topic or subject.The Three Speeds of Collaboration: Tool Selection and Culture Fit · Intense Minimalism
Three Spaces: Caves, Campfires, Watering Holes
Futurist David Thornburg identifies three archetypal learning spaces- the campfire, cave, and watering hole-that schools can use as physical spaces and virtual spaces for student and adult learning,
The cave is a private space where an individual can think, reflect, and transform learning from external knowledge to internal belief. Schools across Australia had both posters and places to encourage this private individual time.Australia’s Campfires, Caves, and Watering Holes: Educators on ISTE’s Australian Study Tour Discovered How to Create New Learning and Teaching Environments where Curriculum and Instructional Tools Meet the Digital Age, UNCG NC DOCKS (North Carolina Digital Online Collection of Knowledge and Scholarship)
Three Sensitivities: Dandelions, Tulips, Orchids
According to empirical studies and recent theories, people differ substantially in their reactivity or sensitivity to environmental influences with some being generally more affected than others. More sensitive individuals have been described as orchids and less-sensitive ones as dandelions.
Although our analysis supports the existence of highly sensitive or responsive individuals (i.e. orchids), the story regarding ‘dandelions’ is more complicated because they can be further divided into two categories. If we consider ‘dandelions’ as the metaphorical example of the low-sensitive group, what plant species best reflects the medium-sensitive group? Sticking to the well-known flower metaphor, we suggest ‘tulips’ as a prototypical example for medium sensitivity. Tulips are very common, but less fragile than orchids while more sensitive to climate than dandelions. In summary, while some people are highly sensitive (i.e. orchids), the majority have a medium sensitivity (i.e. tulips) and a substantial minority are characterised by a particularly low sensitivity (i.e. dandelions).Dandelions, tulips and orchids: evidence for the existence of low-sensitive, medium-sensitive and high-sensitive individuals | Translational Psychiatry
At first glance, this idea, which I’ll call the orchid hypothesis, may seem a simple amendment to the vulnerability hypothesis. It merely adds that environment and experience can steer a person up instead of down. Yet it’s actually a completely new way to think about genetics and human behavior. Risk becomes possibility; vulnerability becomes plasticity and responsiveness. It’s one of those simple ideas with big, spreading implications. Gene variants generally considered misfortunes (poor Jim, he got the “bad” gene) can instead now be understood as highly leveraged evolutionary bets, with both high risks and high potential rewards: gambles that help create a diversified-portfolio approach to survival, with selection favoring parents who happen to invest in both dandelions and orchids.The Science of Success – The Atlantic
For in the story of the figure of speech from which this book draws its enigmatic title-the metaphor of orchid and dandelion-lies a deep and often helpful truth about the origins of affliction and the redemption of individual lives. Most children-in our families, classrooms, or communities-are more or less like dandelions; they prosper and thrive almost anywhere they are planted. Like dandelions, these are the majority of children whose well-being is all but assured by their constitutional hardiness and strength. There are others, however, who, more like orchids, can wither and fade when unattended by caring support, but who-also like orchids-can become creatures of rare beauty, complexity, and elegance when met with compassion and kindness.
While a conventional but arguably deficient wisdom has held that children are either “vulnerable” or “resilient” to the trials that the world presents them, what our research and that of others has increasingly revealed is that the vulnerability/resilience contrast is a false (or at least misleading) dualism. It is a flawed dichotomy that attributes weakness or strength-frailty or vigor-to individual subgroups of youth and obscures a deeper reality that children simply differ, like orchids and dandelions, in their susceptibilities and sensitivities to the conditions of life that surround and sustain them. Most of our children can, like dandelions, thrive in all but the harshest, most bestial circumstances, but a minority of others, like orchids, either blossom beautifully or wane disappointingly, depending upon how we tend and spare and care for them. This is the redemptive secret the story herein reveals: that those orchid children who founder and fail can as easily become those who enliven and thrive in singular ways.The Orchid and the Dandelion: Why Some Children Struggle and How All Can Thrive
- How we Communicate at Automattic – Quality Thoughts
- The Three Speeds of Collaboration: Tool Selection and Culture Fit · Intense Minimalism
- How Communication Density Fuels Automattic – Data for Breakfast
- The future of remote work is text | TechCrunch
- Distributed Companies: A WordPress.com Team Perspective
- The Difference Between Remote and Distributed – Paolo Belcastro
- Beyond Remote: Harnessing the Full Potential of Distributed Teams – by Paolo Belcastro
- Automattic has figured out the right tools for remote working
- Distributed teams are rewriting the rules of office(less) politics — TechCrunch
- ‘Slack Creep’ Is Real. Here’s How Your Company Can Avoid It
- Automattic’s remote hiring process – Dave Martin’s Blog
- Automattic’s Unorthodox View On Productivity Tracks Output, Not Appearance | Fast Company | Business + Innovation
- Hire by Auditions, Not Resumes
- Hiring the right people has been key to the success of Automattic
- The CEO of Automattic on Holding “Auditions” to Build a Strong Team
- Why Automattic Said No to Silicon Valley – Fortune
- Lean Startup Talk | Matt Mullenweg
- Work With Us — Automattic
For details, visit our Stack Field Guide page.
Guides to Our Stack
Progressive, Project-Based Onboarding
When onboarding new contributors into our communication stack, we borrow heavily from prosocial models and the NeurodiVenture model.
Part of those models is an onboarding process that involves collaboration over time.
An intensive 12-month induction and on-boarding processThe Beauty of Collaboration at Human Scale: Timeless patterns of human limitations
☞ a foundation for mutual understanding
At Automattic, we developed a project-based hiring process that also features working with someone over time to build a foundation of mutual understanding.
All positions at Automattic involve a paid trial in the application process, which is a short project or set of tasks that will be assessed by our hiring teams. We’ve found that the best way to evaluate working with someone is to do just that!
Trial projects vary depending on the role you are applying for, but they are based on very real areas of work within our teams.
Depending on the role you are interested in and the time you’re able to commit, the trial can last anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. Most candidates complete the trial while working full-time and we know life is busy! Because of this, we encourage all candidates to determine their own working hours and schedule during this project.How We Hire – Automattic
As such, we onboard volunteers progressively into our systems as we work together. We believe strongly in “default-to-open”.
But we don’t give volunteers the keys to everything immediately. We work with you over time, get to know each other, and then let you into everything except a few rooms that must be private for legal/regulatory reasons and to preserve your privacy when reporting and discussing Human Resources/Covenant/Code of Conduct type stuff.
That time is usually a few months if you’re a regular contributor. If you’re an occasional contributor, that’s cool, but it’ll take longer to get to know each other.
So, if you don’t have access to our General P2 or certain rooms in Element, that’s why. Our organization is fairly wide open on our General P2, and we want to get to know you first before exposing those bits of our selves.
We also have a commitment to “bring safety to the serendipity” of online collaboration, especially for the minors in our community and for the folks who have been taken advantage of online because of their disabilities.