I’m finally home from Utah. Like I said yesterday, I went to bed at 3:30 and woke up before 5, so I could catch the early shuttle to the airport. Everything went smoothly getting in through security (although Alex’s Google Glass apparently looks pretty bad on the x-ray and he had his carryon searched), but there were mechanical problems on the plane that delayed us from leaving for at least half an hour. Could’ve been worse, it wasn’t anything that made us change planes or anything. But it meant landing in Houston after they’d already started boarding my next flight. By the time I got off the plane I had about 10 minutes until the “final boarding” call, and I had to sprint from the B to C terminal, which included waiting for a train. I barely made it…I watched them close the door as I was running down the hallway, but luckily they opened it back up for me. It’s always good to start a flight all out of breath and sweaty. But I made it, and my luggage did too, which might be more impressive.
Now it’s time to get back into the rhythm of daily life. No more piles of bacon on my plate for breakfast, or starting every conversation with “So how long have you worked at Automattic?” It was an amazing week. I had a ton of fun doing all the activities (escape the room, bike tour of Park City, bowling), but it was the ad-hoc activities (hiking, hot springs) and just hanging out that was way more important. I originally scheduled more things than I ended up doing, and I’m glad I bailed on a few of them. I feel like I made some real friends, and I have a better working relationship with a lot of people from having interacted with them in person. That’s the whole idea of the meetup, and I can’t wait until next year. Saying goodbye to people felt like leaving summer camp, except when you say “we’ll keep in touch” you really mean it, because we’re all going to be in the same Slack channels all year.
But as amazing as it was, I’m extremely happy to get home. A 7 day trip away from home and family is really tough. Gia was really excited to see me when my cab pulled up, which was a good feeling. Today my plan is mostly busywork and housekeeping. I have a few e-mails to return, and I’d like to finally get my new standing desk set up. Once I have everything configured I’ll post some pictures.
The grand meetup is finally over. Last night was an amazing wrap party featuring The Jane Doze. Incredible…I’ll write more about it later after I’ve had some sleep and time to collect my thoughts, but that might have been the best party I’ve ever been to.
I went to bed at 3:30, and got up before 5…my phone didn’t even have time yo charge back to 50%. Here’s hoping I sleep on the plane.
Yesterday I went on an 11.7 mile bike ride around Park City. We took a few big hills that wore me out, and it started to rain towards the end, but it was a lot of fun. Last night I hung out in the party suite until 4am just talking to people. It’s been great getting to connect with folks.
This morning a few of us went to Homestead Crater, a hot spring inside a cave. The water was 95°F, and 65′ deep. It was awesome. I took a couple pictures inside, but it was dark and there wasn’t really a good way to capture it. But here’s a picture of the waterfall outside:
Tonight we’ve got the wrap up (and 10th anniversary) party, and then tomorrow morning I catch the shuttle to the airport at 5:45am. So I probably won’t be up til 4am tonight.
Finally made it to the weekend, but the GM isn’t quite winding down yet. Yesterday I went with a few folks to the High West Distillery in Park City, and it was fantastic. I sampled a few delicious whiskeys, and got a tour of their operation. Very cool.
Then afterward I came back to the resort and went on a hike with a few of my teammates. It was perfect weather, and a great chance to get to know them a little more.
Today I’ve got one more Escape the Room session (hopefully it turns out a little better, we didn’t quite make it out in time yesterday), and then a guided bike tour. It’s supposed to rain this afternoon, but as long as it’s not a torrential downpour we’ll still go out. I’m more bummed that the scenery will be grey and boring in the rain rather than having to ride in the rain itself.
This week has absolutely flown by. I can’t believe it’s already Friday morning. Although at the same time that means there are still three full days before I fly home Monday morning. This is a long trip.
All I have planned for today is an Escape the Room puzzle solving adventure. Yesterday I didn’t end up doing the alpine park/play thing, so I might give that a go today.
Otherwise it should be a pretty low key day just hanging out getting to know people.
Last night the Automattic Town Hall went until at least 2am, but I left around midnight and went back to the party suite to hang out for a while. I ended up hanging out talking to people until 3am…probably the latest I’ve been up since before Gia was born in 2013. It was fun, and I met a lot of people. Always really good to put faces to names and figure out people’s personalities. Of course, staying up so late meant I missed the A8C 5k this morning. Oh well.
I posted last night that I was going to skip the movie and hang out by the fire pits…but that only lasted about twenty minutes before I decided to go inside and check things out. It was a lighter crowd in the movie room than I was expecting, and they hadn’t started playing it yet. Instead they were just showing the Halloween Power Hour DVD that my friend Vanessa made a few years ago. I’d given it to Asher (the guy organizing the movie), and he was using it as an intro while people filtered in. Pretty cool, and definitely sets the mood. I’m glad it made the cut.
Yesterday evening I gave my Flash Talk (a required <4 minute presentation on any topic), and it seemed to go over well. I talked about the path I’ve been on for the last few years of turning into a coffee snob. Although there are a lot of people here who are way more intense about their coffee than I am. As I write this I’m drinking coffee I made in the hotel room automatic drip machine with a pre-ground packet of Starbucks. I could wait and get slightly better coffee at breakfast, but I like having it in my room first so I can add MCT oil to boost my metabolism at the start of the day.
On tap for today:
Breakfast meeting with my team lead, who I’ve been talking to online since May, but only just met in person yesterday. When I first interviewed we did it all over Skype chat, sparingly in the evenings over the course of a couple weeks. I thought that was standard (and it worked really well to do it asynchronously so I could maintain my schedule), but I found out yesterday that it was an experiment on his part, and normally they just schedule a time for an extended chat to get it all done at once.
Flash Talks (glad mine is over with, so I’ll just be watching others)
More “Let’s Build React Components” class – Having a lot of fun here…learning a lot, and it already helped get me over the initial hump of getting familiar with the React structure so I’m comfortable reading/writing the code now, even if I don’t know all the ins and outs yet.
A8C Town Hall tonight – Basically an open forum where we talk about the future of the company
I landed in Salt Lake City yesterday afternoon, and took the shuttle to the Canyons Resort in Park City. We had an informal light dinner buffet where everyone was just hanging around getting to know each other. It was tough being a new guy, but everyone is super friendly and excited to be here.
The way these events are structured is that you have your choice of either spending time doing your normal job, working on a specific project with a team (which may not be your normal team), or taking a class. I opted to take a class on building React components, which is a driving technology behind a lot of what A8C is working on right now.
So that class is what’s going to dominate my schedule for the next couple days. But on the fun side of things, tonight a group of us are getting together to watch horror movies. Should be fun.