Barcelona – my first Automattic meetup

Last week I was away at my first Automattic meetup – in this case a meetup for the VIP team.

I left, via East Midlands Airport, on Sunday 29th January and returned to Birmingham Airport (yeah, I know, but it’s complicated) on Saturday 4th February. The meetup itself was the 5 weekdays in-between.

A main venue was arranged which had bedrooms on the 1st floor along with a casual area that we often met-up at, particularly for lunches, and even a very nice lady who helped with any arrangements that needed making.

The 4th floor (thankfully there was a lift – albeit the oldest lift I’ve ever seen) had a series of large open rooms which were used for out various group get-togethers and general discussions.

For those not at the main apartment, a number of shared AirBnB apartments had also been sourced. The one I was in, which I shared with 4 others, was about a 20 minutes walk away from the main one.

The day started at 10am at the main apartment – I usually grabbed a pastry on the way there as breakfast – and consisted of talks or discussions until lunch at 1pm. These were pre-prepared cold lunches and, to be honest, were of variable quality. We then had more discussions from 2pm until 4pm, after which we broke to do some co-working – the idea was for us to group up and work together but this time was sometimes spent shopping or generally exploring the city.

The discussions were very good, whether I understood them or not (a week into the job, I don’t think much was expected of me). However, it was the attitude that impressed me the most – positive and very focused towards doing the best for the employees, in stark contrast to the attitude of my previous employer.

On Friday afternoon a treasure hunt around the city had been arranged, which was great fun and a good ‘team bonding’ exercise. We were away for hours and I walked a LOT.

At around 7:30pm we’d all meet up out for dinner. The exception was Friday when a number of Automatticians cooked for us instead. On Tuesday night we met up with a number of other Automatticians that were also having meetups in Barcelona and, because of the sheer numbers, Matt Mullenwegg flew in to join us. He sat at my table but I was just too far away to be able to join in the conversation. None-the-less, he did say ‘hi’ and was impressed that he knew my name – with over 500 employees, that can’t be easy to do.

The night’s were often late, alcohol was imbibed, there was often a lot of walking during the day so I was very tired as a result. It took its toll on me by the end of the week as I began to feel unwell, something that took a couple of days upon return to get over (healthy food, rest and sleep helped).

But did I have a good week? God, yes. It’s the longest I’ve been away from my family but I gained so much in those few days – some knowledge picked up but, most importantly of all, meeting my new colleagues and making new friendships. The fact that it happened so soon after I joined the company is a blessing.

Barcelona is a very beautiful city and I loved the brief time I had to look around it. I’d definitely like to go back there one day, this time as a ‘proper’ holiday.

Posted by David Artiss

Enterprise Happiness Engineer for the WordPress VIP team at Automattic. Gamer, film lover and general fan of all things Marvel, Star Trek and Star Wars. Failed comedian. Writer for The Big Tech Question. World's Greatest Grandma.

0 Replies to “Barcelona – my first Automattic meetup”

  1. […] with them. At least once a year we meet up in person too – in February the whole VIP team met in Barcelona and next month the Support team will meet in Scotland. In September is the annual company […]


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