AFK Oblique Strategies

If you’re not familiar with Oblique Strategies, they are a collection of short phrases, dilemmas intended to make you think. Originally published as a set of notecards in 1975, these contradictions are one of my favorite discoveries while working for Automattic.

In my case I like to say they cause brainwaves.

Luckily, you don’t need the original index cards to use Oblique Strategies any time you want to change your thinking, because there are electronic versions such as a Mac dashboard widget and an iOS mobile app (one of several apps).

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-11-12-38
Example of the OS X dashboard widget.

The original strategies include phrases such as:

– Listen to the quiet voice
– Make what’s perfect more human
– Do the last thing first

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-11-12-49
Example of the iOS mobile app “Oblique Productivity.”

I took two-and-a-half months off work this summer—a lot of AFK time (away from keyboard)—and I’d like to share with you several of my own AFK-related Oblique Strategies that came to mind as I planned meaningful activities during the break.

Which isn’t to give you advice or say I have any answers. Rather, these are food for thought that I hope jar your brainwaves like they did mine. Save them for your next thinking time, or for the next time you take a bit of vacation from your work.

– Stay at home on your travels
– Make today a dull repeat of yesterday
– Read an old book with new eyes
– Most frivolous as most meaningful
– Be still for as long as possible
– Start with the least urgent
– Turn the computer —on —off
– Are you more joyful?

A Brand New Approach to WordPress

What would we build if we were starting from scratch today, knowing all we’ve learned over the past 13 years of building WordPress?

Matt today officially announced the new WordPress.com: Dance to Calypso.

Today we’re announcing something brand new, a new approach to WordPress, and open sourcing the code behind it. The project, codenamed Calypso, is the culmination of more than 20 months of work by dozens of the most talented engineers and designers I’ve had the pleasure of working with (127 contributors with over 26,000 commits!).

I’m incredibly proud to be part of this effort. API-driven, JavaScript-based, responsive design, and now open source.

More coverage:

Ten Years of Automattic

In Ten Years of Automattic, Matt Mullenweg takes a look at the first decade of Automattic’s history.

Our work is far from finished, and I hope there are hundreds of failures we learn from over the next 20 years. One of the things that makes me happiest is that I get to wake up every morning and work on the hard problem of making the web a better and more open place, and I do it alongside close to 400 talented people at Automattic and thousands in the broader community.

I’m proud to be part of the team (for over half that decade). Here’s to the next ten!

Interview with WisdmLabs

I recently spoke with Namrata G from WisdmLabs about Automattic, WordPress, GPL, CSS frameworks, and more. Full interview here: Interview with Lance Willett – Sweeper at Automattic.

Charleston with Theme Division

Spent an amazing week with the WordPress.com Theme Division, in Charleston. Kathryn recapped it perfectly. Many photos to tell the tale via Sheri: see latest on her photo blog, Caroline: Happymatticians, Yeah, This, And then this happened, TDIV making dinner (and a bunch more), Erick: Icing in Charleston, Jack: Charleston tdiv Meetup, and my favorite images, below.