Thoughts from a Grand Meetup

I arrived back in Aberdeen this afternoon and must say it was nice flying in over the green patchwork landscape of Scotland and seeing the rugged cliffs along the coast. I think I even saw Dunnottar Castle. I felt like I was coming home. I was pretty shattered and promptly fell asleep for several hours.

I had a terrific time at the Automattic Grand Meetup. On the last night we celebrated the 10th anniversary of with a fantastic party. There was lots of dancing and general merriment. They had a photo booth setup in the ballroom and I got lots of terrific photos but this one is my favourite:


On the last morning I went for a walk with some, er, friends:



It could be New Zealand, right?

My two favourite activities during the week were learning to swing dance one evening and participating in three Escape the Rooms. They were both fantastic but also funny in the sense that it was obvious we were participants from a tech company. The swing dancing had an unequal number of men and women but where typically in these things the women outnumber the men, in this instance, there were more men which is, I guess, a reflection of our workforce.

The Escape the Room was quite funny because one of the rooms had a computer in it with a password-protected file. As part of the activity the team had to solve clues in the room to figure out the password and open the file. However three teams bypassed this requirement by hacking the computer and opening the file without the need for a password. Once the company who organised the activities realised what was going on they took steps to prevent this by changing file permissions. Our team was the last to go through this room and the first to escape it without hacking the computer. We were pretty chuffed about that. Here’s our team:


I love working remotely and I love working from home. But I can see that meeting the people I work with in person will make text-based communication easier. There’s only so much you can learn about personalities from text and body language is so rich and varied. I feel more comfortable pinging people I have met in person. It was definitely a worthwhile trip for this reason alone but it was also great fun and a wonderful learning experience.

21 Replies to “Thoughts from a Grand Meetup”

  1. However three teams bypassed this requirement by hacking the computer and opening the file without the need for a password.


  2. Congratulations to your team for its win and without hacking.

    As for the swing dancing, I’ve lately thought about learning it after seeing this 90 year old woman doing it in style. She used to be a Hollywood icon for Lindy dancing. Well worth a look.

    I wish I had a clue about IT. Being a Happiness Engineer would suit me 100%. Love the photos. 🙂

    1. I just got around to watching this clip and that woman is fantastic! I hope I’m still that active at 90! Maybe I’ll start taking dancing lessons 🙂

      I really have a great job. I can’t recommend it enough.

  3. Love your ‘Hair’ in the fun photo 🙂 So many sheep! And it must have been good to interact in real life with your colleagues 🙂

    1. Thanks! I wish I could have kept the hair 🙂

      It was great meeting my colleagues. Well worth it.

  4. Welcome home Rachel, sounds like a great time in all respects 🙂 Lucky you, I’ve always wanted to learn how to swing dance! Love your new hair do, very fetching 😉

  5. Great fun Rachel, I love keeping up with your posts, whether you’re bicycling or hiking or just talking of your days. And if you’re ready to get back to work, I have a WPress question: On my most recent blog, I wanted to reply to Robert, who left a comment, but there is no “reply” button. So I replied as a new comment, but he won’t get a message that I’ve replied. Why is there no “reply” option to his comment? Is that something I can fix? Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi Helen,
      I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying reading my posts! That’s nice to know.

      Regarding the reply to Robert, I had a look at his last comment and it’s nested 3 comments deep and in your settings you’ve got it set to at most 3 nested comments:

      I don’t think you should change this since otherwise it can end up getting really nested and the comment width gets smaller and smaller each time. What you can do so that he gets notification of your reply is to reply using notifications or comment management instead. To reply using notifications click the bell icon at the top right and find his comment there and type your reply. You can also reply using the comment management section of wp-admin which for your site is here:

      Does that make sense?

      1. Yes, it does. Thank you Rachel. For now I’ve changed to allow five, since I rarely get more than five anyway, and that will do while I’m learning the other options. Thanks much!

      2. You’re welcome! I forgot to mention the third option which is probably the easiest of all. You can reply to his previous comment which does have the “reply” link and your comment will appear below his last one and notify him as well.

  6. I wondered if so many of you being computer scientists was noticeable in any other way than hacking the computer? Such as an extreme problem solving approach.

    1. I’m not sure. I think teams in escape rooms do better when there’s a bit of diversity there and I like to think we were fairly diverse but in many ways we’re probably all quite similar.

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