The Year Without Pants
WordPress.com and the Future of Work
Publisher: Wiley / Jossey-Bass
Final Release Date: August 2013
Pages: 272

A behind-the-scenes look at the firm behind WordPress.com and the unique work culture that contributes to its phenomenal success

50 million websites, or twenty percent of the entire web, use WordPress software. The force behind WordPress.com is a convention-defying company called Automattic, Inc., whose 120 employees work from anywhere in the world they wish, barely use email, and launch improvements to their products dozens of times a day. With a fraction of the resources of Google, Amazon, or Facebook, they have a similar impact on the future of the Internet. How is this possible? What's different about how they work, and what can other companies learn from their methods?

To find out, former Microsoft veteran Scott Berkun worked as a manager at WordPress.com, leading a team of young programmers developing new ideas. The Year Without Pants shares the secrets of WordPress.com's phenomenal success from the inside. Berkun's story reveals insights on creativity, productivity, and leadership from the kind of workplace that might be in everyone's future.

  • Offers a fast-paced and entertaining insider's account of how an amazing, powerful organization achieves impressive results
  • Includes vital lessons about work culture and managing creativity
  • Written by author and popular blogger Scott Berkun (scottberkun.com)

The Year Without Pants shares what every organization can learn from the world-changing ideas for the future of work at the heart of Automattic's success.

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oreillyThe Year Without Pants
 
4.0

(based on 2 reviews)

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4.0

Very enjoyable read

By Metheque

from Germany

Pros

  • Easy to understand
  • Helpful examples
  • Well-written

Cons

    Best Uses

      Comments about oreilly The Year Without Pants:

      I bought this book after I read "Confessions from a public speaker" from the same author. I thus came as no surprise that I found it to be well-written and very enjoyable altogether.

      The "behind-the-scenes" approach is certainly interesting and the rhythm of the book, with chapters devoted to reflect upon what has been told so far, is excellent. I did find it weird to read that many details about that many individuals- but, as the persons involved did review the book before it was published, that is more a problem of mine. It did serve well the purpose of the book though.

      Although the book is motivating, I cannot entirely endorse the "future of work" part. I hope I can pick things from it to contribute to a better work culture in my future career path, but as a whole this still seems more of a weird/wonderful single case than a trendsetting company culture.

       
      4.0

      A nice book on distributed teams

      By Polob

      from Paris, France

      About Me Developer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Well-written

      Cons

        Best Uses

          Comments about oreilly The Year Without Pants:

          In this book, Scott Berkun tells us about the time he spent working at Wordpress.com while the company was growing from a 50 persons flat hierarchy startup to a 100 persons company grouped in highly interacting small teams.

          The interresting part is how a company used to unstructured product development can grow while being distributed around the world. Scott underlines a couple of issues with this, but globally his feedback is positive : it works.

          The big thing to make it works seems to have a real company commitment in supporting the remote workers. At wordpress.com, there no real headquarters and everybody is remote. The company also comes from an open source culture with highly self motivated employees. So here is the caveat : you probably won't be able to replicate the same structure on such a scale in an other context.

          Scott is dispensing lots of little hints in how to handle a small team when missing the daily face to face contact. You may extract some wisdom out of it, but don't read this book to get real tricks in how to be a manager : Wordpress.com seems like an impossible heaven : the co-workers are self motivated, the others team always willing to help, the hierarchy supportive... I'm not even sure you may find real hints on how to work remotely.

          The whole book is very positive on the way things works at Automattic (with important remarks on how difficult it is to motivate people on unattractive tasks or long reach reflexions) and Matt Mullenweg is never showed in a bad way. It may be the benefit of being remote : nobody sees you on a bad day. This highly positive tone is bugging me a little in the context of Scott's experiment : from the beginning, it was clear Scott was going to write about it, it was part of the deal with Matt Mullenweg. Some times, things seems to good to be true, but I trust Scott's integrity.

          The whole story is really well-written and easy to read. I really enjoyed it. Scott is really a great writter and story-teller.

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