Five Minutes with Dave Martin

Every once in a while, we get to sit down with an Automattician to help you get to know the people who work behind the scenes here. These are the people who build new features, keep Automattic running, and make the best it can be. This week, we’re very pleased to introduce you to Mr. Dave Martin: Growth Designer, frequent mover, and family guy extraordinaire. 

What is your current role at Automattic? Tell us about the path that led you here.

I have to confess that I’m a bit of a nomad. In thirty-two years, I’ve lived in fifty-three different homes. My career has followed suit. Before Automattic, the longest I’ve ever stayed with a company was two years.

dave martinAt the beginning of this year, I made my fourth role swap within Automattic, having worked as a designer on Akismet, CodePoet, and WordPress Core, running usability tests, designing new features, and coding up front-end patches.

As a Growth Designer, I now help out with growth across a number of different Automattic products. In June, I hosted a Growth Learn-Up in our San Francisco office where we flew in 20 Automatticians from across the globe to discuss and work on growth projects within the company. It was amazing. I also help out with growth and design hiring (shameless plug: Automattic is awesome, and we’re always hiring!).

Is there an interesting project you’ve recently worked on?

We work on interesting things all the time. The experience I’ll highlight was my opportunity to work full-time on WordPress Core. It was a huge honor. If you’ve never contributed to core, I’d suggest checking it out. It’s amazing to consider that any patch you submit to Core that gets committed literally benefits the lives of tens of millions of users. I can’t think of many other opportunities where I can work one hour here and there and have such a massive impact.

What’s the best way to get involved in the WordPress community?

Find a way (however big or small) to give back to the community. You can answer questions in the forums, you can speak at a WordCamp, you can contribute your design or coding skills to Core. There are a hundred ways you can give back. If you find yourself taking, and not giving back, find ways to give back. You’ll have a much richer, more enjoyable experience. I promise!

WordCamp San Francisco is upon us — tell us about your previous WordCamp experiences!

WordCamps are amazing. They offer an assortment of learning opportunities at all levels. But most of all, they offer you a chance to connect with other people. That’s where the magic really comes in. I’m an introvert by nature. My inclination is to sit through the sessions, and then leave, without talking to anyone.

Don’t do that! You’ll miss out on the best part!

Talk with people. Ask questions. Share your talents. Doing so makes a world of difference.

What’s your favorite part about being an Automattician?

Automattic trusts us to do what is right. They trust us to decide what should be worked on. They trust us to work from home. They trust me to make my own schedule. We don’t have a vacation policy. If I feel burnt out, I can take a week or two off. No questions asked. They trust us to choose team meetup locations anywhere in the world (where we get together as a team and work for a week).  There is no limit to the number of meetups your team can schedule. They trust us to make the right call.

In the end, the thing I appreciate most is being trusted enough to make the right call with regard to pretty much every aspect of my job. It’s very empowering, and very cool.

In all, I’ve been with Automattic for three years now, and while I may continue to jump around to different roles, I have no intention of leaving any time soon.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love my work, but my family is the center of my universe.

The majority of my free time is spent with my family. We swim together, we hike together, we shop together, we play together. I go to all of my daughter’s swim practices, all of her swim meets. Automattic gives me the flexibility to do that, even during what are typically normal business hours. Automattic trusts me to get things done, while allowing me to put what is most important in my life first — my family. I couldn’t ask for more.

Did you know Automattic is hiring? We want people who are willing to work hard, share their ideas, learn from their colleagues, take initiative to get things done without being told, and aren’t afraid to ask questions. Think you fit the bill? Work with us.

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  1. bumblepuppies

    Sounds great. I wish you were hiring for your editorial team (or something else that doesn’t require knowledge of programming languages).


  2. bravesmartbold

    Thanks for the insight into being an Automattician. I like it that they trust you. It shows that they hire people they believe in. And, your tiara, well, it’s fabulous.



    Nice to meet you Dave.


  4. Second Chance to Live

    Thank you Dave for what you do to enhance the experience of many people like myself on WordPress. Have a great day Sir. Craig


  5. Kay Wilson

    Moving 53 times, OMG but love the idea that a guy says he puts his family first & works a job that allows that!! Hurray for you to attend your daughters’ events.


  6. bcarbis90

    Martin and Huberman are the sort of people who build confidence and inspiration, and are to be admired. B.
    Sent via my BlackBerry from Vodacom – let your email find you!


  7. Sabah Ahmed

    Many many thanks,.


  8. Meka

    I dig the tiara because I couldn’t find the nerve to post a silly tiara pic to celebrate my little blog’s 1 month b-day, but by 2 months? Oh it is on! I couldn’t put this article down. That you moved 53 times makes me feel normal, and I wanted that for a long time. Now I know that I can survive without that feeling 🙂 Great to meet you, and your job seems amazing! Best of luck to you. Thank you for sharing this.


  9. ButterfliesWithin

    Lucky, Dave! Where can I get a job like that?


  10. dilmilgaya

    I thought I am the only one jumping jobs & houses but Dave, you seem to take the cake!! Good on you! They say ‘Variety is the spice of life’ & you are a living proof……keep up the great work & thanks for enhancing our word press experience.


  11. Welcome the Weird Productions

    Dave is a cool guy. I like that he has the flexibility to make his own schedule. (and that Ben is kind of a hottie).


  12. ShimonZ

    I believe that WordPress reflects the quality of the people who work for the company.


  13. kjellbrellsworld

    A hopegiving session.


  14. smthakur19

    That’s really nice introduction, Dave. I must say, that you are really amazing person.


  15. jamharl

    Glad to meet you Dave… (hand salute… :D)


  16. notaohio

    You rightfully earned the crown. Congratulations!


  17. timethief

    Hi Dave,
    Thanks for you and all you do for us bloggers.


  18. blueribbonfair

    I never knew of this aspect of WordPress. Pretty neat.


  19. Anita Rosner

    When I think about WordPress (which I do constantly because…my name is Anita…and I’m addicted to my blog) it never occurs to me that, While I’m hunched over my keyboard at 4:00 in the morning, an entire team of people is making it all possible for me to express myself. Without WordPress, I may have developed some other nasty obsession, like hoarding goldfish or binge-watching Manimal. Thank you for all you do!! Thank you! Thank you!


  20. Nurture Africa

    Dave I respect you, you are a dad, great community worker who is so proud of what he does. You are not only a hard worker but generous too. Thank you for encouraging us to get involved with WordPress. You inspire me


  21. 4wdesign4u

    Great interview! I really like the title ‘growth engineer’! Interesting insight into how WordPress is developed.


  22. 83rey

    nice to read


  23. Patti Hall

    I enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look at a real person doing a real job that benefits this real community:>)


  24. brendaloveladyvideography

    Thank you for what you do!


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