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 20 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.
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.
Narrator wasn't that great. The book is fantastic. The story of automattic and its methodology of working is a great case study in collaboration and the future of working with disbursed teams across the globe.
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This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?
Perhaps people who don't work in the software industry might enjoy this but to those of us who do, his overly excited descriptions of mostly typical activities and people in smaller software companies are a bore.
Would you ever listen to anything by Scott Berkun again?
Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Chris Kayser?
Anyone who didn't read in such a monotoned and mono-paced voice.
He also should have learned how to pronounce common computer terms such as Linux. Its pronounced lynn-ux, not line-ux. I cringed every time I heard this. There were others as well.
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Year Without Pants?
Remove all of the isn't-this-guy amazing worshiping of people. Remove the weren't-we-so-cool attitude. Too much hype of not much specialness.
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Useful book if you want to learn about Automattic culture and practices of an effective distributed team.
But the book might have been a lot shorter and the reader's voice is a bit boring
loved the details, stories, ideals, and really everything about this book. specifically the leadership lessons in such a decentrallized org were very interesting.
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
Although I believe the narration was paced well with the content, I believe my listening experience would have been a 4 or 5 if the narration used varied tones or alternate voices for the characters to just provide variation with the listening experience. The tone was kind of dry.
Who was your favorite character and why?
I loved the ways Berkun provides a funny and detailed insight look at life inside Automattic. Berkun focused on his interpersonal relationships with colleagues as well as work related duties that allowed him and his team to bond and make the company better and relations stronger.
Did the narration match the pace of the story?
Yes, the narration matched the pace of the story. The details, actions, and style the story was written matches perfectly with the way the narration was given.
What character would you cut from The Year Without Pants?
I would not cut any character from this book, I believe each character is unique and play a vital role in the story. Every character had their own part in making the business successful and showed the connections and disconnections within working remotely.
Any additional comments?
This book will be a good read for anyone that may want to look to start a remote business as it gives a lot of insightful information on building a business from the group up. It gives detailed examples of business needs, wants, success and failures.
If you could sum up The Year Without Pants in three words, what would they be?
A good read
What other book might you compare The Year Without Pants to and why?
Not really sure
Have you listened to any of Chris Kayser’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
No I have not
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Any additional comments?
It was a good book that will make you think outside the box to learn ways to incorporate knowledge and dedication to company while offering your personal insight on ways that a company can improve.
Narration was ok. Strange pronunciations of some words and states far too many "slashes".
Book itself is probably 90% fluff. There are so many frustrating descriptions of boring events. There's about 15 minutes describing 5 engineers playing shuffle board in detail. While this gives context, it's just so boring and cringe you.
There are gems of knowledge in this book and the author is smart. I'd like someone to edit this down to a 60 minute audiobook.
Would you consider the audio edition of The Year Without Pants to be better than the print version?
audible business books are great and in some cased I buy the kindle version for reference. this is a good book!!
Good story about a well-run company, but nothing mind blowing if you are already deep into building a virtual company. Worth a listen though to plant a few seeds of additional ideas you might be able to use.
Even at 1.25x it was ponderously slow. Berkun is a great public speaker, he should narrate his own books!
I have been a Wordpress user for many years and even got to meet Matt Mullenweg at a Wordpress meetup in 2004 when the software was still in its infancy. Having worked in the web industry as a project manager, I've also been familiar with Scott Berkun's writing for many years, and his book on project management is still the first thing I recommend to anyone asking me how they can get into PM.
With that, TYWP has been on my radar for some time, but the offputting title made me dismiss it previously. A recent interest in working with remote, distributed teams led me to give it a try after all, choosing the audio version so I wouldn't have to look at that cover. :)
What a mistake this was. I have been listening to audio books for a many years, and am happy to go with the flow and style of most narrators. Not in this case. The narrator's monotonous tone was turning an engaging and insightful story into a boring lecture. As the book is written in the first person, this made the author himself sound less credible (which is a shame as I have heard Scott Berkun speak in person and he is full of energy.)
Much worse though, the narrator was obviously completely clueless about the subject matter. He constantly mispronounced industry terms, or spelled them out letter by letter as if they were acronyms (for example, reading Scrum, a agile methodology for running projects, as "es-ce-r-u-em", or CNET, a well-known technology website, as "ce-en-e-te.") Not only was this incredibly distracting, it subtly gave the impression that the story itself wasn't credible (obviously, that was not the case, but it *felt* that way.)
In addition, the book contains a number of chat transcripts, which were read off verbatim, which in the audio format is not suitable but confusing and annoying.
Despite all this I did enjoy getting a look behind the scenes at Automattic and found many of Scott's insights and lessons useful and interesting, but sadly, as an overall experience, the audio book was barely tolerable.
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It's not everyday that I get to read a book so sincere and warm about work and human relationship. Thank you Scott Berkun for sharing and Automattic for allowing it. While reading this I couldn't help but remember why I love to work passionate people who care. I recommend this book to people searching meaningful stories.