The first scoop on my next book

The good news is my next book is well underway. As many of you know, I quit my job at WordPress.com a few weeks ago. It was time to get back to work filling the bookshelf and I’m happy to report some good news.

The next book is based on the journal I kept while working at WordPress.com. It tells the story of what I learned working for one of the most amazing companies in the world.

They do some unusual things most workplaces would never do:

  • Everyone works remotely – from home or wherever they wish around the world
  • They rarely use email – it’s mostly blogs and chat programs
  • Employees get as much vacation as they choose
  • Every employee works in support for their first 3 weeks
  • There is high autonomy – people decide how to work best and (to some degree) what they’ll work on
  • For the 15th most popular website in the world, they have only ~100 employees.

I worked there for 18 months and the book follows my journey from the first day through to the last. It explores all the great things I experienced,  learned, struggled with and discovered while trying to make great software.

I’m in the process of looking for a publisher. I have some editors I’d love to work with who I’m reaching out to, but if you happen to be an awesome editor at an amazing publisher, I’d like to hear from you. [Update:I signed a deal with Jossey-Bass]

 

If you leave a comment, I’ll make sure you get an email when the book comes out.

56 Responses to “The first scoop on my next book”

  1. Jack Dempsey

    I’m really looking forward to the remote work lessons learned. Some high profile companies talk about how they do it, but if often feels like only the good parts. It’s never easy in my experience and it sounds like Automattic does it well.

    Reply
    • Scott Berkun

      Thanks Jack. What other companies have you seen write about it? I’ve found short things here and there but nothing substantive. If you have links let me know.

      Reply
  2. Phil Simon

    This isn’t a plug, but working remotely was a big theme at many of the companies in The New Small.

    Reply
  3. Fernando

    The company I’ve been at for the past 6 months is also completely remote. We have people in all timezones -in fact I have a meeting in a few hours, 1:30 AM local time with folks in the US and Russia. My team has never been together physically. There are certainly some unique challenges to working like this, but it’s also very stimulating. Looking forward to seeing how a very successful team like Automattic does it.

    Reply
  4. Cameron Plommer

    Sounds really intriguing Scott as somebody really interested in how organization do work.

    Looking forward to it.

    Any sense of when you would like to release it?

    Reply
  5. Matt Robin

    Sounds intriguing Scott! You’ve previously written and talked about many things in interesting ways, so I’m sure any insights you can share about WP would be a great read.

    Count me down as ‘interested’ in this book then! All the best for getting it published too.

    Reply
  6. Josh

    Sounds really interesting! I’d be interested in parallels to how “normal” companies do it and what kinds of things you found that work well that can be brought into more traditional companies.

    Reply
  7. Michael Lawyer

    Have you been in touch with Tim Sanders (@sanderssays) at Netminds? I’ve read several of his books, and your ideas and his seem to move in parallel channels. Netminds is his new self-web-team publishing tool, and it may be useful for your project.

    I’ll buy your book regardless based on how much I enjoyed mindfire, but i would be super ecstatic about a book the two of you interacted on.

    Reply
  8. Anand

    Having read all your previous books, I am sure this one too would turn out to be great like those. Wish you all the best Scott…

    Looking forward to learning some great stuff from the new book.

    Reply
  9. kunishi yoshifumi

    It must be your fifth book!
    I’ve read your first and second book in Japanese translation version and third and fourth one in english.
    I’m looking forward to your fifth book. And it’s contents(on your experience of remote work at work press etc)sounds very interesting!

    Reply
  10. Liang Wang

    Looking forward to this book, especially on “people decide how to work best and (to some degree) what they’ll work on”.

    Reply
  11. Betsy Talbot

    Nice to hear you are working on a new book, Scott! I’m interested in how the things you mentioned above – greater autonomy, decreased email, working in support for 3 weeks – play out in the long-term in both the company’s success and employee retention as well as the employee’s job satisfaction and career growth.

    I’ve found not everyone is comfortable with a higher level of autonomy and “unstructure” and wonder how this method works for different personality types across the company. (I previously worked in a 90% remote employee company but the staff was not given much autonomy and was drowned in email, so I’ve seen it from the other side.)

    Reply
  12. Piotr

    Will you gather a support team within your readers as you did before? If so, count me in.

    Good luck with the book!

    Reply
  13. Yousef Omar

    Hi Scott,
    Excited about the upcoming release! Any hints on the title or you didn’t choose one yet?

    Reply
  14. Joe Topinka

    Scott – I would love to get updates on the new book. I am writing a book that is focused on what it means to be an IT Business Partner in company’s. You inspired me to write. I am about half way through the book and will share it with you when I finish my first draft this fall (if you are interested).

    You sent me signed copies of your books in the past and we still use your Making Things Happen as a foundation tool for our project management teams…thanks for being an inspiration!

    Joe Topinka

    Reply
  15. Serge Zenin

    This sounds like a really interesting project…I really wonder what such an enormous level of autonomy does for the working environment. It seems like anyone cut out to work for WordPress absolutely has to be internally motivated and cannot depend on their boss telling them what to do. I hope that you are able to expound on the negative effects of this policy as well, as this very “loose” organization structure is bound to run into hurdles. Good luck with the publishing ! I’m currently reading Making Things Happen, and it has been a very useful read for the sort of work that I do. Not all of it is relevant, but there are bits and pieces that I’ve applied to some my projects–definitely some very insightful and effective tips. I look forward to reading this next book!

    Reply
  16. Scott

    This is a great topic and I really look forward to buying this book.

    Reply
  17. Vivek Gupta

    Great to hear that you are onto your next book-pedition…!My Best Wishes. My day, usually begins with visiting your blog.

    But, Why (only) WordPress?
    My initial feel is that merely sequencing and narrating your experiences at WordPress may be slightly less effective than, maybe, comparing and contrasting those experiences with, experiences of your own or even others, working at similar organisations/ dissimilar organisations with similar work-practices, elsewhere.

    Nevertheless, I love whatever you write, and would eagerly look forward to the initial drafts of the book.

    Reply
  18. Jill

    HI Scott, I would love to know when your book on working at WordPress comes out. Love the idea of everyone working remotely – technology is such an awesome thing!

    Reply
  19. m

    Looking forward to learning about the WordPress culture.

    Reply
  20. Jason

    This sounds like an awesome book! Looking forward to it!

    Reply
  21. Joachim Kristensen

    Found the blog post very interesting. Looking forward to the book.

    Reply
  22. Simon

    Call me old school, but I’m quite convinced about highly effective face-to-face communication and quite skeptic about working remote entirely.

    Also, I wonder do which degree people are allowed to choose what to work on, and how that works in practice.

    That way or the other, looking forward to your thoughts on this topic :)

    Reply
    • Scott Berkun

      I’m old school too – thats exactly why i decided to take on the project

      Reply
  23. Patrick

    I’m very intrested to follow you on your journey and I look forward to your insights. I’ve read your first four books (all have been great). I wish you all the best.

    Reply
    • Paolo Malabuyo

      i was going to say the same thing. valve seems to have similar philosophies on what people are going to work on, not necessarily about working remotely. i have a few contacts over there if you don’t already – happy to make intros if you’re interested.

      -paolo-

      Reply
  24. Joshua Gross

    Looking forward to reading this when it comes out! Very curious about how to build a company of remote workers while fostering a good culture.

    Reply
  25. Mark McWilliams

    I’m not one for reading book, but I think that might change when you release this one. If I can’t get myself a job with Automattic, then seeing what happens behind-the-scenes (with WordPress.com for example) means I don’t miss out right? :)

    Reply
  26. Tina

    I’m really looking forward to the story and your insights!

    Reply
  27. Martin Allien

    Hi Scott,

    as I’m reading Big Ideas for Curious Minds now, I’m definitely looking forward to your next book.
    I’m a fan of Automattic and big WordPress lover; so that in combination with your thoughts sounds irresistible :)

    Martin Allien

    Reply
  28. Sylvain Carle

    I am really curious about the “they rarely use email” part. Email is a huge part of the internal culture @Twitter and it seems to me that it’s both the backbone and the backbreaker of internal comms. Quite a paradox.

    I have always thought that Automattic was some sort prototype for the company of the future, but making it happen now. Really looking forward to this one.

    Reply
  29. Geoff

    How about a draft to review?

    Reply
  30. Christy

    The combination of everyone working remotely and no one using email is particularly unusual. In my own experience, working remotely works the best when there is some face-to-face time every two or three months. Looking forward to your insight.

    Reply
  31. Elliot

    Looking forward to the next book!

    Reply
  32. Krzysztof Urbański

    Looking forward, intriguing topic. It’s a pity it takes so long to write and publish a book – when it comes to working experience in a web company, a year is quite a long time.

    Reply
    • Scott

      Thanks. I try to imagine what it’s like to read a book about the Beatles while they were on their first tour. Does it lose anything because that was years ago? If the writer does his job, it doesn’t.

      Reply
  33. dave

    Looking forward to reading it, sounds like an interesting time!

    Reply
  34. Pedro Mendes

    Looking forward to it. Loved your other books, and am a big fan of WordPress. Greetings from Portugal.

    Reply
  35. Tom

    Great to hear about the new book. Many times, we learn from others through their processes and procedures, but finding out the thought behind the actions can prove the most valuable.

    Reply
  36. Mike

    Scott – I am very much looking forward to this new book, both because I like your writings and because I am very interested in WordPress. Please add me to your “notify” list. Thanks and regards!

    Reply
  37. Janet Rae-Dupree

    Really looking forward to the WordPress book!

    Reply
  38. Nipun

    Let me know when your book comes out.

    Reply

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