WDStories: Praveen Selvasekaran, Automattic

COMPANY: Automattic
Name: Praveen Selvasekaran
Position: WooCommerce Ninja

It was a lazy afternoon in May 2015, the only sound that kept playing repeatedly was the sound of the fan above my head and barking street dog two blocks away. I was scrolling through our P2 [internal company blog] for announcements/ company updates and saw a post which was longer than usual. As I started reading it, I couldn’t believe what I was reading, WooThemes for which I was remotely working from Bangalore, India was acquired by Automattic. Feeling a sense of Exhilaration, I ran to my wife and broke the news. Looking back now, it all feels like a memory that I would like to visit again and again.

My inspiration to work at Automattic is the product. I was freelancing and the primary product that I used/deployed for my customers every day was WooCommerce. Having been a customer of WooThemes for over a year, I‘ve been gradually been given a taste of their culture through reading blog posts, newsletters and so on. One fine day while scrolling through their site, I came across the openings and that’s when the spark of idea birthed from intuition.

The second reason was the sense of independence that is derived from remotely working. There are more advantages than there are pitfalls, but being self motivated and self driven really helped to settle into a remote work environment.

I chose Automattic as since being a Freelancer, I loved the idea of independence but I also wanted to be with people who are far better than myself. By joining WooThemes I would have the opportunity to work with the best of the best. It would also be an opportunity to learn from others. To be frank, some stability in making a living was sweet.

In a previous life I worked with big IT corporations that had hierarchical organizations where competition was the operative principle within teams and in between teams. I see collaboration and humility as the operating principles here. Work/life balance was a major non existing phenomenon when doing the corporate IT gig but now I am enjoying working and living.
When you are constantly following instructions, you become like a robot on an auto mode, I was that and I had to pull the plug. It was a tough decision but once you have done that then there is no looking back.

Since changing jobs, working remotely has helped me organize and take control of my life, I am more healthy now by hitting the gym regularly and I am able to assist my wife who is looking for PHd positions around the world, I am happy to be in a position where I can go anywhere that she has to go and help her in that.

Check out Praveen’s clip on working at Automattic below