The Great “Grand Meetup”

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It’s taken me a few days to decompress from all of the awesome-ness that recently taken place (aka I went into a coma shortly after helping put on WordCamp DFW directly after returning from Grand Meetup 2016!). That’s right, I have attended my first “Grand Meetup” as an Automattician (also known as A12n or A12s for plural – these are employees of Automattic).

Why do we call it the “Grand” Meetup? Here are a few snapshots (taken by follow Automatticians) to answer that question:

First, we descended upon Whistler, B.C. (that’s Canada)

In the Vancouver airport waiting for our ride. 🚌 #a8cgm

A post shared by Andrew dela Serna (@druesome) on

We arrived at YVR (Vancouver International Airport) on Wednesday, Sept. 14th. Shortly after we were taken by the busload to Whistler Village – about a 2 hour drive, which is practically nothing to someone who lives in Texas. There were many sleepy A12s on the bus but my group was lucky enough to have an overly chatty driver that kept us all entertained and excited for the whole ride!

Matt greeted us

@photomatt welcoming all of us to #a8cgm ?

A photo posted by Hari Shanker (@harishanker) on

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A few mentionable tweets of mine from Opening Remarks:

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We Worked

JPOP Devs, Growth, and Happs at #a8cgm ???

A photo posted by h e l l o, f r i e n d (@jennyhooksphoto) on

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This photo shows just one of the many deep conversations that occurred over the week-long meet up.

Everyone chose to either participate in a project, class, or normal work while at the “GM”. We also attended Town Halls for different parts of the company, many went on for several hours, but all were extremely interesting – I went to as many as I could.

More role playing and training. #a8cgm

A photo posted by Christopher Lauzon (@squirex2) on

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In the “Happiness Academy” that I chose to take, we had a bit of role-playing that resulted in some hilarious and some teachable moments.

We Marched

Automatticians

Ok, we didn’t really march, but we did all walk en mass to the village center where we took our annual company photo! It’s interesting to see how much the company has grown in the last year – we have photo evidence from each Grand Meetup.

There are almost 500 of us in this photo, if you can find me you either have too much time on your hands or you played a lot of Where’s Waldo when you were a kid.

We Had Fun

This probably goes without saying, but A12s are really good at cutting loose and having fun. That said, we had two days specifically set aside for FUN.

Some of the activities this year included: zip lining (did that), gondola rides, hiking, escape rooms (did that, my team escaped with 45 seconds to spare), various sports (ping pong, basketball, running, biking, etc), painting, photography, cooking, and more!

We Flash Talked

We have these things called “Flash Talks” – each Automattician must do one – they’re under 4 minutes long and about any topic you want. My talk was on Heartworms of dogs and cats – arguably not a happy or fun topic but I received quite a big of good feedback and attendees in my talk were certainly engaged!

One Flash Talk was a Flash Flash Talk, it was superb.

We Ate

Oh my gosh, I can’t even begin to summarize all of the delicious food that I consumed over the week we were in Whistler. We dined at the Westin and Hilton hotels but most magnificently we also dined at many of the restaurants within walking distance to our hotels. Mind you, I don’t eat meat and I was blown away.

Japanese food at the #a8cgm

A photo posted by Tom Nowell (@tarendai) on

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Just take a look at one of the desserts we were served. Mouth watering yet?

We Partied

The last night of the GM was the “Wrap Party” which this year was a GLOW party. Imagine, all of the awesomeness of the 90s combined with glow-in-the-dark temporary tattoos, glow sticks, flashing rings, photo booths, a dance floor, and a full Automattician band (the Automusicians).

Bear on the dancefloor #a8cgm

A photo posted by Livio Vilela (@liviopv) on

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PS – sometime after I left the GLOW party, a GIANT stuffed bear (that belongs to the hotel) showed up on the dance floor covered in glow necklaces and more. ? Why am I surprised and not surprised at the same time?

Lastly, we went home 😥

Goodnight Whistler and fellow Automatticians. ? It’s been real! #a8cgm #Automattic

A video posted by Carissa Faxlanger (@realcarfax) on

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What a sad, sad day.

Most all of us flew out of YVR after a short bus ride back from Whistler, but one A11n took a train home (how cool is that?!). A good portion of A12s were delayed on their trips home due to terrible weather across the US – Seattle, Minneapolis, and Chicago to name a few.

Some of us will meet up at various WordCamps across the world, at team meetups, and other one-off situations,

If you’re just dying to see more photos and videos, check out the hashtag #a8cgm on Instagram (and elsewhere).

Oh, and you can check out more about Automattic here if you’re interested in Working With Us.

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