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The Year Without Pants: WordPress.com and the Future of Work

ISBN: 978-1-118-66063-8
272 pages
September 2013, Jossey-Bass
The Year Without Pants: WordPress.com and the Future of Work (1118660633) cover image
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 twenty 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.

  • Offers a fast-paced and entertaining insider's account of how an amazing, powerful organization achieves impressive results
  • Includes vital lessons about work culture and managing creativity
  • Written by author and popular blogger Scott Berkun (scottberkun.com)

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.

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What You Need to Know 1

1 The Hotel Electra 3

2 The First Day 9

3 Tickets for Caturday 20

4 Culture Always Wins 28

5 Your Meetings Will Be Typed 41

6 The Bazaar at the Cathedral 53

7 The Big Talk 64

8 The Future of Work, Part 1 73

9 Working the Team 82

10 How to Start a Fire 95

11 Real Artists Ship 106

12 Athens Lost and Found 118

13 Double Down 129

14 There Can Be Only One 138

15 The Future of Work, Part 2 148

16 Innovation and Friction 161

17 The Intense Debate 166

18 Follow the Sun 171

19 The Rise of Jetpack 175

20 Show Me the Money 186

21 Portland and the Collective 195

22 The Bureau of Socialization 211

23 Exit Through Hawaii 223

24 The Future of Work, Part 3 230

Epilogue: Where Are They Now? 234

Notes 236

Annotated Bibliography 241

Acknowledgments 243

About the Author 245

Index 247

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Scott Berkun is the author of four popular books: Making Things Happen, The Myths of Innovation, Confessions of a Public Speaker, and Mindfire: Big Ideas for Curious Minds. His work as a writer and speaker has appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times, Wired, the Economist, Fast Company, and Forbes and on CNBC, MSNBC, CNN, National Public Radio, and other media. His many popular essays and entertaining lectures can be found for free on his blog at www.scottberkun.com, and he tweets at @berkun. (Berkun may or may not be wearing pants in this photo.)

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September 17, 2013
The Year Without Pants: WordPress.com and the Future of Work

 

“If you want to think differently about entrepreneurship, management, or life in general, read this book.”
—Tim Ferriss, author, New York Times bestseller The 4-Hour Workweek 

The Year Without Pants:

WordPress.com and the Future of Work


By Scott Berkun

 

A behind-the-scenes look at the firm behind WordPress.com and the unique work culture that contributes to its extraordinary success

What happens when an old-school management guru leaves the books and lectures behind to lead a young team at a revolutionary company, with no email, no offices, and no rules? The answer is an amazing and entertaining book about the future of work.

60 million websites and counting, or 20% of the entire web, use WordPress software. The force behind WordPress.com is a convention-defying company where employees can work from wherever they wish, barely use email and launch improvements to their products dozens of times a day – all with a fraction of the resources of Google, Amazon or Facebook. How is this possible?

To find out, former Microsoft veteran Scott Berkun worked as a manager at WordPress.com from 2010 to 2012, leading a team of programmers to make WordPress even more successful. In his new book, The Year Without Pants: WordPress.com and the Future of Work (Jossey-Bass; 978-1-118-66063-8; September 2013; $26.95; e-book available), Berkun provides a behind-the-scenes look at the innovative firm driving WordPress.com’s phenomenal success and the challenges he faced while leading one of its most important teams.

This bold and entertaining tale is filled with lessons on management and creativity, pulled from first hand experience in a workplace that challenges our biggest assumptions about how work should be done,. Imagine a workplace where:

  • Employees work remotely, from wherever in the world they wish
  • No one uses email, preferring customized blogs and online chat
  • There are no schedules, few meetings, and fewer rules
  • Workers launch new ideas and features dozens of times a day

 How is this possible? And what can the rest of us learn? With his legendary humor and the unique perspective of a seasoned outsider-turned-insider, The Year Without Pants is the best book you will read on the ways leadership, productivity, and work are evolving on business's brave new frontier.  Berkun challenges people like Marissa Meyer and other conservative leader’s old-fashioned notions about how work gets done creatively and effectively!

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