2018 Automattic Grand Meetup, Orlando, Florida

What a week! From the guest speakers to an advanced development class to meeting new people to Harry Potter world to playing Pokémon to touring Disney Springs, it’s hard to say what was the best part of this year’s Automattic Grand Meetup.

I tried to split my time between my new team and my old team when I wasn’t attending class or various presentations and sessions. These events have gotten so huge that it takes some serious effort to find and hug every person I know over the course of the week, let alone have meaningful conversations.

I made new friends raiding in Pokémon Go, and spent most of my downtime wandering around Disney Springs. I had a great one-on-one with my new squad lead at the Star Wars VR experience, and now I think all one-on-ones should involve shooting Stormtroopers. XD

Automattic arranged a special event dinner at Harry Potter World at Universal Studios mid-week. That in itself was impressive, but the afterparty remained my favorite. Epcot fireworks, the ever-present photo booth, and the Automattician-powered band was a great way to round out the week. Just when you think your colleagues couldn’t get any more brilliant, they get on stage and blow you away with musical talent.

And of course, there are the pictures; my favorite souvenirs:

Gallery

Hello, Miami

I just got back from six days in Miami for a work meetup with our squad. This is the first squad event I’ve planned, so I was a bit nervous — mostly about the location, and driving in the city. Thankfully both things worked out (as they usually do).

The hotel wasn’t anything special, but it was affordable, clean, the internet worked, and there were a few restaurants and a Starbucks within walking distance.

We drove through the city and out to the South Beach area a couple times, and I was a surprisingly calm and competent driver (this coming from the woman who learned to drive on teeny back roads, and a highway where you’re more likely to hit a moose than another car…) We would have been totally lost without Michelle, my trusty navigator.

The food was especially great; a big win, since we had an array of unique dietary requirements in our six-person group. Lots of Cuban and Latin influences, and a couple Japanese restaurants stood out (I have a newfound appreciation for sushi/maki after this trip). It was usually possible to find something for everyone, and a couple of the dinners were particularly amazing. We also did a food tour activity on the last day, and that was a hit.

And there was the beach! We spent a couple hours just hanging out in the sun. It’s been such a long winter, the ocean breeze and sub-tropical scenery were a welcome change.

I completely forgot to take photos of everyone working; suffice it to say we did work, and you’ll see the results in the next couple weeks. All in all, it was a successful, engaging, and fun week.

With that in mind, I’m glad I don’t have to plan another one for at least a year. 🙂