Finally, I Can Talk About It
On June 1st, I’ll start work for b5media Inc as their resident WordPress Ninja. No really, that’s what my business cards will say. And I’m actually not resident… (they’re based in Toronto, I’m staying in Florida). More on that later. This is very exciting news for me. It’s been positively slaying me that I couldn’t talk about this publicly until now. So please forgive me if I take periodic breaks to let out a sigh of relief.
b5 What Now?
b5media is a global new media network featuring more than 200 blogs on a wide variety of subjects ranging from entertainment and news to technology and sports. With content written by passionate people, and managed by dedicated Channel Editors, from all over the world and visited by more than two million unique visitors a month, b5media is among the world’s largest online new media networks. b5media is based in Toronto.
Okay, so they’re a large blog network. But that wasn’t enough to pique my interest. Their size had nothing to do with it. There were two things that made me want to fly up to Toronto and meet the team:
- The team is passionate about the blogging revolution
- They are a committed member of the WordPress community
They “get” blogging, and they “get” WordPress. They are passionate about the things I am passionate about. And they wanted to pay me to do things driven by that passion. It was a no-brainer for me.
b5media Inc is based in Toronto, ON, but many of their employees work off-site, as I will.
How It Happened
Aaron Brazell (previously known to me) from b5media contacted me in late March about a position they had available. He sort of floated it out there, not even knowing if I’d be interested in taking on a full time job, as opposed to staying freelance. The timing couldn’t have been better. Although I enjoy my freelance work, I had reached a point where I would have to hire employees or subcontractors in order to expand the business, and my paid work was starting to reduce the amount of time I could spend contributing to WordPress core. Aaron’s e-mail also came shortly after the loss of my sister. As cheesy as this sounds, it gave me hope. It gave me something to be excited about.
I told Aaron I was interested, and I scrambled to get a passport so they could fly me up to Toronto to talk about it. Turns out, if you’re willing to fork out the cash, you can get an American passport very quickly. The actual turnaround on mine, once I got all the paperwork in the hands of the expediting service, was less than 24 hours.
I flew up to Toronto in April, and spent a few days doing “interviews.” They called them interviews, but there was a two-beer minimum for all my encounters with team members, and they didn’t really ask me a lot of questions. It was more of a casual pitch. And I was definitely interested. Jeremy Wright, Mark Evans, and Aaron gave me their vision for the company and a glimpse at what they had coming around the bend. They told me how I’d fit in. I liked what I heard.
More than that, I liked the people who were telling it. They were easygoing, friendly, with good senses of humor. When I got to my hotel and met Jeremy and Aaron in the hotel bar, Jeremy opened with “We’re so glad you were willing to fly up here, and really glad that you’re willing to do the job for $30k.” $30k became a running gag while I was there. In the end, they offered me a great package (Jeremy says I should brag that I haggled up from $30k to show off my mad haggling skills), and we started drawing up the papers the next morning.
What It Means For My WordPress Contributions
I lose nothing in independence, and gain much in that part of my “on the clock” time is going to be spent making WordPress better. Read more about this at my WP.com blog.
What It Means For My Freelance WordPress Services
I’ll have to scale back a lot, obviously. And I’ll be refocusing on more of long-term maintenance relationships than one-time big projects. If it isn’t the type of work that can “fill in the gaps,” then I’ll likely have to pass. I’ll have more to say on this later, after I get a feel for how much spare time and energy I have to give.