Reboot – Clear Is Kind!

Over my career, I had been lucky enough to take part in countless training sessions and courses, from sales training to management training. Some have been better than others but to be honest, most of what I learned in these has since been lost in my ever-dwindling memory bank. And what remains is only ever so faintly indexed.

However, most recently I took part in Automattic’s Reboot leadership training program. First, it was held in NYC, one of my favourite cities, and second, it was with 13 other colleagues who I have never met in person before. So cool!

Outside of travel logistics, there was little prep for attendees and so I really had no expectations. It turned out to be an amazing learning and self-discovery experience. I can’t thank our coaches Andy and Dan enough. Their intimate knowledge of Automattic, our culture, how we work, and the tools we use made the content relevant and interesting.

The leadership tools they taught us are game-changing not only in work but in relationships…and for me in coaching youth hockey and communicating.

I highly recommend Reboot for any person aspiring to communicate and lead in a more frictionless manner!


Meetups! Oh, How I Missed Them

I just returned from an Automattic Divisional meetup in Denver, CO. It was incredible! You can Zoom all you want but nothing connects people as well as spending time with them in person.

It has been almost 3 years since Automattic’s last Grand Meetup, which was in February 2020 in Orlando, Florida. A lot has changed since then.

  • Automattic had less than 1000 employees. We now have over 2000.
  • Interest rates were near all-time lows.
  • Economies were booming.
  • Covid-19 wasn’t even in our vocabulary.
  • AND Elon didn’t own Twitter!

Though Automattic more than doubled in size, we still understand the importance of meetups, maybe even more so now. Living through this pandemic, which still hangs over us, makes me appreciate, even more, the time I am afforded to spend with colleagues. Not that I didn’t appreciate it prior to the shutdown…I did. But now I look at these events and times through a much different lens. One that is less blurry and with a larger depth of field.

For instance, last week, I:

  • Met over 100 people for the very first time.
  • Worked with a small team to create an amazing internal tool for a Hack Day project.
  • Sat through a wonderful interactive seminar by Joe Hudson on making connections.
  • Watched 30 4-minute flash talks. (It still amazes me how smart and creative Automatticans are!)
  • Had a snowball fight with my new friend Yashwin who is a colleague from India and I was with him for the first time he ever saw snow.
  • Learned about some cool things to do in Chicago when I go there next summer.
  • Participated in a ping-pong tournament.
  • Sat in and watched karaoke (though I spared the audience with my singing).
  • Got blown away by the Meow Wolf Exhibit.

For the record, I would trade in PJs for an Automattic nametag and lanyard any day of the week. I can’t wait for the next meetup!

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (Part 1)

Working at Automattic has afforded me an opportunity to work in the tech field I am most passionate about. It has also taught me the value of balancing work with AFK time. But these learnings are eclipsed by what I have learned about the importance and power of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).

Since 2014, Automattic has placed a significant focus on DEI.  So much so that we have employees in 96 countries, speaking 119 different languages, and representing all walks of life! It is wonderful. As a Canadian who grew up in Newfoundland, with a Filipino father (d. 2009) and a Newfoundland mother with French, English, and Indigenous heritage, I am very proud to be a member of this diverse group of colleagues. (Confession: I actually did not know I was a visible minority until I had to fill out a health form to play university soccer and my Japanese teammate pointed out I checked the wrong box on the form…that I was Asian and visible minority. This one moment has forever shaped my experiences and how I view the world.)

Fast forward 32 years and I am now married to an amazing woman from Boston, MA with two amazing boys (8 and 10).  Recently, I learned from my youngest son that 7 grade 2 classmates don’t speak English. It opened my eyes to look around this growing community. In our neighbourhood we have people from various religious faiths, countries, sexual orientations, ethnic backgrounds, and beliefs. I also took notice of people at the grocery stores, restaurants, walking down the streets, sporting events, the soccer pitch, baseball fields, and in our hockey arenas. It was clear that Bedford, Nova Scotia was becoming more diverse with every new subdivision.

In all areas of this community, diversity abounds, except one.  The hockey arenas.  Our association is the biggest hockey association east of Montreal with over 1100 kids playing hockey, and this does not even include the girl’s association. However, it is almost exclusively white from the kids who play to the executives.

Hockey was my first love. Along with other sports, it has taught me countless life skills and given me lifelong friendships. It is the reason my kids play. I had it easy growing up in small-town Newfoundland and excelling at sports. I was accepted by my peers and always felt welcomed to play. But looking at the environment now, I can see that hockey culture has to evolve to become better at DEI, and more welcoming for all.

So, after 6 years of working at A8c and seeing DEI at work, with its positive benefits on growth, culture, productivity, creativity, and inspiration (just to name a few) I have decided to take action and become an agent of change. I am embarking on a journey to make Bedford Minor Hockey a more DEI-conscious association. It will take time, patience, and repeated conversations but I believe the only path forward to grow and strengthen associations like Bedford Minor Hockey and communities like Bedford, NS is through Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.  

Who knows, maybe the next Sydney Crosby or Conner McDavid may very well be an LBGTQ+ kid from Africa who moved with his bi-racial family to Bedford, NS, and fell in love with the game we all love here in Canada.

Not yet Gulliver!

Conferences and other business travel have been a huge part of my professional career dating back to the late 1990’s when I was a Technical Representative for Rasio Chemicals. Back then, I only traveled within Canada.  However, in the past 20 years, in the tech space, I have had the privilege of seeing this amazing world and meeting some extraordinary people along the way.

That all came to an abrupt stop two years ago when the pandemic took a stranglehold on us. 

Travel is slowly getting back to normal as more and more countries are lifting restrictions for travel, under Covid 19.  I have a wife and 2 young boys so my concerns with travel were not only with contracting Covid-19 but more with testing positive on a return trip and having to isolate for 10-14 days in a hotel room away from family. 

But as of April 1st, Canada will not require a negative test to (re)enter the country.  This is such a huge relief, though it would have been better if it was in effect now. You see, I have been to Cloudfest, in Rust Germany 7 or 8 times.  It is a great conference and one that is heavily attended.  Cloudfest 2022 started today and I am not there due to the still-in-place- travel requirements.  It would have been wonderful to see familiar faces and spend time with colleagues, clients, and industry friends without looking through a computer camera.

In lieu of .blog’s team absence, we are honored to co-sponsor with Realtime Register. Yasin Boelhouwer and his team are amazing. They have .blog on T-shirts and are giving away our very popular scented travel candles at their booth.

I plan to start traveling again soon.  It is hard to place a value on spending time with others, business-related or otherwise. 

See you all real soon!


When I first joined Automattic over 5 years ago, I embraced my new professional home with open arms and an open mind. Our CEO, Matt Mullenweg, is a pioneer of the distributed workforce (some even call him the grandfather of a distributed workforce, despite being only 37 years of age). The pandemic has forced many companies and industries to modify the working environment, forcing millions of people to work from home, something Automattic has done since its inception many years ago. There have not been many, if any, companies as prepared to deal with a pandemic more than Automattic. Under Matt, our 1700+ employees have the support, tools, processes, and motivations to work anywhere and anytime we feel we are most productive.

But working from home, or an RV or a coffee shop has its challenges too.  Automattic recognizes this and is constantly working to improve employees’ lives. One such way is a paid “sabbatical” of up to 12 weeks off every 5 years.  When I first started 5 years was so far out that I couldn’t even imagine being off for 3 months straight, given I have not had more than a few weeks off in a row since my first paper route at age 12.

Well, it’s amazing how time flies. I recently came off of my sabbatical, and it was undoubtedly one of the most important things I’ve done personally and professionally. Pre-pandemic, my wife and I talked about traveling during the sabbatical, possibly taking our kids to beautiful Costa Rica. However, those plans were pandemically squashed so I made a list of things I wanted to do and accomplish during my time off. This included tackling various projects around the house, reading more, learning a new skill, and of course spending time with my family. Within a few days of my sabbatical, I realized that I will never have this time again to spend with my wife and kids, so I focused my energy on them and spent my spare time picking at my other sabbatical goals.

My sabbatical was book-ended by two small trips: fishing to Northern British Columbia with a good buddy and a family trip to Newfoundland to see friends and family. But in between was the gem – all about my wife and kids. We spent time on the lake paddle-boarding, playing tennis, golf, hiking, beach days, and taking in as many activities as we could. It was incredible to be able to focus on something without having the ongoing work commitments in the back of my mind.

I also decided to take a break from technology. There were many days where I didn’t even look at my phone! I am not on social media, and I am not anchored by a feeling of missing out on anything that doesn’t directly affect me. I guess I’m lucky that way…so taking a break from technology wasn’t that difficult, but it certainly gave me more clarity on what’s really important.

I came back to Automattic recharged. Not in a Red Bull kind of way, but more like (and here comes my science background) photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process by which plants use sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to create oxygen and energy.

Spring time!

You would think that under the current circumstances of being home 24/7 and not travelling I would have more time to post here.  But I am probably like many people – the more time I have the busier I am, if that makes any sense. I am not one to sit around. Moss just sits around.

Outside of work, Spring is here and that means housework, lawn care, tackling a long list of projects compliments of my beautiful wife, and of course, more kid’s activities.  In Canada, one hockey season ends, and another begins. So, on top of tennis and baseball, we are now entering Spring hockey. That is what we get for living in a hockey crazy country.  Regardless, the kids and I love it and are fortunate to be living in a region that has managed to keep Covid cases extremely low and offers a relatively normal day-to-day life under this pandemic.

As for work, things are ramping up! Automattic is comprised of many small teams. These teams work independently but all align with the bigger picture and company goals.  It is a great way to maintain high productivity and have accountability. Employees are empowered to make decisions and are measured by results.  However, teams change and grow.  We have a part-time person who splits his time with another team, and we added a new full time person. Our team is small but efficient. I like to say we punch well above our weight class. My new colleague is wonderful to work with and is also results driven. Which is why by adding another business development person we actually are busier. Now, along with running and managing a domain TLD registry we can focus on things that we could never get to, like more and concentrated promotions, selling more premium names, and supporting our channel’s efforts! 

At Autommatic there is no traditional work and life balance. It is all one so I can go from signing a partnership agreement to coaching hockey to jumping on a zoom call to taking my dog for a run, all within a few hours. Whatever it takes!

SuperBowl LV – Who will win?

One of my favourite times of year is just around the corner.  That is right, the Super Bowl (aka Covid Bowl), being played at a semi-filled Raymond James Field in Tampa Bay. 

I have been a Patriots fan before Brady was even drafted by them. I cheered the Bledsoe years and marvelled at the quarterback carousel prior to that. My all-time favourite Pat is Tedy Bruschi….hands down. However, it is difficult not the cheer for the player drafted 199 overall, who lead the team to 6 Super Bowl wins. So, as I cheered my Patriots this season, despite knowing it would not turn out well with Cam Newton at pivot, I could not help but share my encouragement and enthusiasm for numbers 12 and 87 of the Bucs.  Brady will be in his 10th Super Bowl and Gronk his 5th, facing, what might be their last hurrah at the big dance. 

But that is not the only reason I am excited about the Super Bowl. I love the commercials.  Not just that I am befuddled by the fact that companies are be better off burning $5 million dollars in a dumpster, taping it, and putting it on youtube to market their product than run a 30 sec ad during a Super Bowl or the appearance of A-list celebrities recruited to look foolish. But as person in domains, I watch for the promotion of domain names in commercials. I am always shocked how more companies do not promote a call-to-action in a Super Bowl ad using a domain name.  The real winners do.

I kinda have the feeling this creative commercial, which they actually call a marketing stunt, may be the real winner this year!

It is bust or boom time!

Here it comes…

Covid-19 has hit the world like a punch in the mouth, however, as many people know Atlantic Canadians are resourceful and know how to take a punch. While most of the world struggled to cope with the rising tide of Covid-19, we hunkered down, trimmed our sails, and trekked forward, relying on each other in a 4 province Atlantic bubble. This served us very well for many keeping the virus at the door for a long time.

During the initial shutdown in March my wife and I had the mindset that being couped up as a family is not a negative thing. Our goal was to have positive experiences with the kids so when they look back on this time it will be with fond memories and not negative ones.

Having worked from home for many years now, including extended periods in the early 2000’s, has taught me many things, including the importance of time management. But what it didn’t prepare me for was managing my time across a family of four, with kids 6 and 8.  This was challenging – not finding the time to spend with the kids, but being able to mentally shift to ‘Dad mode’ while taking the kids for an hour here and there to give my wife a break, and then shifting right back into ‘work mode’, and vice-versa.  This is not easy but something I worked at to improve.  And just when I felt like I was getting the hang of it Covid-19 restrictions were lifted, the Atlantic bubble secured, and we resumed normal life, relatively speaking.

Well, here we go again. We are again faced with the precipice a Covid-19, this time in the form of a second wave. With the 18-35 year old demographic partying like it’s 1999, foreign students recently returning to school, and more essential workers travelling, it was inevitable that our once safe haven bubble would start to crack, then burst.

This week, two Atlantic provinces have closed their borders and in Nova Scotia, where I live, many new restrictions are back in place. In order to get ahead of this second wave of infections, our leaders are taking action before it is too late including the cancellation of all recreational activities, even hockey (gasp!). For the record, I applaud them for this effort, provided they take care of the people whose livelihoods are most negatively affected Covid-19.

So, as a distributed worker for Automattic, I feel lucky to be able to continue my work on .blog with minimal disruption through these unprecedented times, though I am mentally preparing myself for when the kids are once again restricted to home I need to exercise my brain in the form of mental gymnastics.

Virtually Everything!

Why do my kids need $20 haircuts when a good set of clippers cost under $100 and will last for years? For many (if not all) of us, Covid-19 will change our lives forever in some way, shape, or form.  Whether it is how we shop, interact with others, our personal hygiene, or work, the pandemic has altered the way we approach many aspects of our lives by forcing us to question the status quo. 

Covid 19 has ended my streak of work travel.  It has been 21 years that I have been to an airport on average every 6-8 weeks. It has been 31 weeks and counting since I last had to use my passport and our out my water bottle.

This past week NamesCon hosted their first virtual conference called NamesCon Online and it got me thinking about how conferences in this industry are changing due to the pandemic.  This wasn’t the first virtual conference for the domains industry since the Covid-19 shut down in March, ICANN has had several, and it won’t be our last. With all of the technology at our disposal today, like Zoom, why do we need physical conferences anyway?

Well, for me the answer is quite simple. Relationships.  This industry is small and driven by relationships.  Building, growing, maintaining, and developing relationships is important for most companies to thrive because without them this would be just a faceless industry where decisions are made solely by commercial markers when many other great opportunities may be missed by not interacting with the numerous attendees in the hallways, sessions, at breakfast, lunch and dinners, during industry events, or drinks at the hotel bar.

I was eager to take part in NamesCon Online last week out of curiosity more than anything.  Watching pre-recorded sessions or reading panel highlights is easy but we must adopt a new way to help with relationships at a virtual event in order for online conferences to remain relevant for most industry professionals.  I am not sure what that looks like but it also raises a question about how conferences will be affected when there is a vaccine and we must once again take off our shoes and empty our water battles before boarding a plane.  My guess is if the industry can be successful at conducting virtual events then physical events may be that much better when we get back to them. The one major benefit for virtual conferences over physical conferences is that you don’t have to wear a mask during to attend a virtual conference (unless you want to).

Current Events

We are living in unprecedented times. Covid-19 has forced the world to pause, pullback and pivot.  We are still in the middle of this serious pandemic with an unknown outcome of how our lives will be permanently changed.  The United States are in the middle of their own crisis in which they too have paused, pulled back, and will hopefully pivot to make the necessary changes in attitudes and outdated policies developed over 100 of years ago resulting in ongoing social injustices, racism, and discrimination of blacks and other minorities.


We try to educate our kids on what is happening in the world, teaching them right from wrong, the importance of friends, family, and all people regardless of their culture, race, or beliefs. We encourage them to find ways to help make positive change. But they are young and I can’t help but think how they will look back for these times when they are older. My generation turned to encyclopedias, but these latest generations do not know life without the internet.  We turned a page looking for information. They click a button or say a command!  But this cannot happen without domain names.

When anything significant happens in this world you can be sure domain name registrations quickly follow. Yes, there will always be vultures who pounce on domains and squat on them in hopes that someone who is negatively affected by an environment, activity, or event will pay a premium for the domain. This aside, domains remain as the digital soap box for people to give their voices and stories to the world and I am proud to be part of the industry that makes that happen.

RIght now there are thousands of new digital soap boxes educating us on Covid-19 and fighting for the injustices that sadly ended the life of yet another black person at the hands of those who are supposed to protect us. RIP George Floyd.

Now, if there was only way to search domains with ease and  relevancy to find this information…hmmm!