A New Chapter

This is my first week at a brand new job – working at Audrey Capital. If you don’t know what Audrey is, it’s Matt Mullenweg’s angel investment and research company. This means I’ll be working full-time on WordPress, with the awesome team of Nacin, Otto, Scott, Rose, & Matt. This is a huge change for me and I’m a little bit stunned that everything’s happened so very quickly. However, I am immensely excited about the challenges ahead, both in terms of WordPress.org and other projects that I’ll be working on at Audrey. But first…

What About Words for WP?

The hardest part about all of this is giving up working with my clients at Words for WP. I’ve really enjoyed it over the past 18 months – I’ve had the chance to work with fantastic clients across the WordPress community, all of whom I’ve learned a great deal from. When Matt asked me about working at Audrey, it really was a difficult decision – I had pretty much decided that the only person I’d ever work for again was me.

However, some offers are hard to refuse, and instead of spending time improving documentation and content for individual WordPress businesses and developers, I’ve got the opportunity to improve documentation and content for every WordPress user and developer, no matter whose product they’re buying. So whatever I’m losing in the autonomy of being my own boss, I’m making up for tenfold in impact.

This means that Words for WP, in its current form anyway, is on extended hiatus. It was, and is, a great idea, and something quite needed in the WP community (not to mention lucrative 😉 ), but my new role is, I think, more important.

I will be keeping up writing and editing for Smashing Magazine in my spare time, so don’t expect to see me disappear from there.

Working at Audrey

As Matt told me (like he told Nacin two years ago), it’ll be quite difficult to tell people what the company I work for does: My mum was certainly confused – “you’re being paid by a company to do that thing that you used to not get paid for?” However, there are two clearly defined things that I’ll be doing – one which will surprise no one, the other might do.

WordPress Documentation

It’s no surprise to anyone that one of my focuses is going to be working on WordPress documentation. This will be in terms of planning and managing documentation projects, writing documentation, and generally doing any content-related stuff as needed. Since the summit, I’ve been juggling my time between clients and working on docs – certainly work on the handbooks is not moving along as quickly as I would have liked, so I’ll now be able to dedicate the time that it needs. There are some other plans that have been floating around that I’ll be able to pursue more fully:

  • Better code reference for WordPress – developer docs inspired by queryposts.com and built on a parser developed by Ryan McCue and Jon Cave
  • Review of the WordPress Codex
  • Developing a documentation tracking system
  • Research into other FLOSS docs projects to see what we can learn about their processes and best practices
  • Improvements to WordPress inline help
  • Completion of the handbooks
  • User-focussed handbooks
  • Other cool docs things that I think of

I’m going to be doing a lot of research into documentation best practices, setups, tools, and all that good stuff. Everything will be published on a blog so that people in the WP community can make use of it. While I won’t be able to write beautiful docs for you all anymore, I hope to provide you with the tools necessary to do it yourselves.

WordPress’s History

Last year I got to thinking about the ten year anniversary of WordPress, and thought it would be fun to do a series of posts on it for Smashing. I mentioned it to Matt and he seemed pretty interested in it, and it was one of the things that we talked about at length when we discussed my joining Audrey.

This is going to be the second area that I’ll really be focussing my efforts. I’ll be compiling a history of WordPress which we’ll eventually narrativise and publish in various formats. This is going to involve a lot of research, and all of the material will be published somewhere on WordPress.org for people to make use of in their own research. This will include interview transcripts, recordings, articles, links to relevant blog posts, and anything else I find.

For the time being, I’ll be focussing on very early WordPress/b2 stuff. If you’re an early developer or contributor or supporter, or were just generally involved in the blogging scene around 2002 – 2004 please feel free to get in touch and we can have a chat. I have a list of people that I’m going to contact but I don’t want to miss anyone with something interesting to say!

Also, if anyone is interested in helping me to process old archives and blog posts, do let me know.

For the next few months, making progress with this is going to be my major focus (as well as managing the docs projects that are already in motion). This month I’ll be catching up with developers in Europe, and early April I should make it to the US to do some interviews & research out there.


Much as I’m sad to say goodbye to Words for WP, I’m really excited by the work that I’m going to be doing. I’ve been offered a few jobs over the past 18 months and this is has been the only really tempting one – it gives me a fantastic opportunity to contribute to and strengthen the community, as well as eat BBQ at the annual company meet up.


  1. Congratulations Siobhan. I remember you posting something on Google Plus ages back asking if a documentation company specifically targetting WordPress was a good idea. I believe I said I was unsure, but that it was worth having a crack at since it was an entirely untapped market. It seems your initial hunch was correct. Matt hiring you is an incredibly sensible move for WordPress.org.

    I wonder how long it will take to document the whole of WordPress’s history? There’s a lot of stuff that has happened.


    1. I’m giving myself about 12-18 months for the history – I hope to have it completed by then. But yeah, it’s a massive task so I’ll see how I can get help from the community.

      Also, documentation is a huge task in itself – a full time job really. My husband is 100% officially a WordPress Widower.


  2. After reading your post about how you started Words for WP, and the way finally stood on your own after leaving your first job, am less surprised and more amazed to read this post.

    You deserved this and best of luck for the future ahead. Audrey Capital is the place where you’d be working with the people behind WordPress. That’s amazing.


  3. Congrats! More impact…is more! A heady feeling and I’m sure you can handle it – looking forward to what you come up with for the sad & limping Codex.


    1. We’re going to build a fantastic docs team (already half way there) and hopefully make a massive impact on docs.


  4. Congratulations Siobhan, you totally deserve it! What a great addition to Audrey Capital. Really looking forward to the impact your sure to make, a Nacin of docs 🙂


    1. We’re already pretty far down the line in terms of coding, next stage is a design and getting the beta up


    1. It’s already being discussed. As soon as we get the code reference functional it’ll be the next step.


  5. Siobhan,
    It’s been a pleasure working with you and getting to know you since WP NYC. Not only do you deserve this “promotion”, you definitely earned it, with your awesome work and dedication to the WordPress community.

    Can’t wait to see what comes out of it over the next few months. Matt, Nacin and the others at Audrey are now in even better company :).


    1. Thanks Vid 🙂 You are, of course, one of my all-time-favourite clients (though don’t tell anyone that). I’m sure we’ll have the opportunity to work on more fun things together in the future.


  6. It’ll be interesting to see the new WordPress Documentation – especially the output of the parser. Coincidentally, I’m currently loading my website with the API definitions for my own WordPress plugins. Over 1,000 APIs loaded today.


    1. I think it’s kind of working if you grab the code from the Github repo. There was something that Ryan said wasn’t completed but I can’t remember what.


    1. There’ll be more to come about my cat, I can promise you that.

      Thanks for the good wishes, and for your support in hiring me along the way 🙂


  7. Well done my dear, I’m still certain all of your success is down to me 🙂

    Regards the ‘history’ stuff, drop me a line. I’ve been compiling my own version of WP history for some time. I used some of this in my ‘How WordPress Won’ presentation that I did at the Scottish WordUp’s last year but have plenty more. Especially around themes/marketplaces (as you would imagine).

    Shame about Words for WP, but this is a far more important challenge.


    1. Of course it’s down to you! How could it not be?

      I’d love to see anything you’ve got, and if your presentation on “How WordPress Won” is available that would be very useful to see too.


      1. It’s available, but is just slides with images/titles.

        I was going to re-work it as a blog post for WPRelm which I’ve had zero time for. Drop me a mail and I’ll get my act together 🙂


  8. Getting to watch your progress (and process) over the past couple years has been a blast and I’m stoked for your success. Totally valid choice on Matt’s part. Congrats!


  9. Huge congratulations from me. You as always rock!

    Looking forward to seeing what you create. It’s an amazing opportunity but you deserve every minute of it so enjoy it. Woot 🙂


  10. Big congratulations Siobhan, I’m sure you will make the WordPress product so much better through your efforts in the documentation department. Also looking forward to seeing the compiled history 🙂


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