Day 81

My sabbatical leave is almost finished, with three days left and a deep dive back into the world of Automattic next Monday, when I’ll have the immense pleasure to meet my 600 colleagues face to face, many for the first time, in Canada.

That’s a pretty intense way to go back after such a long time, but I was given the opportunity of easing smoothly back into “professional” mode by attending the Mind the Product workshops and conference today and tomorrow!

So, here I am, back in London, looking forward to learning as much as possible, while subtly shifting my brain structure in preparation for next week.

Day 42

Today is day 42 in my 84 days sabbatical leave, otherwise defined as “halfway”, or the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything”…

Instead of answers, this weekend I filled my head with questions, after reading a great article about what the future of Artificial Intelligence could be. If you haven’t read it, take the time, it’s a pretty long read, but really worth it: The AI Revolution: The Road to Superintelligence by Tim Urban on Wait but Why

I had read a couple of their articles in the past, without connecting them to the same author, I foresee some time will be spent on that site in the next days.

On other (good) news, as the frequency of my posts here might have suggested, I managed to get used to the fact that life doesn’t all happen in front of a laptop.

It also happens on a smartphone: yesterday with Eva we caught both Lugia and Articuno… The expression on her face when she caught each of the two legendary Pokémon was well worth meeting 50+ strangers and walking 10km overall 😉

Categorized as sabbatical

Day 24

In the clouds

What? Did you really think that while on sabbatical I’d post every day? 🙂

Categorized as sabbatical

Day 18

I'm taking advantage of the free time to do a long due check up, and today I had my first appointment with the ophthalmologist.

The result is that at 46 and having spent half of my time looking at a computer screen for more than three decades my eyes still work great: the right is perfect, the lefty a tiny bit far sighted, but well within what I can compensate without fatigue.

Interesting enough, in May, in Amsterdam during a conversation about the subject I started doubting about my sight.

The only explanation I have is that a few weeks of rest can actually fix many things, including tired eyes.

I'll try to keep that in mind when I go back to work in September.

Day 15

On the subway platform, this afternoon, with Zoé:

Me: “Hey, Zoé, do you know how many people live in Vienna?”

Her: “Nope”

Me: “About 1.8 million”

Her: “Why do you need to know that? In case you want to check if anyone’s missing?”


Day 14


Today’s the end of the second weekend of my sabbatical, and as I unilaterally decided, the end of “Phase 1“…

The assiduous reader will notice at this point that I never mentioned that there would be “phases” during this leave. Well, guess what? That’s one of the privileges of sabbaticals: you get to make the rules as you move forward!

So, what was this “Phase 1” that just ended? It was something I needed: two weeks of true nothing, just recharging batteries after what was probably the most intense year of my professional life. In the last two weeks, the only goal I tried to reach was based on a video game.

It was good, I feel much better, but it’s also as much as I can take of doing nothing, hence the beginning of “Phase 2”.

I am not entirely sure about what this phase will look like, I know I want to make a few changes, among which going out a lot more, doing all the little things that I postponed in the recent past, from home maintenance to doctor appointments, from eating better to ride the bike again.

There isn’t a better moment to start with a good idea than right now, so today I applied the new principle and repaired two windows screens that we got installed a while ago to keep our cats safe when the windows are open.

The “super-strong-cat-proof” net we were sold was actually destroyed by Paprika… no comment.

I actually picked up recently two rolls of a much better net, made of fibreglass, that is supposed to be at the same time pet-proof and stop insects. Time will tell if it’s either, both, or neither, but at least it looks much nicer.


Day 13

The June season of Hearthstone finished last night, I didn’t make it to legend after all.

I hit rank 3, my best rank ever so far. July is my last chance. I understood a couple of things looking at my stats for the end of June.

Screen Shot 2017-07-01 at 00.27.39

I need to have the patience to play one single deck for a long time, experimentation with many different decks hurt my win rate: over 621 games played I have a global win rate of 50%, but if I look at the three most successful decks, they were used in 332 matches, so more than half, and I had with these a win rate of 56.67%
The remaining 289 matches were played with 24 different decks, for a global win rate of 42.56.

Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 00.22.40

Lesson one: practice, practice, and practice again with one deck as soon as it seems viable, but keep an eye on the stats to avoid decks playing lots of games with a deck that doesn’t work as I did with one version of the Dragon Priest…

Lesson two: Do not underestimate how hard it is to progress after rank five, I actually think that unless I hit that rank by July 10th at the latest, my chances will be very thin to succeed at the end of the month. The main reason for that being that I can only play so many games in one day, even if I have the time, as after a while I lose focus, and I don’t enjoy it anymore, which defeats the purpose.

The rank achieved allowed me to start July at rank 17, and today I played a bit, and did ok, ending at 14. Now things get serious as the players who reached legend last months started at 15…

Day 12

I have mentioned WordCamp Europe a few times here since 2013, and as recently as two days ago, and as we just published the wrap-up post for the 2017 edition, I want to share it here, to paint a slightly more detailed picture of the event.


After a few days of rest, and a few more days wrapping up vendor invoices, gathering feedback, uploading more than 50 videos on and tying up loose ends, we can really consider WordCamp Europe 2017…finished!

Read the full post


Categorized as sabbatical

Day 10

Just two weeks ago, I was in Paris, on the eve of WordCamp Europe 2017.

Today, after wrapping up the event, paying the last vendor invoice,  gathering feedback from the team and sharing mine, we had one last hangout.

wceu17-badge-square_organizer I have been involved with WordCamp Europe in a role or another since the first edition in 2013, helping with volunteers in Leiden, in charge of them in Sofia, wrangling sponsors in Seville, leading the local logistics here in Vienna, and finally leading the global team in Paris.

Today, after that last hangout I left the WCEU Slack team so they can start preparing for 2018. From participating in this great (but crazy) adventure, I keep incredible memories, many good friends, lots of experience, and the exhilarating feeling of having given back to the WordPress community a bit of what it has given me.

From leaving the team after five editions of the event, I get a tonne of extra time to do other things and find other ways to participate to the WordPress project.

WordCamp Europe 2018 will happen in Belgrade in June, next year. I have total confidence in Jenny and Milan and the teams they’ll build to organise the best WCEU ever, and I am looking forward to enjoying 100% of it from the attendance for the first time!

Categorized as sabbatical