12 Days of Creativity

Something that I was struggling with as 2020 came to a close was that I was leaving the year the same way I started it – feeling burnt out. Whilst things had improved – I had managed to get a better baseline, address life debt, change the situations that had caused me to be burnt […]

art life Relocating

The Great DomestiCation

I staged my house, photographed it, and wrote up a very detailed post of the ~year long project that was buying and renovating it. I call it: The Great DomestiCation.

Career management

The Cost of Fixing Things

In September, I disappeared in Seoul and caused everyone who cares about me to think I was having some kind of breakdown. I deactivated my Twitter account, and refused to engage with anyone other than my closest friends. I got to the point where I felt I had to drop everything, and then I came […]

management mobile

Phase 1 of Hiring, Getting from 0-30

Towards the end of 2017, we reopened hiring on the mobile team at Automattic which had been shut since the start of the year as we got things in order. I think of this as phase 1 of hiring on the team – nailing the basics of the process, and making some progress with diversity […]

management Programming

Towards Productive Technical Discussions

Note: I wrote this post for an internal team blog, but thought it was worth sharing more widely. Part of getting to good code reviews is some up front discussion about trade-offs and implications for bigger architectural changes. I think of code review as when “my” code becomes “our” code – for architecture, those conversations […]


Whose Expectations are Those, Anyway?

This is part 1 of a series of blog posts based on a talk I prepared called Successfully Derailed Product. It’s about the ways in which we define and talk about “success” influence what – and how – we build.   There used to be a joke at a company I worked for that went […]

Career management mobile

One Year as 📱👑

One year ago today, I tweeted: ✨ first day @automattic ✨ — cate, a human being (@catehstn) November 7, 2016 Three weeks after that, when my support rotation ended… As I recall, my friend James described it as “the most low key new job tweet”. I pointed out the extremely descriptive emoji for my […]

life travel Writing

I Send Love Letters from Airports

“First, you talk about feeling a sense of gratitude for people who go first. The implication seems to be that you don’t, but I disagree. The fact that you let strangers into your life via these personal updates is very “Where the Hell is Cate?” to the point where I have to remind myself that […]


Running an Effective Mobile Team, Part 1

When talking about team effectiveness, the first thing to consider is what an effective team looks like. Predictable. The team has a regular cadence. They can set goals and expectations around deadlines. Clear on priorities. When you ask people what is most important and why, they can answer. Connected. People work together and take an interest […]

management Organization

Things to Figure Out as a New Manager: Part 1, Your Schedule

We normally talk about the challenge of moving to a manager’s schedule in terms of our desire to write code. But writing code is just part of it. As an IC, you probably had some kind of schedule that worked well for you. When we move to being managers, it’s tempting to try and slot “management […]