Review: The Year Without Pants

The Year Without Pants by Scott Berkun is about a former manager/now speaker and writer going to work for WordPress for a year. It was a must-read for me; I’m a fan of the authors writing as well as WordPress.

It’s supposed to about the future of work and maybe it is, but I think for me it was more about culture and that was ok, I think culture is maybe the most important thing when it comes to building something good. The WordPress culture is definitely interesting. Almost everyone works remote, until recently it was a flat structure and even now is only small teams, and you get a sense that they focus on what matters better than most companies.

The other part of the story is the journey for the author. It was a deliberate choice to change roles in his career for a while from independent to team manager, in part to reconnect and in part to see if theory would work in practice, with the sweetener that he got to write about the experience. You see places where he was clearly uncomfortable, like when he was working support tickets. You see the pain of every manager new to a company and a team trying to figure out who can and will do what, how things work, and how to decide what is most worth doing. You also see the challenges of going back to a role from earlier in a career. I liked this theme in the book because I identified with it, I just wish I had thought to make a deal to write a book when I did it!

It is worth reading just for the view into another culture. It’s worth reading if you use WordPress, as so many of do. There is no formula here, but plenty of ideas. Let me know if you read it, I’d like to hear what you think of it.