Unlikely

My company, Automattic, currently employs over four hundred people scattered across the world. Last week I was attending a meetup in Dublin – a jam-packed week where a few of us get together “in real life” to work together. While transiting through the Dallas airport I bumped into Steve, a coworker of mine who I hadn’t yet met. He was wearing a WordPress pullover and maybe something else with a logo on it. Seeing those, I showed him my WordPress bag from Timbuk 2 (something many of us have) and asked if he worked with me. It’s not too rare to meet with coworkers en-route to a specific meetup destination, but Steve was taking personal travel. On my way to meet coworkers in Dublin, I met another coworker at random in one of the larger and busier airports in the US.

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It was one of those “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world…” feelings, though only in the probability sort of way

After my meetup, I came to England for the Word Camp London event, a gathering of WordPress developers, users, agencies, hosts, etc… When I realized that I had a few extra minutes before I needed to leave in the morning to catch the tube, I decided to go downstairs and grab some of the free food available for breakfast at my hostel. As I stood there starting on my yoghurt, a woman was staring at me with a confused look on her face. After a short pause she asked, “Dennis?” and I realized that it was Britta, one of the friends Amanda and I had in Hannover while we were there last year.  In the middle of one of the biggest cities in Europe and in the basement of one probably two hundred or more hostels in London, I randomly met a friend from another place and time.

If the probability of these events happening on any given day were one-in-a-million and considering that I’ve been nomadding for about two years, then we find that the chance of this happening at least twice in that timespan is a little more than one-in-four-million (or a probability of 0.000000265956).

Aspiring Photographer

While enjoying my breakfast at Café Central in Vienna, I spotted a young boy looking over my shoulder. He was fascinated with the photos that I was editing on my computer.

Curiosity is not rude - it's flattery.
Curiosity is not rude – it’s flattery.

This Swiss family was also taking a vacation to Vienna and the grandparents were trying to encourage their grandson to be mindful with the pictures he takes. I let him look at my computer, then when I saw his interest (and his brother’s) I let them take a picture with my camera, which was a little more robust than his.

Taken by a young aspiring photography, my favorite portrait.
Taken by a young aspiring photographer, my favorite portrait.

The more we do something and the better we get, the more mystery we risk losing. This boy’s imagination was tickled while he looked over my shoulder, and his grandma reported in an email to me that he is “motivated to not simply press the button” on his camera, but to think about his shots before taking them. It’s an art and it’s a passion and I am flattered to have inspired him. I hope that twenty years from now he too will be passing on that inspiration to a young boy or girl full of wonder.

Thanks boys!