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Lance Willett

About Me

Team lead, product manager, and business executive living and working from Tucson, Arizona. See for my latest photos and things.

I blog about leadership, WordPress, productivity, mindfulness, web technology, and more at The Sensible Leader, and lead product quality and engagement teams at Automattic. I love WordPress themes, and contributed to Twenty Twelve, Twenty Thirteen, Twenty Fourteen, and Twenty Fifteen in core.

Website URL

Current Location

Tucson, AZ

WordPress Origin Story

My journey to WordPress started with a personal need and a passion for web standards; I wanted blogging software for my personal site that was easy to install and use — and would produce clean, semantic markup. The other options at the time just didn’t feel right. I don’t remember where I first heard about WordPress, it could have been a mention on Eric Meyer’s site or

My first WordPress site — an update to my (previously hard-coded HTML) personal site at — went live in summer of 2004, running on version 1.2. It was amazing to be able to publish quickly and easily and not hand-code each page! Besides ease of use I also loved how it championed using correct typography. Other than a brief flirtation with Textpattern I’ve used WP for my personal sites ever since.

In 2005 I went full-time with my web design/development business and through the years WP was a big part of my work — and part of my fun “hobby” time as well. You could say it’s in my DNA as a web professional.

In projects that weren’t specifically built with WordPress I usually found a way to tie it in somehow. For example, when I was on the engineering team at DigitalFusion we used the P2 theme for an internal team communication tool. In other client projects I’d drop in a WP-powered blog to sites running on other software.

I’d been watching things at Automattic from the outside for several years, attending one WordCamp and following several Automatticians on Twitter. I was really happy with my freelance career, but had always kept a list of 3-4 companies that I’d drop everything to work for.

So I set up a notification on for the Automattic jobs page, which at that time only had a few listings, none of which fit me perfectly. Then in May 2009 I got an email from ChangeDetection showing that the Theme Czar position had been added. I said to myself, “This is it! That’s me!” I immediately sent in my application, and was hired full-time in 2010.




Job Title

Product Wrangler


Leadership, systems thinking, craftsmanship, web design/development, product quality, tennis, reading, coffee, tea, and fresh corn tortillas.

WordPress Usage

Personal, Business

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