Quoth the Happiness Engineer

What sort of company has a “happiness engineer”?

Automattic does. (That’s the company that gives us WordPress, and thus this blog.)

His name is Hew, as I just discovered.

To wit: Those of you who have signed up to receive my posts by email did not, for some strange reason, receive the previous two posts. And, naturally, I had no way of even telling you.

(You didn’t miss much. At most this.)

So I asked WordPress Support. After a few days of radio silence, Hew replied:

We had a glitch in our email system for a couple of days around your posts that interfered with sending out emails. We fixed it on 9/30, so you should be good to go on your next post. 🙂

For good measure (Automattic seems to be a company that takes our happiness seriously), I also received a second, separate, reply from somebody else:

Thank you for reporting this issue. We found a small bug in our configuration that prevented the emails from going out correctly around the time you published your last post. It did not affect all blog subscriptions, but your post could have been affected. Unfortunately, those emails cannot be resent. Going forward–the problem has been fully resolved. Your posts should flow again as expected.

So there you are. As soon as I push “publish” I will find out whether this post reaches you. And then we’ll move on with regular blogging.

And those of you who have your own WordPress blogs, beware: Your posts last week might not have reached your subscribers either.

13 thoughts on “Quoth the Happiness Engineer

  1. Dear Andreas,

    The email for this one was received by me, no problem this time.

    The “happines engineer” is presumably the person who is required to ensure the practical implementation of the “greatest happiness principle”. This resonates with me as my alma mater (UCL) was founded by Jeremy Bentham, who, amongst other things, was a great philosopher and formulated the greatest happiness principle as a way of deciding which action to take in any situation.

    • Ah, but didn’t Bentham do that by estimating what would make “the greatest number” happy (at the expense of making a couple of left-outs miserable)? This happiness engineer seems to get his toolkit out for the smallest number, the single user.

  2. Let us suppose the experiment was, indeed, a success.

    It is thus established that a software engineer, by the exercise of her skills, either a) creates happiness or b) removes obstacles to happiness. If the former the nature of the happiness is novel; if the latter she merely restores a former state of happiness. In either case the job title is justified in suitable circumstances.

    In this particular instance, the company deals in software engineering. So, again, we have established that a software engineering company is the sort of company that has a happiness engineer who specialises in software

    How though are we to pass from the specific to the general in order to answer you question?

  3. First we must investigate what an engineering skill is. There are at least two types. 1) The sort that creates something entirely new and 2) the sort that that merely restores to operation the function of an entity which was brought into being by the exercise of engineering skills but has subsequently ceased to operate.

    In the circumstances which you describe, Hew has been able to define a problem and announce its solution in two different ways. This indicates a commendable thoroughness of thought in the exercise of his skill.

    So, we know that an engineering skill concerns an artificial object or concept which changes the configuration of the world and in so doing is capable of producing happiness. It follows that an engineering company is the sort of company that has a happiness engineer who specialises in engineering.

    The question remains, though, whether there is any other sort of company that has a happiness engineer. This is the really difficult question which I must leave others to answer.

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