Have you every noticed how corporate blog posts only ever seem to be sprout joyful news, like a modern form or press release?

Well, in sticking with Atlassian’s Open Culture, I’ll go against that trend and instead blog about something that went wrong…

Two days ago, while trying to fix a problem with some of our customer data, I cleared out some information that resulted in our automated email system mistakingly sending “Welcome to Atlassian” messages to 40,000 people — the majority of whom have been long-term Atlassian customers.

All these people probably thought “What’s Atlassian smoking?” and started searching for the Unsubscribe button. Now, it’s not like we released any credit card details or exposed customer sensitive data. We just bothered some people with one too many emails. And I apologise for having caused the situation. (No, I wasn’t asked to make that apology. I just think it’s better to be open and honest about it. And it’s probably better to say sorry here on the blog, rather than sending out another 40,000 emails to say so!)

However, it does give me an opportunity to talk about my favourite Atlassian personality…

Kitty the Atlassian Email Robot

Kitty the Atlassian Email Robot

If you receive an automated email from Atlassian, you’ll often find it signed by Kitty. She’s not a Female Robot, she’s an Email Robot. And there are rumours that she’s involved in an affair with Hercules, but that’s a different story.

I fondly remember the day when Kitty came into being. I was sitting in a meeting where we were discussing sending some automated emails. We didn’t know if we should pretend that the emails were being sent by a human when Mike Canon-Brookes, our co-CEO, said “Fuck it! Why can’t we be honest and just say that it’s sent by an email robot?

That’s what I like about Atlassian… we can just be honest with people. Oh, plus the fact that our Founder sometimes swears in meetings. That’s cool!

We chose the name Kitty because there was once an Atlassian employee with that name who worked as a Customer Advocate. Over time, we noticed that people responded to Kitty’s emails a lot more than emails from other people (yes, there is a gender bias on the Internet!). So, we officially christened Kitty the Atlassian Email Robot.

Aside from sending out automated emails, Kitty is featured in our Media Kit, has her own webpage and a Facebook fan page where she likes to post about things robotic. Her fan-base is growing and one day she hopes to overthrow B9 (from “Lost in Space”) as the most popular online robot.

So, this was my long way of saying “Sorry for the unnecessary email!” and hoping you’ll get a smile out of our unusual company, too.

40,000 apologies from Kitty and friends...