While copying various old work from an old Macbook to a new Macbook today, I ran across a short note I wrote myself back in 2009. I remember typing it. I’d just met Christian Heilmann, who was visiting Denver to speak at a conference. He gave a talk that must have impressed me, because I jotted some instructions to a future self: “Consider Mozilla,” I said.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Earlier today, before the episode with the Macbooks, I found myself in an unfamiliar place, surrounded by dozens of strangers. They led me up to the front of the room and told me to stand on a big black X. I did so. A trio of cameras panned and zoomed, and everyone in the room looked at me. I saw my face on the big screen, as did hundreds of people watching from home. I smiled a bit nervously and waved. They smiled back.
They were welcoming me. That’s how they welcome folks to Mozilla. Everyone present had stood on the X at one time. Some might even have given a speech from that X, but I kept my mouth shut.
Today was my first day at Mozilla. I am a web product engineer. I’ll help Mozilla’s many product owners articulate their vision for web sites and applications, and then collaborate with Mozilla’s many, many contributors inside and outside the company to launch new features and products on the web. This job is some web engineering and some web project management, plus a smidgin of every other aspect of web production from architecture to marketing. In fact, it’s precisely what I loved doing at dojo4 and in earlier roles, too. I couldn’t have written a more suitable job description for myself. And I’ve been nothing but impressed by the caliber and quality of people I’ve met at Mozilla.
I built my first website in 1995. It had a rainbow-tastic horizontal rule powered by animated GIF. I’ve spent my entire career working on internet technologies. Needless to say, the web has grown up in that time and has become utterly essential to the stability of many social systems. Our government, economic, and communication networks rely on services that themselves depend on open systems and common protocols.
But these foundational elements are not guaranteed. Plenty of powerful interests would prefer to have more control over the way we interact with information. They’d like to choose the tools we use, the voices we hear. But, so far, in this part of the world, the internet remains a wild and free place where submission to such controls is mostly voluntary. This is due in large part to the efforts of a staunch cohort of benevolent technology organizations and individuals who build standard-based tools with open sourcecode. Mozilla is one such organization.
This work is important and valuable. It has a clear purpose, one that I support. And there’s plenty of work to do. Mozilla has strong competition for its major products and some very ambitious new releases coming up. I’m thrilled to be here pitching in.
I should mention that I’ll still be working in Boulder. It’s home. Look for me anyplace that serves Boxcar coffee. If you’re a Mozillian, you can also find me in IRC at hoosteeno.
I also wish to thank everyone I met with during the past 3 months. Many, many people made time to talk with me about opportunities within their organizations. I am grateful.