I started at Mozilla on the 13th of May. So past Wednesday was the six months mark for me. It was a relatively unusual day, in that I was flying to Vancouver for attending CascadiaJS, instead of just going to the office and celebrating at the kitchen (or the pub!). And I say “relatively unusual” because I have been flying and travelling a lot since I joined, so it’s not that exceptional.
But on the grand schema of things, these last six months have really been exceptional. I have learnt a lot, both from projects and from people, as I anticipated, and I think I’ve also grown as a person, which is great and something I didn’t really expect. As in, the managers at Mozilla truly care about us and not only give us room for improvement—they actively encourage us to do and get better.
I think this is what surprised me the most. Whereas other companies refer to the betterment of their employees’ skills in somewhat vague terms and often focusing in the more cost-efficient “solutions” (i.e. “get the employee to learn technology X because it’s hot now”), there’s an specific active process at Mozilla for identifying where we’re good at, where we could get better, and where we want to get better, but not only in fields that help Mozilla grow, but help us grow too.
Something else that I’ve learnt: working with a distributed team. Most of my work mates are in the States, but a couple of us are in Europe. So timezones hurt sometimes. We use videoconferencing a lot–it’s nice to see everyone else’s faces. IRC. Mail, of course. Etherpads. Lots of polls for agreeing on times. Lots of GitHub code reviews on pull requests–it’s not like having someone go through your code while looking at your screen, but it’s uncannily similar. And other times, we just meet in person. I found this super important too, and really strengthens the team, so to speak. It’s amazing how little things such as conversations while the coffee machine decides to do its duty help remove the awkwardness of working with people who will be 4000 miles away next week.
Talking of miles: I’ve attended a lot and spoken at a few conferences these months. That has been an incredible experience and one that I’d like to repeat. Sometimes I think we do not do enough outreach of our projects and all the things we’re working on, and likewise, other times I think we need to ask more questions to people, or perhaps just listen to them–there’s not even need to ask questions, just quietly join any existing hallway conversation and listen. Overall, people seem happy with my talks and have got inspired and motivated to learn and hack on new exciting web technologies, so I think it was worth the time invested on them, even if I’m a little bit hammered down by now. But holidays are coming.
I’m also happy to say that Mozilla has grown during these six months. Firefox OS phones are available in more and more countries, Firefox OS updates are coming, we have exciting features such as Web Audio working on Firefox, and many more other technologies and projects we’re working on. I like having had a bit of impact on all that, and hope to be able to keep impacting in the future.
To many more six months! (but maybe don’t expect a post every six months!)