Category Archives: Personal

Freaking out

I have been to two conferences in the past two days. The first one was in Amsterdam, the second one in Barcelona. At the first one, people would just introduce themselves and maybe we would shake hands. There would also be some good 50 cm between us while we spoke. That was good, and I felt relaxed and at ease.

In Barcelona, it was all totally different. I would be introduced to someone, and unless I was quick enough to lift my hand and make it clear that I would only shake hands, that person would be cheek-kissing and/or hugging me before I knew.

I quickly started feeling uneasy, and as the interactions added up, I was really freaking out at the end of the day.

I hate strangers cheek-kissing me. I hate strangers getting close to me. In general terms, I hate being touched by people, unless they are my family or close friends. And then not even that much.

You are not my friend. We might, in the future, get to be acquaintances and maybe friends. But so far, this is a professional setting, and you should behave that way. Do you kiss your plumber? Do you go around kissing cashiers in the supermarket? Then why are you doing that to me?

Sod the social customs. Why do we women have to consent to have our personal space invaded by a stranger? Respect my boundaries, and I’ll respect you.

Yes, I know that for Spanish people this is “the norm”. But you have to understand that:

  • it freaks out other Spanish people too, it’s not only me.
  • you freak out people from other countries who are not used to that.
  • to hell with the norms.

When you freak people out they are not going to want to interact with you ever again and it might also ruin the day for that person, who will be now on the defensive instead of being relaxed and in a nice mood. Is that what you wanted? I bet not.

I want to think that you all have good intentions but not a clue about what your actions are causing, and that’s why I’m going to ask you to please change the way you approach people in conferences:

A friendly “hello” should suffice to start a conversation. Keep a reasonable distance and let them initiate the hand-shaking, if they want to. In some cultures, women won’t touch men in public, for example, and you have to respect that. And of course, don’t try to hug or kiss them.

A year at Mozilla!

Today marks effectively my first year at Mozilla! A year and a day ago I took my flight to San Francisco and then spent my first week in Mountain View, meeting most of my team mates. Since then, I’ve…

  • been involved in 181 Mozilla bugs
  • done 2151 “things” in github.
  • gone to 17 events, of which I spoke or something similar in 7 of them

When I joined, I said I wasn’t sure what I’d be working on–it would be web related, and so far it’s been. I also said I would not be working in Firefox, and I still am not, but I’m getting closer: I’m lending a bit of my brain to Developer Tools, and I’ve also contributed to Firefox itself by reporting some interesting WebRTC and Web Audio bugs that I accidentally triggered building something else. I’m glad my crazy ideas end up contributing to the betterment of the product and the platform and we can all both enjoy the web and enjoy building for the web :-)

But it’s not all about “the productivity”. If you told me a year ago that I would end up meeting, working and even becoming friends with so many great people, I would have laughed in your face and tell you something like “go home, you’re drunk”. Seriously. It is pointless to try and list all of them here, but you know who you are, and I’m so glad I know you :-)

Finally, I’m seriously bad at “corporate theming”. So I don’t have any picture of myself with a Mozilla t-shirt, or a picture with a cute red panda to end up this post, not even a picture with a fluffy plush fire fox, so I’ll just leave you with this poser:

posing red panda
Walk into the club like…

Goodbye 2013, hello 2014!

I’m writing this under the influence of medicine to fight a fever and massive sneezing. I have a cold again, maybe a flu. I’ll run the easy joke for you: I hope it’s not the Spanish flu.

It’s my third big cold in less than a month, probably due to flying to diverse far away places in cold weather so I’ve put my body under stress. Tut, tut. It’s definitely not the way I wanted to start a new year, but hey, what can you do when your body prefers to get ill?
Continue reading

Snake serendipity

If you follow me on Twitter you might have seen a few messages recently with either mentions of a big purge or just pictures of old somewhat eccentric stuff that I was unaware was still on my possession.

Some people seemed concerned and other intrigued about this whole cleaning stuff out business. To be honest, even I was slightly surprised. I’ve traditionally been a bit of a hoarder myself. Everything seemed to have sentimental value to me, so it’s hard to let go of things when you’re like that. Even if you do, you end up writing books like this one, so it takes a lot longer to declutter.
Continue reading