Archive for January 28th, 2005

First Days at the Mozilla Foundation

January 28th, 2005

I recently came across a post I started many, many months back (like a year ago) but never finished. So I updated it. Here are a few short vignettes of coming to work at the Mozilla Foundation.

Some months ago (this would be late 2003) there was a rattle at the door of the Mozilla Foundation. Our office is one big space, and it was about 5:30 pm, smack in the middle of prime working time, so everyone looked up. Someone actually got up, opened the door and let the new person in.

The visitor looked right at home. He had a cardboard box under one arm, and knew exactly where he was heading. No one said a word; he went straight for a desk, dropped his box down beside it, sat down, plugged in his laptop and settled in. As he connected to the Mozilla network he lifted one arm in a giant “score” sign, a small cheer went up and he went to work. He was no visitor, he was our then-newest employee. He had finished his exit interview at his previous job, driven straight over to the Mozilla Foundation, plunked himself down at 5:30 and started work. I’ve never seen someone looks so happy at starting a second workday.

This morning (August or September 2004) there was another rattle at the door. Someone got up to open it and asked — does anyone know this person? Marcia replied “Maybe it’s Chase, he’s supposed to be here to start working as a Mozilla Foundation employee today.” Chase is our new build engineer, stepping in since Leaf has moved on to other things. We knew Chase by name and skills, but none of us knew what he looked like. All of our interviews had been done by phone, since Chase wasn’t living in the San Francisco area. Someone opens the door, there’s an awkward silence as the visitor looks around and we all look at him. Feeling responsible but a little awkward I get up and mumble something like “Hello, er, ah, are you Chase?” Sure enough, this is no visitor, it’s our newest Foundation employee. Wahoo!

Update 1:

7 days ago (Fall 2004) Chris Beard arrived for his first day. This time we all knew him, as he’s local and pretty much everyone in the Foundation met Chris before he joined us. So we greeted Chris by finding a half-empty desk periodically used by visitors and inviting him to make himself at home. This went on for a few days until Chris unleashed a frenzy of spatial reorganizing. Looking up one day he noted “We probably should actually figure out where I might have a desk because the person who uses this one is going to be back one of these days.” I suspect it may be because his temporary desk left he and I starting at each other across the table, and some distance is definitely a good thing. Soon machines were moving, racks were moving, our swag pile was moving, people were moving and desks were rearranged. Asa profited the most, coming away with a nice space near the windows and the sunlight he so craves. My own craving for a window and a nice space has totally evaporated — I can’t tell if this is good or a sign of trouble. In any case it’s convenient.

Update 2:

Doug Turner has arrived. There wasn’t much available room after our last re-shuffle, so Doug got the space facing the door. Doug addressed that problem by turning his back to the door, making a space with two desks and hunkering in. He still graciously answering the door when we have visitors, but I’ll bet he’s waiting for our next spasm of reorganization.

Update 3:

Today I came in and found that the giant chess board (about 18′ by 18′ — literally) has been folded up and moved out of the center of the floow. We’ll pull it out for special occasions. There is also a new cluster of desks set up under the soda-can bridge (a 19 foot long replica of the Golden Gate bridge made of soda cans, brought from Netscape and lovingly but partially reassembled by chofmann). So far, no one has claimed the new desks — maybe looking up at soda cans is inhibiting people. Or maybe people are waiting for the “real” office furniture we’ve been talking about getting, since we need some ergonomic upgrades.

We didn’t really throw much away in all any of these rearrangements — we have a hefty supply of things left over from the Netscape era or accumulated on our own. Now there’s the real challenge!

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