Mozilla contributors participate from all over the globe. We participate in ones and twos from home. In Internet cafes and hacker spaces and university buildings. In Mozilla spaces with large concentrations of peers. In every continent, including Antarctica. Our participation structure is distributed, decentralized and highly individualized. In this way we represent the Web. We’re also human beings, of course, and we *love* to get together. It’s fun, it allows us to get to know each other, and to exchange the high-bandwidth ideas that face-to-face provides. And it helps us develop a shared understanding of what we are doing.
This year we’re going to gather as many key contributors as we can at the same time for the 2013 Mozilla Summit. The Summit will be open to about 1,000 Mozilla volunteers and all 900 or so of our employees. This will be the first time since 2010 that key volunteers and all Mozilla employees will have the opportunity to gather together and to work face to face. We expect this to be very exciting.
Our last Summit was in 2010 and gathered about 600 people. It seemed huge then, yet in 2013 we’ll have more than three times as many people. Because of this we’re going to try some new things. First, we’re going to try having three different locations rather than gathering 2,000 people in one place. This means the Summit will be different than 2010. Exactly! Mozilla’s not like 2010, the world isn’t like 2010, and innovation is at the heart of who we are. So we’re going to try some innovations. We’re hoping to have three locations, each with the intimacy (!!!) of 600 or 700 people, some shared content and some innovative ways to join the three locales. We’ll learn from this and use what we learn to design our future events.
The multiple locations means that the Summit will be different than a geo-located “work week.” It’s unlikely that everyone who you’ll want to see face to face will all be in the same place. On the other hand, an organization our size needs trusted connections across groups, and good relationships between people you would never have thought to get to know.
My greatest hope for the Summit is to develop a shared understanding of who we are as Mozilla, how we plan to move our shared mission forward, and how our products and offerings fit into these goals. That of course means getting to know people, lots of spontaneity and fun settings and of course some real quality time exploring our products and programs.
To do this, we’re planning to identify a pretty good size planning group. That group will do a bunch of pre-work, and will meet in mid-June to figure out the content for the Summit and help shape the overall experience.
The Summit should be great fun. It is a hugely important step in bringing Mozilla together and developing a shared understanding of who we are and how we and our products bring openness and freedoms to digital citizens.