Posts Tagged with “Foundation”

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!

People on the Move

November 5th, 2004

We have some additions and changes to the Mozilla Foundation employees, and I’d like to make some belated introductions.

First, we’d like to thank Leaf Nunes for his years of full time work and ongoing volunteer efforts as build engineer for the Mozilla project. Leaf filled this role full time for many years with panache, good humor and great skill. Leaf remains involved with the Mozilla project but is moving to a different challenge for his full time employment. Jonathan Granrose has been helping us temporarily on build issues and a giant thanks to Jon as well.

We’re thrilled to welcome Chase Phillips as our new build engineer. Chase comes to us from Champaign, Illinois, where he worked at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications — the birthplace of Mosaic! — and continues to volunteer for the Champaign-Urbana Community Wireless Network. Chase has been with us for about a month now, learning his way around our massive build system, picking Jon’s brain and generally trying not to sink under the weight of things we keep throwing his way. For those of you you have noticed the recent expansion of our build systems to include localized builds (30 localizations so far) you’ll know why we think Chase is up to the challenge. You can reach Chase at

Second, Christopher Beard joined the Foundation about 3 weeks ago. Linux folks may remember Chris from his days as co-founder and CEO of The Puffin Group, where he launched the project to port Linux to HP’s PA-RISC architecture, helped organize the Ottawa Linux Symposium, and ultimately became Linuxcare’s General Manager for its Emerging Services business after Linuxcare acquired The Puffin Group. Chris later joined HP’s Linux Systems Division in a strategic, product management and general organizational role — a broad mixture that makes his experience invaluable for the Mozilla Foundation. Most recently, Chris has been honing his international and business expertise through a stint at business school in the UK and Spain.

Finally, Bart Decrem is moving to a new role. Bart has made enormous contributions to the Mozilla project, launching our marketing and PR efforts, generally bringing a consumer focus to the Foundation, driving the Spread Firefox effort and also working with business and enterprises interested in the project. This has been a big help in getting the Foundation off to the great start that we’ve had. After driving these efforts since the Foundation’s launch, Bart is now joining the company that operates the Mozilla Store to help develop their Mozilla and other opportunities. Bart plans to remain in the Mozilla world as one of the Spread Firefox leaders, a friend to the Foundation, and generally bringing the spark of his energy and creativity to the project. homepage

September 21st, 2004

Bart’s recent blog post asked for comments about the homepage, and so here are mine.

I disagree with the view that “the primary purposes of the homepage should be (1) to generate Firefox downloads and (2) to direct people to the information they are looking for on our site.” The homepage is the main view into the Mozilla project. The Mozilla project is bigger than the Mozilla Foundation and bigger than Firefox downloads. I believe that should reflect this.

End user adoption is obviously a critical factor in the success in the Mozilla project and I totally agree that we need to need to make it easy and desirable for end-users to get Firefox. New end-users are coming to Firefox in record numbers; we should celebrate this success and maintain a strong focus on the end-user experience.

But Firefox is an appealing product because it is an active project with a vibrant community. I am uncomfortable with a home page that doesn’t reflect this.

It may be that the changes Bart has proposed are exactly what I would do with the page if I were designing it and that we agree on the specific look for that makes sense today. I’m not trying to design the page; I’m not the right person for that. But the homepage I would like to see will reflect a broader view of the Mozilla project than Firefox downloads.

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