vendredi 1 août 2008

My (late) toast to Schrep

Note for my readers who've been living under a rock for the past week: Mike Schrep Schroepfer, our VP of engineering is leaving us for Facebook. We had a series of toasts yesterday evening with Schrep, but I did not have the courage to step on stage to raise my glass in public. Now that I'm hiding behind my keyboard, I know that you won't see if I show a little bit too much my emotions. So here was the toast I would have delivered if I had more courage yesterday:

Schrep, my dear Schrep, what are you doing? Why are you leaving something you still love? We could hear in your voice that it's really hard. I think it's a lesson for all of us here in this room: if you decide to leave Mozilla, we'll force you to come on stage in front of 400 mozillians to explain while crying why you do that! I'll call this the "Mozilla contributor retention program", which shows that we're innovative in terms of community and HR management too!

So obviously, when I see your emotion, I know that you're making a mistake in leaving Mozilla. You probably know this too, but you still refuse to acknowledge it. It's OK, because you can still change your mind. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, even next month. I'm sure that Shaver will give back his new shiny job title if you decide to come back. But in case he doesn't, then don't worry: we'll find a solution! We'll host you in the Paris office. I know you love Paris and Europe. I know because you've visited us several times, and every time, you've done wonders, whether for hiring new engineers or doing PR for product launches. Every time it has been a blast! Even when, in Germany, you and I had to share a queen-size bed and you decided to sleep in what seemed to be a very uncomfortable couch. As a side note to the audience, I should say that we ended up with a single room for two because the travel plans had changed at the last minute and the hotel had only one room left for us. It was not for budget reasons. Nor was I trying to seduce Schrep or anything like that! Even today, while I'm trying to have Schrep stay with Mozilla, I'm positively sure I'm not ready to go that far ;-)

So, like I said earlier, if you change your mind, the Paris office will welcome you, even if you have to fire a couple interns to make room for you. We love our interns, but we love you even more. And by staying in Paris, you'll get great perks. Let me list a couple of them for you:

  1. You'll be closer to where the Bordeaux and Bourgogne wines are produced. I'll take you to wine tours, even! I'll drive and you'll drink. How cool is that?
  2. You'll be in a place where food is major part of culture. Did you know that the French Wikipedia lists 350 to 400 different types of cheese in France? We'll sample them all you and I.
  3. You'll be paid in EUROS. It's like dollars, but you get 1.5 times more wine and cheese for each buck! ;-)
  4. You'll enjoy French strikes. Oh, I know, it does not sound like a good thing. But I can assure you that strikes are a pretty good excuse when you feel like staying in bed due to a hang-over following a wine and cheese party...
  5. You would be in a place where it's almost OK to post a humorous blog about getting romantically involved with a same-sex colleague :-) . I know it's puzzling at first, but it's a kind of freedom of speech you'll enjoy after a little training...
  6. You would not have to wait 'til next year in order to have a president who's not George W. Bush! (Yeah, in Europe, we can blog about politics, too...)

But it looks that you're not yet ready to admit that you still want to be with Mozilla. That's OK. Everyone makes mistakes. Now go work for Facebook. Have fun there. Make it very successful. Have the damn company be bought out by Google, Microsoft or Yahoo. It should not take you more than one or two years. Then, after you will have made a couple million dollars, you'll come back to Mozilla. You'll will finally recognize that there is nothing better in the life of an engineer than to have fun while making Internet life better for human beings.

Bottoms-up, Schrep, and see you very soon in Paris or elsewhere!

mercredi 30 juillet 2008

At the Moz08 summit in Canada

I arrived yesterday night (1 AM!) in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. The place is supposed to be wonderful, but I did not get to see much of it so far: either its was dark or pouring (but who cares, I'm here for the people, the ideas and the energy, not the landscape!). We arrived to late to enjoy the party, but it looks like it was great. William has pictures and more details.

Mitchell's keynote

This morning, after an intro by John, Mitchell has delivered a really good speech describing Mozilla.

Mitchell doing her keynote

Mitchell doing her keynote

Here are the notes I took. Mitchell used a tree metaphor to describe what Mozilla is.

Trunk: Human interaction with the Internet. Our mission: "How do we make Internet life better for human beings?"

Our roots (not visible, but essential to what we are, our DNA):

  • Open Source License is the legal term. I use "Equal participation" instead. It goes with the right to fork.
  • Peer review and meritocracy. It's a very unusual, even radical idea.
  • Distributed, earned authority
  • Shared public asset
  • Public benefit

Our branches, what people can actually see:

  • Consumer products
  • Employees
  • Legal organizations. Useful tools, but very poor ways to understand what we are.
  • Outreach and other activities. Marketing, in other words.
  • Revenue "Not even relevant to other companies that ship a browser. We're living in a world of giants.

There are a couple of branches (on the drawing) without tags. This is what we're going to do here at the summit: figuring out what those new branches are going to be.

"What can we do with our products and technology that moves the Internet further towards the Mozilla vision?"

We're here to discuss how to deepen Mozilla's role as *a* centerpiece of the Internet.

The general session Q&A

Mitchell's keynote was followed by a really interesting Q&A session with John, David, Mark, Brendan and Mitchell.

Q&A session on Tuesday morning

Q&A session on Tuesday morning

Misc links

A few links if you want to follow what's happening (a lot) during this event: