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Saturday, August 2 2014

Exploring volunteer-run community spaces


As a follow-up to my blog post last month, I wanted to introduce the second component of the Community Building partnership I’ve been shepherding with WPR. This component focuses on Mozilla Community Spaces ie. work spaces that are 100% managed by Mozilla volunteers and funded by WPR.

Since I joined Mozilla, a bit more than 6 years ago, I’ve traveled to more than 50 countries to meet and work with dozens of Mozilla communities and hundreds upon hundreds of passionate contributors. If there is one recurrent topic brought up by Mozillians during my trips, it’s the importance of face-to-face interaction and collaboration. While we Mozillians love hacking, sharing, chatting, debating together remotely online (ie. the power of the web in all its splendor!), we also love being together and seeing each other’s faces. And this goes beyond natural social interaction (ie. hanging out with people who share a common passion and interests). As awesome as IRC, email or video conferencing may be, the virtual cross-pollination of ideas has its limits. There is real tangible value in spending time working on a project together, brainstorming, discussing and debating, all under the same roof. That’s why events at Mozilla have always been so important. Historically, events have been, for many Mozillians, the only opportunity they had to meet their fellow Mozillians in person. And to be sure, one of the big rationales of launching the Mozilla Reps programs was precisely to enable more Mozillians to organize more events in more places around the world. Since the launch of the Mozilla Reps program, there has been a surge in the number of Mozilla happening in more than 80 countries. Predictably, this increase in the number of events has resulted in not only the growth and consolidation of existing Mozilla communities, but also in the birth of new ones.

And it's precisely because Mozilla’s most established communities have grown so much and that the concentration of contributors in a given city is such that having a dedicated physical work space appears to be the logical next step to sustain this growth. Having a dedicated work space Mozillians can run on their own is much more practical, productive and cost efficient than running weekly community events to meet in a rented venue. Last but not least, those Mozillians in countries where broadband is still a rare and expensive commodity (eg. Kenya) can greatly benefit from working from a well-connected space. It is clear, community spaces can help more Mozillians do more, together.

And this is where the Community Space initiative comes in. Over the past couple of months, I’ve been gathering feedback from different communities who have expressed a strong interest in having a community space to work from. I’ve also gathered lots of feedback and ideas as to how these community spaces could be run by volunteers while being funded by WPR. This led Rob Middleton (Director of WPR) and I to kick off several “pilots” around the world over the next 12 months, specifically in Athens, Bogota, Bangalore, Madrid, Manila, Nairobi and Taipei.

The selection criteria for these pilot cities include: - level of interest expressed by community - level of the community's preparedeness to manage a space - located in a strategic market for Firefox OS

These pilots will, hopefully, help us test out different sizes of spaces, gather important learnings and best practices to enable us to eventually roll-out a global community space initiative next year, which will support *all* communities who wish to run their own community spaces.

For more details on the initiative, make sure to peruse through the official wiki page which I'll be updating regularly: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Contribute/WPR/Community_Space_Initiative

In the next few months, I’ll be sharing regular progress reports for each space on this blog and also on the Grow Mozilla calls. Feedback and ideas are, as always, more than welcome. These pilots will be critical in the planning and design of the official community space initiative next year.

The first pilot we’re running is with the Taiwanese community in Taipei, which officially inaugurated its community space a few weeks ago. This will be the focus of my next blog post. Stay tuned!

Friday, June 20 2014

Spaces and Community Building


As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I joined Mozilla’s Community Building Team this year, to focus more deeply on supporting functional teams at Mozilla and help them better design for participation. Community building has taken center stage at Mozilla and one of our ambitious 2014 goals is to increase by x10 the number of active contributors to the project, with a special attention on 10 focus areas: Coding, Location Services, QA, User Research, Documentation, Localization, Privacy, Support, Web Compatibility.

One functional team I was tasked to support, and which has the particularity of directly supporting all of these 10 focus areas, is the fantastic Workplace Resources Team (aka WPR), the team at Mozilla responsible for building out our physical spaces around the world. To quote Rob Middleton, who leads WPR, “when we create the right space for people passionate about the open web, great outcomes happen and great products are made”. Over the past couple of years, WPR has invested heavily in building out beautiful community spaces within our offices to attract talent, strengthen community cohesion, become major contributor funnels. Community building has never been as important for the health of the project, and now that these spaces have been built out, the logical next step for WPR was to partner with the CBT. I was particularly excited to be tasked to work with WPR, not only because they are truly passionate about learning about contributing to Mozilla’s 10x goal mentioned above, but more importantly, Mozilla’s spaces have a unique role to play in connecting people to the plethora of contribution opportunities that exist.

Going into 2014 WPR (me personally) had a goal to figure out how to activate our community spaces within our MozSpaces to both utilize great spaces we have built for community engagement, along with being able to provide a vehicle to help people who have an interest in becoming active contributors a place to find out how to get involved. Without CBT's partnership this would still be a thought and not a reality. - Rob Middleton (Director, WPR)

While the CBT/WPR partnership is still in its infancy, we have already accomplished a great deal. The starting point was to agree on a community building strategy for spaces that evolves the informal, organic and ad hoc approach we used to have with our community spaces into a strategic, intentional and scalable one. To this end, we kicked off an experimental 3-month pilot project in the Mozilla Paris office (where I work from) to drive an aggressive community building event strategy in our community space (aka “Salle des Fêtes”) to see how many new contributors we can recruit when designing events with a community building focus, but also to help us gather learnings and best practices which we can ultimately apply to all our spaces around the world.

The pilot is run by two part-time space coordinators (Clarista and Axel) who are tasked to work with local staff and volunteers to run events specifically designed to connect potential active contributors to contribution opportunities from one of our 10 focus areas. More specifically, the goals that we have set ourselves for this pilot are to:

  • triple the number of events in our spaces every month
  • tie success metrics to each event
  • recruit at least 1 new active contributor per event (1)
  • train a team of 10 dedicated volunteers to work directly with WPR in the long term

Roughly one month into the pilot, the results have been staggering:

  1. We have gone from hosting a handful of events every month (ie. ~5) with no tracking of the impact of the events to hosting 15 events since last month with specific success metrics tied to them
  2. We have successfully recruited 19 new contributors, all around our 10 focus areas mentioned above
  3. We have identified 5 local volunteers who have expressed interest in joining WPR to help with events in the Paris space.

Obviously, the prism through which I’m analysing this pilot is community building, but the benefits of having an intentional, strategic and scalable approach to how we use our community spaces goes far beyond recruiting new contributors. Running these types of events in our spaces help us:

  • raise Mozilla's profile
  • promote our products and mission
  • strengthen exisiting ties with local community, industry partners, friends of Mozilla
  • educate and attract new audiences

Yes, we've only scratched the surface, but the headway WPR and CBT have made so far, working together, is clear. In fact, WPR is already exploring ways we can take community building further through space by running an experimental pilot for volunteer-run community spaces . This will be the object of my next blog post :)

More awesomeness to come!

(1) new active contributor = a person who has taken a significant action in support of a CBT focus area as a result of attending an event in the Mozilla Paris space

Monday, May 19 2014

Rebooting my blog

My blog has been in a state of comatose for more than a year now and I’m excited to announce that it has finally woken from its long slumber! I’ve never been a big fan of blogging but I always made it a point to write a post once in a while to keep the community abreast with what I was up to. And then...alas, my laziness got the best of me in 2013 and I completely stopped posting anything. Like an abandoned garden invaded by thick prickly weeds, my blog got saturated with spam comments which rendered it unusable, requiring a lengthy and tedious clean-up and update of my blog platform (ie. Dotclear) which I naturally kept postponing to that ever-elusive “when I'll have more time” moment...

Anyway, this state of affairs obviously had to come to an end. I’m working on so many new exciting projects right now that this wretched laziness has been supplanted by a renewed enthusiasm to blog and share!

A lot has happened since my last blog post. The Mozilla Reps program, which I had been working on for more than 2 years, has made leaps and strides and is now in the able hands of Brian King and Rosana Ardila. This passing of the torch coincided with my switching teams last December, joining the fantastic CBT (Community Building Team) and reporting to Mozillian-extraordinaire, David Boswell. In my new role, I'm focusing my time on supporting functional teams across the project and helping them design for participation.

This blog reboot is all about sharing updates and insights on these new exciting projects and partnerships and all the great stuff the CBT is working on to help grow and strengthen Mozilla's contributor base.

Happy reading (I hope)!

Monday, December 31 2012

Mozilla Reps 2012 Recap


As we near the end of 2012, I wanted take a moment to reflect a bit on the program and share some thoughts on what I think we, as Mozilla Reps, achieved since we launched in the summer of 2011, and what we plan to achieve in 2013.

The Mozilla Reps program (aka ReMo) was created to help grow and strengthen Mozilla's global volunteer community, the backbone of the Mozilla Project. It is an essential driver of the Mozilla's Community Engagement team's efforts help grow and strengthen our contributor base, promote Mozilla, our products and contribution opportunities all over the world.

Through ReMo, we created a simple framework and a set of tools that could help push responsibility, accountability, capability and authority to the very edges of our community. Only 18 months into the program, what we have accomplished as Reps far exceeds the hopes anyone of us had back when ReMo was just a project idea.

At year's end, here's what the program looks like in numbers:

  • 375 Reps in more than 70 countries
  • 945 events organized
  • 2.3 events per day directly supported by the program
  • 700+ applications to the program
  • 450+ subscribers to the mailing list
  • 2877 monthly reports filed

The central theme that guided our efforts this year was "strengthened leadership". We focused a lot of our energy not only on supporting and building up leadership within our respective communities, but also within the program itself. To that end, we widened the mentorship circle to include close to 30 Mentors, and consolidated the Council (ReMo's elected governing body comprised of 7 volunteers and 2 staff). Mid-year, in Berlin, the Council and Mentors met and worked tirelessly for 3 days to assess, design and build new initiatives and components for the program. Mozilla Reps' hybrid, distributed and community-driven leadership, is what makes the true strength of the program and is what I'm personally most proud of, as a Rep.

2012 was filled with so many truly awesome events, initiatives, programs, activities led by Reps, it would take me days to list them all. Off the top of my head, I can think of the following highlights this year : Matjaz's presentation to the Slovenian Parliament to talk about SOPA and an open web under threat ; Mozilla's Hispano's incredible booth at EBE in Sevilla, Spain's largest social media conferece, and Jun and Bob's truly impressive appearance on prime-time television in the Philippines to talk about Firefox OS. All three examples are perfect illustrations of how passionate Mozillians, empowered with the right tools and resources, can represent Mozilla in their region and have a profound impact on how the people public think about the web, understand Mozilla's mission and products, and ultimately learn how to contribute to the project.

Next year promises to be an even more exciting year for Reps. The momentum that we've built, the keen interest that teams across the organization are expressing in the program, the strong leadership within the program and the new tools we will build for Reps, will make Mozilla Reps a truly transformative program for Mozilla.

2013, here we come. En avant!

2012 ReMo highlights selected by Mentors:

All our "Reps of the Month":

Saturday, July 28 2012

[Debrief] ReMo Camp 2012

ReMo Camp 2012 - brandenburger tor

As I wipe dust off of this blog, I wanted to get back into blogging mode to share a long overdue summary report of the Mozilla Reps Camp 2012.

As you may know, Mozilla Reps leadership, comprised of both council members and mentors, met in Berlin earlier this month for a 3-day camp to do a sanity check on the program and to plan the road ahead. It was a very productive (and at times intense) meetup but we still managed to have a bit of fun along the way :) It took a little bit longer than planned to add the final tweaks to the report, but that's what you would expect when asking 27 Reps to review a document!

I think that all those who were able to participate in the Camp came home energized, focused and more determined than ever to continue to help drive the program and ensure that it reaches its full potential. Without a doubt, the Mozilla Reps program can have a deep impact on the Mozilla project as a whole by dramatically improving the way we support and build Mozilla's contributor base around the world. And that impact is already being felt.

In just over a year, we have more than 350 active reps in more than 60 countries. We have organized or supported more than 650 events (1.4 events/day), we have funded hundreds of project and distributed Mozilla swag to many countries we had previously never been active in. We have dozens of SIGs forming to leverage the program, and more and more project leads across the Mozilla organization are discovering the potential of the program to help them raise awareness and recruit more contributors to their respective projects. Last but not least, we have a beautiful and powerful platform http://reps.mozilla.org.

While the future of the program looks extremely promising, there are of course many challenges ahead, and we need to continue to strengthen the program's leadership, build more awesome tools, raise awareness of the program and push authority/responsibility to the edges to best address them.

The summary report contains a synthesis of what was discussed in Berlin and links to many etherpads with detailed action items, deadlines and their owners. I strongly encourage you to download the document here

I'll finish by sharing with you our high-level takeaways from the camp:

  • ReMo is gaining a lot of momentum and is set to become a transformative program for Mozilla
  • ReMo's leadership base is growing and is more empowered than ever
  • ReMo will play a critical role in supporting Mozilla's organizational goals around B2G, Fennec and Desktop and is a central to the Grow Mozilla initiative
  • A new governance structure and widespread improvements to mentoring, tools and communication will dramatically improve the efficiency and impact of the program
  • In our first year, the focus was on “quantity” to effectively roll out the program – the focus must now be on “quality”
  • Accurately measuring the impact of the program on Mozilla's organizational goals is critical
  • ReMo still needs to become a household name at Mozilla – there is still a lot of work to do to educate Mozillians about the program and to encourage project teams to effectively leverage it
  • Reps need support from automated platform to perform with efficiency their everyday tasks and operations. This platform will be essential for providing metrics to the program. It's newest version 0.3 soon to be released will be a major step towards this. (UPDATE: 0.3, set to be released in only a few days now - get ready for something big ;-)

A BIG HUGE thank you to all those who participated in the Camp - one of the most memorable and productive events I've attended as a Mozillian.

Friday, April 6 2012

Mozilla Reps update - week of April 2nd 2012

Program update

Rep of the month:

- Congrats to Soumya Deb!

Upcoming events led by Reps:

- Mozilla Senegal Tour (Dakar, Senegal) - Mozilla Hack Day Nairobi (Nairobi, Kenya) - Bi-annual Aviary.PL meeting (Gdansk, Poland) - Mozilla Spring Awakening (Zagreb, Croatia) - MozCafé Palestine (Jenin, Palestine) - Rewics 2012 (Charelroi, Belgium) - Mozilla Day - Medea (Algiers, Algeria) - Open Web Workshop (Toronto, Canada) - DFYA (Melaka, Malaysia) - Build Your Own Game (Manila, Philippines) - MozCafé Manila for Student Reps (Manila, Philippines) - Expo ASI (Manizales, Colombia)

SOPs currently being updated:

- Mentoring: https://wiki.mozilla.org/ReMo/SOPs/Mentoring

- Swag Management: https://wiki.mozilla.org/ReMo/SOPs/Swag_Requests

- Creating your profile: https://wiki.mozilla.org/ReMo/SOPs/User_Profile

- Monthly Reports: https://wiki.mozilla.org/ReMo/SOPs/Monthly_Reports

WebDev update:

- Pierros to make a surprise announcement very shortly… :)

Friday, March 23 2012

Mozilla Reps update - week of March 19th 2012

Program update

Athens Work Week Recap:

  • summary report of Athens Work Week available here: http://mzl.la/athens_recap
  • 10 new mentors officially selected (announcement later this week)
  • date for start of new council pushed to mid-April (transition planning underway)

Events attended by Reps this week:

New SOPs in the works or being discussed this week:


  • ReMo "IT" task force created: Council Members Lucy and Nukeador overseeing all "Community IT" request - other possible tasks forces to be created: budget, swag task, events, planning

WebDev update

Friday, February 10 2012

Reps taking the lead at FOSDEM

fosdem 2012 booth

For those who are unfamiliar with the event, FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Developers' European Meeting) is Europe's largest gathering of FOSS developers, which takes place annually in Brussels, Belgium, in February. Last weekend, I attended my fourth FOSDEM.

Participating at FOSDEM is a tradition for Mozilla and for the past couple of years, we've had our own conference room (also known as DevRoom) entirely dedicated to Mozilla-specific talks given by staff and volunteers and also a Mozilla booth manned by Mozillians from across Europe. I've been tasked to organize our presence at FOSDEM for the past 3 years but this year's edition was different and a particularly memorable one. In a way, it was a return to Mozilla's early days when our participation was entirely volunteer-driven : Benoit Leseul, veteran Mozilla volunteer and Mozilla Rep for Belgium, ran the show and led our participation this year, flanked by an awesome team of volunteer Mozillians who came out from the four corners of the continent to support him. Whether it was planning the devroom schedule, finding speakers, organizing logistics and coordinating booth rotations, Benoit and his crew ran things like clockwork (and making it look so easy!).

It was particularly humbling for me to see first hand a Rep at an event like FOSDEM, leveraging all the different tools and resources Mozilla Reps have built out since the launch of the Mozilla Reps program (ie. budget request tool, swag order form, SOPs etc...). As the Mozilla project grows in scope and scale, community needs to be empowered, and we need to push responsibility and authority to the edges of the community. This is the central aim of the Mozilla Reps program and FOSDEM was a perfect illustration of that.

A *huge* thank you Benoit and all the Mozillians who came to Brussels for a most excellent FOSDEM!


  • To see our post-mortem for FOSDEM 2012, click here.
  • To see our Aftermath page for FOSDEM 2012, click here.
  • To view Brian King's photos, click here.
  • To view Julia Buchner's photos, click here.
  • To view Pierros' photos click here.

Tuesday, January 17 2012

Welcome Giorgos!

First off, a very happy new year!

One of my new year's resolutions is to blog more and I'm glad it only took me 2 weeks to actually publish my first post :)

And what better way to start the year by announcing a new member on the Contributor Engagement team! I'm very excited to welcome Giorgos Logiotatidis who is joining us as a full-time webdev contractor to help us build the baddest, raddest, awesomest web portal for the Mozilla Reps program (aka ReMo). Until now, ReMo has been fully wiki-based and with the tremendous success and growth of the program, we're now ready to take ReMo to the next level. Giorgos, working closely with Pierros, will not only be building a new website, but will also develop new functionalities and tools that will dramatically improve and enhance the work of Mozilla Reps. Stay tuned for ReMo webdev updates on the wiki planning page.

When not hunched over his computer writing Python, Giorgos brews beer with friends, enjoys photography and swings to the sound of swing jazz (bringing it to 2 the number of self-declared jazzophiles at Mozilla!)

Welcome Giorgos!!!

(photo credit: Pierros Papadeas)

Thursday, December 22 2011

Looking back at MozCamps 2011

Already a month has passed now since the "MozCamp Week" (yeah, that's how long it took for all that excitement to dissipate!) and without further ado, I'd like send out a bunch of heartfelt thank yous to all those who participated in what were exceptional events, both fantastically organized but also, very rich in content and learnings. Some great write-ups have  ben posted by colleagues and fellow Mozillians who were in Berlin (here, here, here, here and also here) and in Kuala Lumpur (here, here , here and here)

And of course, the camp has also been visually immortalized by some very talented photographers (here and here)

On the long list of thank yous, I'd first like to thank my team-mates on the Contributor Engagement team who have, once again, redefined for me the words "cool", "zen", "team cohesion". A big hat tip to our events agencies on the ground, Wolffs Produktionen (Berlin) and Go Internation (Kuala Lumpur) who were so helpful behind the scenes, always there to ensure that things ran smoothly and make sure those occasional logistical hic-cups were dealt with before we even had time to notice. Very special thanks go to the track leaders and support staff (Havi Hoffman, Laura Forrest, Dave Berz, Zandr Milewski, Shyam Mani, Paul Rouget, Greg Jost, Lee Tom, Sean Martell, Atul Varma, Spencer Hui) who spent long hours helping us design a rock-solid programme, recruit inspiring speakers and assist us whenever we needed a little hep.

Last but not least, I'd like to thank all the Mozillians who traveled, some from several thousands of kilometers, to share, work, discuss, challenge, brainstorm, question, hack, present, debate and soak in all that Mozilla energy condensed over a weekend. Seeing in person the passion and drive of hundreds of Mozillians from the four corners of the world, under one roof, is a powerful and truly humbling experience. Perhaps more than anything, I look back and I observe with pride how many new communities that have recently sprung up and are doing fantastic work to build a better web in parts of the world where Mozilla had, until recently, been  absent. Mozilla is indeed moving ahead, and fast and there's nothing more thrilling to see this community alive and kicking in new parts of the world. 2012, here we come !!!


Here is a cool video recapping both MozCamps (hat tip to Spencer and Rainer!):


Here is a presentation the Contributor Engagement team prepared summarizing the key learnings from both MozCamps:

We also have video of the presentation which is being edited and when I have it, I’ll add it to this post.

Tuesday, October 4 2011

MozCamp EU: call for speakers!

I wanted to give a quick update on MozCamp Europe 2011 planning and preparations. We're nailing down the last logistical details as I'm writing this, before we dive in deep into building the program and content with Mozillians. I'm thrilled to announce that we've secured the Kalkscheune as our official venue, a landmark building located in the heart of Berlin and perfectly catered for the intense interactive and collaborative event MozCamp Europe is set to  be. 

The general theme of MozCamp this year will be "Many Voices, One Mozilla",  celebrating our diversity and unity as Mozillians.
As an organization we've embarked upon some new and exciting initiatives, taken on ambitious goals and grown immensely.  It's time to come together, have some important discussions, explore new opportunities, stretch our skillsets and do some celebrating along the way.  Proposed tracks are:

  • Product & Technology Track: Sessions will focus on the product vision and roadmap for desktop and mobile
  • Skills development and community growth:   Sessions for this track will focus on professional skills, best practices in terms of building and growing communities and more.
  • Engagement/regionalization: Sessions in this track will focus on our engagement efforts and how to best bring Mozilla to the world.

Based on these tracks, the two-day conference will begin with morning  keynotes followed by presentations, discussions, hackfests, work sprints  and few other fun activities!

As  for all Mozilla events,  the conference will be a collaborative effort  from beginning to end,  starting with the crafting of the program schedule itself. Based on the overall theme and tracks mentioned above,  if you're interested in giving a talk or leading a session, please make sure to submit a proposal to the planning team at mozcamp [at] mozilla [dot] com.  

Combined, MozCamp Asia and Europe will bring together more than 500 Mozilla staff and leading Mozilla contributors from all areas of the project. While the main focus is on community leaders and active contributors to all area of the project (l10n, platform, QA, SuMo, etc.), MozCamps also aim to bring up future leaders, those Mozilla contributors who have been particularly active in the past 6 months and represent the next generation of Mozilla leadership in the community. As for all invitation-only Mozilla events, we're still gathering feedback and recommendations from Mozillians to build a robust and solid invitation list, based on the following criteria: 
  • level and relevance of contribution to Mozilla in the past 6-12 months
  • role at Mozilla Camp (eg. speaker, member of logistics/planning committee etc...) 
  • level of activity as Mozilla Reps
  • vouching from community leads
We'll send the first wave of invitations this week and I'll make sure to update the official MozCamp Europe wiki page daily, so check in regularly! In the meantime, if you have any questions shoot me an email, and again, if you want to lead a session at the MozCamp, please make sure to send your talk proposal to mozcamp [at] mozilla [dot] com. 

Monday, September 26 2011

Introducing the Mozilla Reps Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

SIG image

I'm really excited to announce that starting this week, we'll be rolling out the first of many Mozilla Special Interest Groups (SIGs). Since we've launched the Mozilla Reps program, we've held a lot of meetings and discussions on IRC, across many time zones to gather feedback from Mozilla Reps interested in diving deeper in a particular area (eg. marketing, communications, SUMO etc..) and keen to work more closely with Mozilla staff managing those areas. SIGs are groups designed to help Mozilla Reps to do just that. By joining an SIG, Mozilla Reps can not only deepen their knowledge of a specific area of a project but they can also contribute more directly to it. It's also a unique opportunity to learn new skills specific or not to the project area they've chosen to focus on, ultimately promoting their personal and career growth. For Mozilla staff, SIGs are are unique way to share, gather input, engage and work more closely with volunteers.

Each SIG will be different. Some SIGs will be geared more towards providing more tools for and supporting the existing volunteers, while onboarding new ones. Other SIGs will operate more like small task forces to work collaboratively on specific projects with specific deadlines. Each will be coordinated by an SIG driver who in most cases, will be a Mozilla staff member serving as their team's community steward (see Mozilla's Stewards Program). The first SIG we'll be officially rolling out is the "Communications" SIG, which the Mozilla PR team has done some fantastic work on. We'll be announcing this SIG very shortly. In the following weeks, we'll be launching SIGs around QA, SUMO, Developer Outreach and Marketing.

Stay tuned !

Tuesday, August 16 2011

Save the date! Mozilla Camp Europe 2011 - Berlin (Nov 12-13)

It's official!!!! The next Mozilla Camp Europe will take place in Berlin, Germany on November 12th and 13th, 2011! But wait, there's more! I'm also very excited to announce that the first ever Mozilla Camp Asia will also take place the following weekend in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on November 19th-20th, 2011.

For those Mozillians who aren't familiar with the event, Mozilla Camp (aka MozCamp) is a large 2-day regional Mozilla summit that brings together Mozilla staff and active contributors from a given region for (intense!) weekend of presentations, discussions, brainstorms, workshops, hackathons around specific areas of the Mozilla project, all with a special focus on the region. The event is, of course, also the opportunity for Mozillians to meet in person, to put a face on a lot of quirky IRC nicknames, and to spend some quality time together!

That's all for now. Make sure to tune in regularly on this blog as we'll be giving regular updates and more detailed information on the event, on the schedule and on the sponsorship policy for participants. As always, don't hesitate to drop me a line if you have questions or with any suggestions you may have to help us make these MozCamps a huge success !

(photo credit: withassoaciates under CC-SA)

Tuesday, June 7 2011

Dive deeper into the Mozilla project with ReMo!

The Mozilla Reps program (aka ReMo) is about empowering Mozillians. The program is designed to make it easy for Mozillians, all over the world, to organize/participate in events and activities, to inspire new contributors and to document and share their activities with the broader community. 
A new set of tools specifically designed for the program make it very easy to: 
  • request sponsorship and cool swag for local events 
  • identify Mozilla events in your region and locate other Mozillia Reps nearby
  • meet and collaborate more in depth with other Mozilians who share the same interests as you
We soft-launched the program last week and officially opened applications. I'm glad to announce that more than 70 Mozillians have applied and have been accepted into the program. Our aim is to have 100 sign ups by the end of the month and 500 by the end of the year.
While the Mozilla Reps program is open to all, becoming a Mozilla Rep involves a short but rigorous application process to make sure those interested are motivated and ready to take on a leadership role within the Mozilla community.

If you feel up to the challenge and ready to take your participation in the Mozilla project to the next level, apply today to become a Mozilla Rep!

The process involves three simple steps: 
  • Step 1 Fill out and submit the MozillaReps application form. A member of the Mozilla Reps advisory council will be in touch within 24 hours. 
  • Step 2 If your application is approved, you'll be invited to be interviewed by a member of the advisory council over IRC or IM that same week. The interview lasts about 15 minutes and you will be asked some simple questions about yourself, your experience contributing  to the Mozilla project and, of course, your motivation for becoming a  Mozilla Rep. 
  • Step 3  If you are accepted after the interview, your Mozilla Rep mentor who will get you started and get you familiar with the tools at your disposal to start organizing events, requesting  budgets, swag, etc. 
 Dive deeper into the Mozilla project and apply today !

Monday, May 16 2011

Notes from Senegal

I've recently come back from a trip to Dakar, Senegal, where I took part in the first ever Mozilla Tech Tour in French-speaking Africa. Describing the week I spent in Senegal as "intense" would be an understatement. Distilling everything i've seen, heard, discovered and observed during this trip would require one very long summary blog post and i'm hesitant to run the risk of scaring away the few loyal readers I have who have already braved my marathon Kenya blog post :) Rather, I'll give a simple summary and will delve in particular take-aways and observations in future blog posts (and of course encourage folks to read Mounir and Anthony’s updates as well).

The idea of the Mozilla Tech Tour in Senegal took root several months ago, when Sonny Piers, a fellow Mozillian based in Belgium, pointed me to a blog post written by a certain Mouhamadou Moustapha Camara, a Dakar-based freelance developer and passionate FOSS advocate. Camara's blog post eloquently talked about the importance of FOSS in Africa and how Dakar has become the tech hub of French-speaking Africa, attracting talented FOSS developers from across the region. While Firefox market share is generally high in this part of the world (>50% in Senegal), it remains relatively uncharted territory in terms of Mozilla community engagement, let alone developer engagement. Hence Senegal was the logical starting point in the region for Mozilla to engage with local community. I immediately got in touch with Camara and quickly realised I was speaking to someone very passionate about Mozilla’s mission and extremely keen to get involved in the project.

Later, over some beers one evening with my fellow colleagues Mounir, Anthony, Vivien and Mozillian extraordinaire Claire Corgnou (who manages in her spare time Bonjour Mozilla among other things..), I floated the idea of organizing a series of presentations and workshops in different universities in Dakar. Everyone enthusiastically offered to help and we set up a wiki page, drafted a rough schedule and Camara started reaching out to universities. This was Mozilla magic at work: staff and volunteers brainstorming and collaborating together to help push the project forward in Senegal.

Soon, Camara had successfully secured 6 different technical universities in and around Dakar for us to present the Mozilla project and lead workshops around open web technologies. Camara also introduced us to Karim Sy, founder of Jokkolabs, a Dakar-based working space and 'action tank' that promotes open source and social enterprise. Karim and his amazing crew joined in on the effort and offered some logistical muscle both for the workshops , meetings with seasoned Senegalese technologists and last but not least, a memorable Firefox 4 party we decided to organize to close out our tour on a festive note.

And so, the last week of April, the five of us flew to Dakar to meet up with Camara and Karim and embark on our first West African tech tour. Over the span of 5 days, we presented the project and led worskhops to packed rooms of hundreds of engaged students and professors too. Claire inspried attentive audiences by speaking about her experience as a volunteer and about the power of community at Mozilla. Mounir and Vivien mostly led add-ons workshops to teach students how to develop their first JetPack, and accompanying them along the way, whether they were experienced coders or not. Anthony spoke mainly about HTML5 and gave an "under-the-hood" tour of the web 'o wonder demos. Camara and I spoke about setting a local Mozilla community in Senegal.

Turnout far exceeded what we had hoped for, and the response from the students, from the professors, from the various institutions and NGOs we met along the way was phenomenal. We came home last week with hundreds of new supporters of the Mozilla project, a host of new contacts, many potential collaborative projects and initiatives with local like-minded organizations, and last but not least, a dozen new Mozillians eager to join Camara in his effor to build a Mozilla Senegal community, with some committed to start work on a Firefox build in Wolof, the national language. Looking back at what we've accomplished, I feel extremely proud of what we pulled off as a team in a relatively short period of time. I'm very grateful to Mounir, Vivien and Anthony for agreeing to embark on this adventure with me and for doing such an awesome job as tech evangelizers, especially since, giving hour-long talks and workshops in packed lecture rooms with frequent power outages is not something they’re very accustomed to doing :) I really hope their experience will compel more Mozilla developers to do the same.

A very special thanks goes out to Claire and to Camara, who epitomize the power and richness of the Mozilla community. Claire gave some truly inspiring talks, often working til late in the evening to touch up her slides (but still finding time to publish regular updates on bonjourmozilla.fr !). Camara worked tirelessly to reach out to universities, to draft a robust schedule that worked for technical and non-technical people alike, and engaged with the amazing members of Dakar Linux User Group to create promises to be a vibrant Mozilla Senegal community. Last but not least, a huge thank you to Karim, Emmanuelle and to the entire Jokkolabs and AUF crew for helping make our stay a most memorable one, looking out for us every step of the way and making sure that we maximized our short stay by introducing to officials, local entrepreneurs and different NGOs all interested in promoting open source software in schools, in the enterprise and in government administrations.

More than anything though, this tech tour shed a bright light on what makes Mozilla such a unique and successful public-benefit organization: the collaborative, participative and open nature of our organization, where staff, volunteers, and open web advocates are empowered to join forces and collaborate as members of one passionate community: one Mozilla in Senegal, in Africa and in the world.

NB: to see all Mozilla tech Tour Senegal photos, click here.

(blog post photo by nd1mbee)

Thursday, May 5 2011

ReMo update!

Now that Firefox 4 launch craziness has subsided a bit, and I've come back from Africa (look out for my next blog post), Pierros and I are back in full gear working on the Mozilla Reps program (ReMo). We're adding the finishing touches for a phase 1 launch scheduled the first part of this month so I wanted to give a quick update on where we are and what to expect these next couple of weeks.

ReMo early planning discussions begun late last year, but we kicked things off in earnest back in February when Pierros joined the team, engaging with as many Mozillians as possible right from the beginning of the design phase of the program. A couple of weeks past and we launched the prototype version of ReMo in April, where we tested the sign-up process, updated and fleshed out the program wiki and gathered lots of feedback. We've tweaked a few things to the application process and to the swag/budget request forms as well, and we have now begun the process of migrating the ReMo landing page onto Mozilla infrastructure.

This migration should take another couple of weeks (mainly for QA and security reviews) but because we want to start empowering Mozillians to become reps now, we'll be launching Phase 1 of the program entirely on the Mozilla wiki. Early to mid May, Mozillians around the world, interested in representing Mozilla in their region, will be able to officially apply to join the program and have access to all the ReMo tools we're building.

As always, we're really keen to receive feedback and suggestions. ReMo is, naturally, a work in progress and will constantly evolve. More than anything, it's community-driven, it's Mozilla Reps themselves who will be driving the program, so participation from as many people as possible is crucial, every step of the way. If you haven't already, make sure to sign-up to the ReMo mailing list for regular updates and of course, make sure to check the project wiki to learn everything about the program. Pierros will be giving a short ReMo webdev update on his blog shortly.

Stay tuned for more! :)

Friday, March 25 2011

Introducing the provisional Mozilla Reps Council

To follow up on Pierros's last blog post about the Mozilla Reps governance and organizational structure, I'd like to take a moment to introduce the provisional team that will help coordinate and oversee the program: the Mozilla Reps Council.

As we prepare to officially launch the first phase of the Mozilla Reps program next week, a "provisional" council has been formed which will be replaced, eventually, by an elected council. Staying true to the participative and representative nature of the program, and as Mozilla Reps grows and matures, the council members will be elected for 6 month-terms (or 12 months) by Mozilla Reps themselves, as soon as we introduce a voting system (hopefully by this summer). In the meantime, a provisional council will be at the helm.

This council is a 9-person team made up of 7 Mozilla Reps and 2 Mozilla staff (Pierros and yours truly), responsible for overseeing the proper functioning of the program, mentoring new Mozilla Reps, approving/rejecting specific budget and swag requests, and determining the general course and direction of the program.

This provisional council took shape very organically over the past couple of weeks, during the different discussions Pierros and I hosted on IRC and kicked off on the ReMo mailing lists and I'm thrilled that so many stepped up so quickly and so enthusiastically to help.

So, without further ado, I'd like to introduce and welcome the 7 Mozillians who have graciously volunteered to join this provisional council for the next couple of months:

Each council member has been really active and incredibly helpful from the initial phase of planning, participating in the many planning discussions Pierros and I led on IRC or on the ReMo mailing lists.

As council members, each one of us will be mentoring new Mozilla Reps, coordinating, planning and monitoring the growth of the program with the support of all Mozilla Reps, as we plan for phase 2 of the program this summer.

Please join me in welcoming our fantastic 7 ! To follow the progress of our work, make sure to regularly check the ReMo project wiki.

Friday, February 25 2011

ReMo ~ Feedback wanted!

As mentioned last week, central to making ReMo a success is gathering as many ideas and as much feedback as we can throughout the design and implementation process. To that end, in addition to blogging regularly about the program, Pierros and I will be holding bi-weekly IRC meetings in #remo on irc.mozilla.org, to give a general status update on ReMo, discuss ways we can improve it and answer any questions people may have.

ReMo is of course a global program, so we want to be global in scope with these meetings. Starting next Thursday, we'll hold three meetings every other week at the following times to make sure as many people as possible can participate:

  • Asia and Pacific: Thursday at 10:00 AM UTC (first one on Thursday 3 March)
  • Europe, Middle East and Africa: Thursday at 6:00 PM UTC (first one on Thursday 3 March)
  • North America and Latin America: Thursday at 12:00 AM UTC (next one on Thursday 3 March)

We'll be holding our first meeting next week so please make sure to spread the word and join the conversation!

Thursday, February 24 2011

Welcome Pierros!

I'm really excited to announce that Pierros Papadeas, passionate Mozillian, hacker, FOSS activist, architect, break-dancer and multi-tasker extraordinaire, has joined the Contributor Engagement team at Mozilla part-time, to help me with ReMo (aka Mozilla Reps) and make sure the program, once it launches early next quarter, will rock the house!

When not working on Mozilla, Pierros is actively involved in the Fedora Project (where he serves as Chair of Fedora Ambassadors Steering Committee) a free and open source project building the Fedora Operating System. In parallel to that he is pursuing his M.Arch in the National Technical University of Athens, with focus in Interactive Architecture and Interface Design.  When not online (2% of his time) he enjoys hiking, listening to Trip Hop , and wowing onlookers with some gravity-defying break dance moves.

He is also known to be fed only by a special combination of PopCorn-RedBull-ArizonaTea-Lemon.

Thursday, February 17 2011

Finding ... ReMo

For the past couple of weeks, on various community calls and IRC chats, I've been talking about a new project I've embarked on called "ReMo" (/rɪ'mo̞). The project is so large in scope, is tied to so many areas of the Mozilla project and requires so much input from the community that this is the first of a long series of blog posts that I'll be writing in the next weeks with my new partner in crime on the project, Pierros Papadeas (whom I'll introduce in a seperare blog post). These ReMo blog posts will aim to explain just what ReMo is and aim to gather as much feedback as we can.

Some background...

Since I joined Mozilla as a community manager in the summer of 2008, one of the central themes working with Mozillians is the power of community and how to leverage it as best we can to push the Mozilla project forward. Yes, I sound like a broken but I cannot stress how important this is: community is the backbone of the Mozilla project. Mozilla is a small tiny organisation that produces high quality software for more than 400 million users around the world and educates the public about the importance of openness and innovation on the web. This would not be possible without the help and support of thousands of passionate volunteers who believe in our mission and actively participate in the development and promotion of our products and mission. As successfull as the Mozilla Project has been (almost a third of the world's internet population use our products!) we still have so much more to do and so many new challenges and opportunities on the horizon. One challenge we're encountering has to do with scale: as vibrant as our community of volunteer contributors to the project, it is not scaling as fast as our ever-expanding user base, which means that the community is stretched thinner thinner when contributing to the project, whether it's localizing documentation, organizing events, providing user support, designing marketing campaigns, testing websites, evangelizing open web technologies etc... To address this challenge, Mozilla needs to have a much more systematic and structured approach to strengthening, empowering and expanding its contributor base. Mozilla needs to create a framework that pushes responsibility to the edges, leverages the power of its passionate contributor community.

Introducing ReMo

ReMo (https://wiki.mozilla.org/ReMo) is a program designed specifically to address this challenge and help Mozilla empower, strengthen and expand its contributor base. ReMo is the code name for "Mozilla Representatives",  a program designed to help Mozillians become official representatives of Mozilla in their region. ReMo is about providing the:

  • tools
  • assistance
  • support
  • resources

to enable volunteers to take on more responsibility within the Mozilla Project, more easily and effectively, and be the eyes, ears and voice of Mozilla in their region to inspire more people to get involved in the project.

ReMo = empowering community further

And to be sure, I work directly with hundreds of volunteers who are the eyes, ears and voice of Mozilla and already consider themselves Mozilla representatives. ReMo will help "officialise" this role, and make that role so much easier to take on and ultimately much more impactful. For example, ReMo will make it infinitely easier and faster to:

    •    obtain a budget for a specific event or equipment for your community
    •    obtain reimbursement for travel and expenses
    •    order and customize locale-specific swag
    •    identify and attend relevant events to represent Mozilla at
    •    customize and order official Mozilla business cards
    •    find project-specific slides, templates, videos etc...
    •    produce locale specific materials (posters, flyers, etc...)
    •    touch base and collaborate with project teams at Mozilla

ReMo = community driven

One of the most critical and important features of ReMo is that when the program will reach mature stage (hopefully by the end of the year), it will be entirely community-driven, whereby Mozilla Representatives themselves will be driving and steering the program in coordination with Mozilla paid staff, maintaining and managing the platform, mentoring new Reps, managing and approving specific budgets, updating and producing new materials, leading training workshops etc..

Next steps...

As I mentioned at the beginning of this introductory blog post, ReMo is so important, so large in scope and most importantly, so dependent on feedback from the community that Pierros and I will be writing a lot of blog posts about it in the next weeks in order to shed light on so many different aspects of the program and of course, to answer all the many questions that will naturally surface. In an effort to maximise participation, discussion and the sharing of ideas during the design/planning phase of ReMo, we'll be holding weekly update calls and IRC meetings in the early morning, afternoon and late evening so as to encourage as many people as possible to participate.

So stay tuned, this is just the beginning... :)

ps: also, please make sure to frequently visit the ReMo project wiki for latest updates (https://wiki.mozilla.org/ReMo)

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