Updated on January 5, 2016
Mozlando – Mozilla All-Hands Orlando 2015 Report
Note: The following is a (mostly) unbiased trip report of my experiences at Mozlando, Mozilla’s end of the year Work Week in 2015. Related to this, I encourage you to read my thoughts about the ‘Firefox OS is dead’ disaster during the event if you want to hear my opinion on that.
Once again, I was honoured to be invited to another major Mozilla event, this time the All-Hands Work Week aka Mozlando in Orlando, Florida on 7-13th December.
Coincidental Work Weeks are individual team Work Weeks all happening at the same time in the same location. These events stand as a unique and special opportunity for all paid staff and Mozilla’s most impactful volunteers to come together, in person, to share experiences and interact with people they may not normally work with (or just see over Vidyo). Work weeks are a key differentiator for Mozilla (larger organizations just can’t do this sort of thing in a meaningful way).
Being able to come together as a whole organization, 2x each year, exposes Mozillians to interactions that may spark new ideas and/or lead to new solutions. Work Weeks are a core part of Mozilla’s annual planning process.
Further, it was my first time in the US, so it definitely was worthy of being included in my bucket list. I do not want to talk too much about the obsession Americans have about laying carpet everywhere their feet might step, so let’s rewind a bit and I will try to give a bit more background here.
Participation at Mozilla
As part of the 2016 strategy, Mozilla will push for Participation across all of its functional areas, recognizing it as one of its core values, not only in theory, but also in practice. The Vision for Participation at Mozilla:
By 2017, we need to make a leap forward: Mozilla again needs to have an approach to participation that is massive and diverse, local and global. Participation that brings sustained strategic advantage to Mozilla.
As part of this goal, various Mozillians and Reps have been invited to 3 major Global Gathering events, to facilitate 2016 goals and cultivate Participation. I was happy to be invited to Mozlando, Mozilla’s All-Hands Work Week in Orlando, Florida, and the Leadership Summit in Singapore.
Mozlando is Mozilla’s 3rd Work Week, bringing together more than 1200 Mozillians (Staff and Volunteers) in a single place. It was held at Disney World Orlando, allowing all Mozillians to be part of the Disney experience first hand (Star Wars for me at least, always preferred Looney Tunes over Disney).
The meeting itself would consist of dozens of sessions across 4 days, including opening and closing speeches by the Leadership team and various other Product teams. Intensive, indeed.
We were staying in the Swan and Dolphin hotels next to the Disney World parks, so going from sessions to our hotel rooms and to meals was quite close (although the resort was huge). The weather was really really hot, something which made the cheesy Christmas spirit at Disney really absurd. But yeah, so much to my anti-conformism.
My personal duty was to facilitate contribution pathways for designers to get involved at Mozilla. Mozilla has outstanding visuals and creative directions most open source projects would be jealous of, yet we have been unable to involve volunteers in these processes.
This is due to change however. As part of the Participation team I will be coordinating the Community Design group, bridging the gap between volunteers interested in creative design, and the Creative team at the Mozilla Corporation. Let me know if you want to get involved!
Furthermore, I finally met up with the super inspiring folks from the Tech Speaker program where I am part of. The mission of Mozilla’s Tech Speakers is to increase developer awareness and adoption of Mozilla products and the Open Web as a platform through a strong community-driven technical speaker development program. It has been a wonderful journey meeting and sharing experiences with like-minded Mozillians.
We are already planning our Team All-Hands in April, where we will meet in Berlin for a whole week to sharpen our speaking skills and bring the program forward.
I’d probably explode this blog post if I mention any more Star Wars, Mickey Mouse or Afterparty experiences, so I will leave it with this here.
Mozlando was immensely inspiring and I’m grateful to be one of the volunteers invited to it (seriously, there were more children of staff members there than volunteers!).
The disaster with Firefox OS gave me a bitter aftertaste however. Luckily it was easily washed away at the afterparty.
All-Hands / Work Weeks are probably the best even frameworks Mozilla has to offer. I am looking forward for the next All-Hands in London in June and Hawaii in December 2016.