Goings On – 2012 So Far

So far this year it has been busy and exciting for me. So in reverse chronological order, here are some things I have been up to recently.

Briks Is 6

Briks logoI meant to call out the 5 year anniversary last year but it slipped by as I was too busy. Six is better, it rhymes! I set up Briks Software this month 6 years ago. Briks is a Web Consultancy that specialises in all things Mozilla and sometimes beyond. We do Add-ons, XULRunner apps, bug fixes, mobile work, and more. We’ve worked on projects large and small, with big companies and startups. Briks is not a 1-person show, I like to call it a Mozilla Development Collective. I’ve had various folks come on board per-project over the 6 years and quite frankly Briks would not have been so successful without them. There are 2 people that I would like to give a special shout-out to. Chris Neale is the glue that keeps everything together, from the web site to design to graphics to listening to me ramble on Skype all day. David McNamara is a coder who can whip something up before you can say ‘digital drifter’. See his recent profile on Bonjour Mozilla!.

The Briks experience so far has been wonderful. Anyone who has ever done consulting will understand what I mean when I say that it has it’s ups and downs. I’ve been fortunate to have more ups. Some projects succeed, some don’t. Some clients come to you with a clear vision, others let you shape it. You meet many different people who become at best friends or at worst good contacts. Almost every day there is a new challenge, and each now project is a puzzle to solve. Hopefully I will get time to write more about this, it deserves a separate post.

However lately I’ve been thinking that I have got to the point where I am looking for a different challenge in my career. The obvious choice would be moving into management in a tech company. Another option would be to do a startup. Or another would be to move to a tropical island and set up a tourist resort. All of these sound great, everything is open. If you have any opportunities you think would suit me, let me know.

Mozilla in Slovenia

Mozilla Slovenija is trying to keep the momentum going for promoting Firefox and Mozilla this year. Our primary tool for doing this has always been localisation, and the team are doing a great job in keeping up with product and web. As far as events go, so far we had a Firefox 10 event and Dan Odporte Kode (Open Source Day), both organised by Reps. And I can’t finish this section without mentioning Matjaž Horvat’s heroic efforts in the ACTA debate here.

ReMo

The Mozilla Reps program is going great and my work on the council has been taking up a lot of my time. It has been a victim of it’s own success in the respect that we are still going through some growing pains and smoothing out many of the processes that will solidify the program going forward. We met in Athens to work through many of the issues and come up with a plan for the project for the next year. Shortly after the new Mozilla Reps website launched. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out, it is a hub with profiles of all reps and will be a wonderful tool for reps and for the those looking for reps.

In general I have learned a ton over the last year while helping out with ReMo in the areas of mentorship and community building. It has been a privilege to help get the program started and to work with community members who feel so passionate about Mozilla.

FOSDEM 2012

For the first time in about 5 years I was not putting together the schedule for and running the Mozilla devroom at FOSDEM. And while I missed the hustle and bustle, let me tell you it was great. I could wander around other rooms, head over to the stands (in a new building this year), and listen to other talks. The show this year was run my local Mozilla Reps and the Belgian community. William Quiviger wrote more about this aspect in his recap. You can catch all the blog posts, slides, and picture on the Mozilla wiki.

WebFWD

I previously wrote about my motivation for getting involved in the WebFWD program. As a scout I’ve been seeing an explosion of startup activity recently in Central and Eastern Europe. While I have not (to my knowledge) directly influenced any projects to apply yet, I have certainly tried to raise awareness of the program. Much of the startup reading I have come across has been shared in the Scout Sightings blog posts compiled by Havi Hoffman. I’ve given an intro talk twice, first at FOSDEM and then at the Firefox event in Kiberpipa. The slides are on Slideshare.

Mozilla Croatia

I was in Zagreb in January for a meeting of the Mozilla Croatia Community. Also present apart from local community members were Ioana Chiorean from Romania, Oskar Ivanic from Serbia, and Matjaž from Slovenia. Up to about 9 months ago, the community was very much dormant with the exception of good work by Edo Huric and also the Firefox localisation team. Then a new force of nature entered in the form of Nikola Matosovic and he has already put together a team of about 40 volunteer members (yes, 40) to help with Mozilla Croatia.

Mozilla Croatia Community
Clockwise from top left: Ivona Haban, Niko Visnjic, Vedran Kovacevic, Satine Anais, Mislav Zorko, Denis Oswald, and Nikola Nikola Matosovic (middle)

The goal of the meeting was to get everyone up to speed with the latest projects and issues in Mozilla, and provide insights into Community building. Having already achieved much in outreach in 2011, the challenge in 2012 is to gain momentum and carry out the ambitious set of goals they have given themselves for 2012.

What Next?

In no particular order here are some things I want to achieve in the short-term:

  • Get some crucial releases out the door for Briks clients
  • Finish the ReMo add-on, currently a work-in-progress
  • Help the Mozilla Ireland community to the next level. We now have hosting for mozillaireland.org and we have to put the site up and plan some events to get new community members up to speed and for Mozilla to get more coverage in Ireland
  • Help out more in Mozilla Balkans, and hopefully attend the next meetup which is planned for Zagreb this time around
  • Forge deeper links with the startup community and perhaps attend a couple of related events in my region
  • Continue to dip my toes in the Dev Engagement project. I’ve been following the mailing list, and curating posts for the MDN Google+ page.
  • Put some real thought into my next career steps and act on them

And so it continues.

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