Goings On – 2012 So Far

Mozilla Croatia Community

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

I 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!.

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On Startup Culture

I admit to being skeptical before about startup culture in the technology sector, for a few reasons:

  • It smells of a gold-rush, a way to make a quick buck. I was brought up with an ethic to go and do your day’s work, work hard, get paid, and play your part.
  • This is inter-twined with rush to commercialise the Internet. This is not new, but it is eroding into the idealism of the early days of the Web when it was supposed to be the great equaliser in society, the open information platform.
  • To scale, you really need to get investment, which means compromising and handing over rights to your business and ideas.
  • I’m a software engineer, and solve problems presented by others. I don’t see myself as an ideas person, or at least don’t have the urge to act on ones I do have.

To make an analogy, startups to me are like young footballers who dream of playing for Manchester United or AC Milan or Real Madrid. Or indeed, even to play professional football at any level. How many make it? I don’t know, but I’d say less than 1%. I suspect the number of startups who are successful comes in at around the same percentage.

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Meetup in Dublin – Mozilla Ireland

UPDATE: The event will be at The Odeon, on Harcourt Street. It is 5 minutes walk from Stephen’s Green, and also on one of the main city Luas tram lines.

I’d like to invite you along to a Mozilla Meetup in Dublin, Ireland on November 2. Mozilla products have been translated into Irish for many years (thanks to the great work of Kevin Scannell and others). Unfortunately as Irish is spoken only be a small minority, this does not provide broad coverage country-wide. The majority would use English versions, and while there is a strong user base, the last time I checked the Firefox market share was much less than countries and regions in mainland Europe.

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Go East Part 1 – The ‘Kosovo is more South’ Edition

Image via Wikipedia

Next weekend I am privileged to be attending and speaking at (Keynote, Sunday 30th) the Software Freedom Kosovo Conference in Prishtina. The event aims to bring together local developers and decision making folks with international visitors, to encourage further adoption of Free and Open Source Software in the region. There is a lot of energy to be tapped into in the region, and I am excited to be going.

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