This week has been one of the most emotionally draining weeks of my professional career. And although, a lot of the feelings I have are still very raw and it might be more safe to stay quiet, I need to get this off my chest.
Almost 5-years ago exactly, I was at a conference. I was returning to the hotel after attending an OSSM meet up, and I met two Mozillians, jeff and kang, through some mutual friends. We got to talking and quickly we found common ground over how the team I was working on had made use of Mozilla’s public OpenSSH security guidelines (something they both had a direct hand in) and how amazing it was that Mozilla was willing and able to put that in the open. Ultimately, this seemingly small action had a cascading postive impact on reducing credit fraud for hundreds of millions of people around the world.
This is just one of the many examples of how a small but mighty group of people at Mozilla have sewn their impact on the internet. If you talk to any Mozillian, they can regale you with their own countless stories of how they had a hand in something that felt small at the time, but was incredibly huge in terms of impact. So, when an opportunity came up to be part of that community, it was something I couldn’t pass up.
I’ve always been a fan of the underdog. I grew up in New York and was a ferocious Buffalo Bills fan through their highest highs and lowest lows. I moved to Chicago years later and rooted for the Cubs deep into their drought years, and a few years later watched them do something that many thought was impossible. One thing I’ve taken away from this is that in order to really do something great, you’ve really gotta swing for the fences and although your results may vary, you can’t do big things by always playing it safe.
No doubt, this week will be remarked by many as a low-point for Mozilla and some of us are just showered with defeat at this moment in time. Having to depart with such a large group of Mozillians who have done so many great things for the internet and poured everything they had into it is so saddening and it breaks my heart. It’s hard not to think about what we could have accomplished had we all been able to stay together.
However, I know in my gut that these Mozillians will continue forge ahead and have a big positive impact at their new companies and on the internet, because that’s just who these people are. Once you’ve been apart of such a diverse community of talented people, you’re standards for what’s acceptable are changed forever and that too will have immeasurable cascading affects.
All that said, there are still a lot of Mozillians at Mozilla and in our communities trying to make a positive difference in the world continuing to sew seeds that will shape how we live our lives online. I see a ton of people out there chanting that this is the final death nell of Mozilla focusing on the very real and recent hardships we are forced to endure. I guess all I can say to those individuals is that I have empathy for the fact that you have not had the experience of being part of something this big, and I hope you one day have an opportunity to experience something like this and have it shape your life as it has mine.
“Like a plant that starts up in showers and sunshine and does not know which has best helped it to grow, it is difficult to say whether the hard things or the pleasant things did me the most good.” -Lucy Larcom