Mozilla Developer Engagement, May 12-19, 2011

We finalized the design for the Dev Derby and will be kicking off our first developer challenge with CSS Animations in June.

Here’s how we hold our team meetings:

Published DZSlides V2 Beta (make your slides in HTML5!):

Janet and Sheppy attended the STC summit, where among other things, we had dinner with some of our writer compatriots from Google.

Janet spoke on “(Things to Think About) Before You Pick a Wiki”.

Janet and Sheppy spoke about what it’s like to do “Radically Open Documentation”.

We all attended a work week at the Mozilla offices in Mountain View. We went bowling on a team outing. I tried to take a picture but mobile phone cameras don’t do so well with action shots in dark bowling alleys … (We also spent a lot of time in productive conversations with other Mozillians.)

Have a great week!

The Developer Engagement Team
Christian, Janet, Jay, Louis-Rémi, Paul, Sheppy, Will and Stormy

Who’s helping who?

At Philly Emerging Tech some girls from TechGirlz came into meet with me and Molly Holzschlag. I think we were supposed to be role models for them but two minutes into the meeting, I realized the girls were the role models!

One of the girls was already writing a game in Python and had already considered the benefits of open sourcing it or not.  Another was concerned with the lack of emotion you can convey in a text message and how we might be able to improve that. A third girl had already set up her own dog treat business complete with an online presence. And the youngest in the group? She was in a Lego club and could build and program computer robots. Her teacher? An older girl in the group. These girls ranged in ages from 8 to 15 and they were already accomplishing amazing things.

We talked about careers in tech, how you can take technology into other fields, the things that frustrated them, the things that motivated them, … I sure learned a lot and came away motivated!

For more on what we talked about read Todd Weiss’ excellent recap.

Thanks to Tracey Welson-Rossman for TechGirlz and for inviting me to participate.

Mother’s Day Tradition

My stepson’s mom has one of the most awesome traditions. She throws a Mother’s Day party every year. Every year I feel extremely grateful and honored to be included. Raising a kid across two households is not an easy thing but she makes it possible because she’s an awesome mom.

(And I think we need a few more relationship words in our language these days. How should I refer to my stepson’s mom? My boyfriend’s ex? We need a few more words …)

Mozilla Developer Engagement, April 25-May 11, 2011

These updates are not meant to be all inclusive updates of everything we’ve done. We’re giving you a snapshot of some of the things we work on …

Janet’s been working on the upcoming Doc Sprint. Preparations are proceeding for the next doc sprint. At least 10 community members are expected in Cincinnati, and several of them are arriving early to attend the Open Help Conference.

In case you are wondering what a doc sprint looks like, here they are hard at work at the last doc sprint. (Rumor has it they had a bit of fun too!)

Please join us at the next one if you’d like to help:

Sheppy continued to make sure you can learn about web technologies:

Will was getting ready to ship the Add-on SDK’s final beta, lots of new APIs.

Christian spoke at a certain company about open web stuff and distributed working.

Jay’s intern John emailed back and is excited to join us in a few weeks!  He starts on May 27 and will be working with us on MDN related projects, including Demo Studio outreach, Kuma development, and other developer research and engagement work.   Jay gave John some homework, so he’ll be ready to go when he gets out to Mountain View at the end of the month!  Now Jay says he just need to let him know he can just call me Jay.  🙂

Christian having fun at the Jax Conference …

And in the time it took me to get out this update, Eric has been busily cranking out content and updating existing material for Firefox 5 and 6.

And Will has been busy working on the last development cycle before Add-on SDK 1.0 ships. He’s been integrating the example add-ons that ship with the SDK into the documentation system.

I had a great time at JSConf where I got to track down a new Fire suit with help from …

… Ryan Snyder. More on our adventure later!

Have a great week!

The Developer Engagement Team
Christian, Janet, Jay, Louis-Rémi, Paul, Sheppy, Will and Stormy

Book Review: Drive by Dan Pink

I really enjoyed Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Dan Pink. I quote Dan Pink in just about every talk I give ever since I read his book A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future.

In Drive he talks about rewards as motivation and how they apply to the work place with some pretty startling results. It turns out that really big bonuses actually make us perform worse. People focus so much on the bonus that they get really nervous and do worse.

He also talks about the things that make us perform better like:

  • autonomy (self-direction and being engaged),
  • mastery (getting better at something) and
  • purpose.

He uses open source software projects of examples of how that works.

For an entertaining 10 minute version of the book check out this video:

(I wish I could do presentations like that. I am now working on that!)

Thanks to Barbara Hueppe for the pointer to the video. She passed it on as an excellent example of what motivates communities like Mozilla’s community.

The secret to my success in a field of men? All my friends. My guy friends.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few weeks talking about why we have so few women in open source and web development and how to encourage more women to join. (I even got to spend an awesome afternoon with a bunch of girls. I was supposed to be mentoring them but they were already Python game developers and small business owners – at the ages of 10 and 15!)

But the more I think about it, the more I realize that I am in this field because I really like the people. And 95% of those people are men and I appreciate them. I appreciate all the help they’ve given me whether they knew they were helping or not!

So I decided it’s time to thank all the men that I appreciate, who have helped me in my interests and my career.

First, there’s my dad. He not only told me I could do whatever I wanted to do, but promised to make sure I had the opportunities. I think he’s always been secretly disappointed I didn’t want to play football.

To my grandpa. He told me it was his sandbox, so I could play in it. He taught me how to defend my right to participate with out a leg to stand on — it wasn’t his sandbox. (And to Chris who taught me how to play toy soldiers in that sandbox. I still consider that to be one of the most boring games I know but it taught me how to steer the game or the conversation in the direction I wanted it to go.)

To my uncle John who saved all his computer magazines. He asked me once if I wanted to organize conferences. I stand by my firm answer of no, you’d have to be crazy. (But I do help out occasionally!)

To my uncle Larry who used to save me boxes of science fiction books. Boxes! Boxes of science fiction books! When you live in Spain and can’t get them that was a treasure.

To my great uncle Ted who was more delighted than I was when I finally managed to beat him in a game of cards.

To my boyfriend Frank who projects complete confidence that I can do anything. Except mow the lawn. But he is willing to get in a small boat in a big ocean with me. And he listens to my excited stories and my gripes and promises to beat up anyone who bothers me. I know he’s got my back.

To all my friends that I hang out with online and at conferences. I couldn’t possibly hope to list you all in one blog post but you’ve made all the difference. Especially those that welcomed me in the beginning. Meeting all the HelixCode guys. An afternoon hanging out with Havoc Pennington and the Eazel guys in Copenhagen trying to stay awake. Dave Neary encouraging me not just to be GNOME Foundation member but to run for the board! I didn’t run for the board then but he did later convince me to apply for the executive director job.  Dinner with Bastien Nocera, Jeff Waugh and Glynn Foster.  A cab ride with Daniel Veillard during which he explained why he didn’t trust OpenOffice. An afternoon hunting for saffron with J5. Conversations with Bradley Kuhn about free software and community and who was always helpful even when I was causing him great grief. All the questions that Vincent Untz answered for me when I started as Executive Director of GNOME – he was probably starting to get worried there! For Luis Villa, Brian Cameron, Lukas Rocha, Germán Póo-Caamaño, Behdad Esfahbod, Diego Escalante Urrelo, who took all my suggestions seriously and never acted like any question was stupid even when they were. For Jeff Schroeder who regularly pings me and encourages me on the ideas I’ve mentioned. For Paul Cutler for always making time to meet in person even when I delayed his trip home! For Ragavan Srinivasan who taught me we can be the ones to start something. And for all my new friends in the world of JavaScript and web development. Dave Herman, Christian Heilmann, Trevor Lalish_Menagh, Robert Nyman, Peter Svensson … Even after I’ve shown I have no clue how to write good JavaScript, you’ve still made me welcome.

And a whole bunch more people that I’ve talked to on IRC, IM, in hallways, over lunch or a beer, … I’m not leaving you out. But I do have to get back to work at some point.

Thanks to all of you. For all the conversations, for all the ideas you’ve shared, ideas you’ve given me feedback on, questions you’ve answered, trust you’ve shown, … I thank you. Hopefully I am successful in returning the favor or passing it on because I think it’s what makes our communities great. It’s what will continue to bring more men and more women to our communities.

That’s why I’m part of these free and open source software communities and why I’ve chosen this career path. For the people in the communities and the way we are making the world a better place together.

And I love the 5% that are women too! But I feel like I owe the guys a special thank you as we don’t often mention how encouraging and helpful they are.