Better Know a WebDev: Mike Morgan (a.k.a. Morgamic)

James Socol

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Our group has grown a lot over the past few years, as we’ve taken on new projects and done a whole lot of amazing new things. Naturally, as we’ve grown we’ve become a group of more diverse backgrounds, skills and interests—everything from awesome JavaScript developers to our growing Hadoop expertise.

So this is the first post in a new series, Better Know a WebDev, where we’ll introduce everyone, and hopefully get to know each other a little better!

We’ll start with the big man, the head honcho, Mike Morgan, a.k.a. morgamic, one of the original Mozilla web developers and now Director of Web Development.

Morgamic and Lars

What do you do at Mozilla?

I’m the Director of Web Development. My job is to help people in webdev achieve great things and grow as engineers—and hopefully as people. I spend a lot of time on recruiting, but one of my unwritten jobs is serving as the “glue” between strategy and operations. I help everyone understand why projects are important and how strategic goals break down into day-to-day tasks. Mostly, I try to maintain a great culture for our team.

Any fun side projects you’re working on?

I spend most of my free time playing basketball or dabbling in photography. I’m pretty notorious for taking way too many fisheye photos.

How did you get started in web development?

In March of 2001 I taught myself HTML, CSS and PHP because I was bored during Spring Break and didn’t have any money to go anywhere. In 5 days I created a blog, picked up HTML and CSS. My first blog didn’t have tables, which was pretty frustrating because I quickly discovered all the crazy bugs with IE 5.5 and IE 5.1 (Mac). From there I started working part time on websites and just fell into web development.

How did you get involved with Mozilla?

My first Mozilla project was redoing bugzilla.org, which is why I’m still on the developers page. The bulk of my work came later in 2004 and 2005 when I got involved with addons.mozilla.org, Bouncer (download.mozilla.org) and aus2.mozilla.org.

One of my most exciting times at Mozilla was the Firefox 1.0 launch. I wrote a blog post about it back in 2004. From there I just kept working on web services and sites for Firefox, going on to build and scale a lot of the original Firefox services. Since I was pretty busy, I usually looked like this:

morgamic, 2006

What’s one mistake or funny fail story you’re willing to share?

Honestly, I can’t share the best fail stories publicly. But I’d say that accidentally wiping a production database with a bad DELETE statement is probably my biggest screw up. Don’t do that. Ever. There is no excuse and it’s embarrassing. Though if you do it once I hope you’re smart enough to never do it again. Just do it with a stage database.

What’s one thing coming up that you’re excited about? What’s exciting about it?

I want to play with camera and sound APIs in JavaScript. To have this all freed from Flash is a liberating and exciting concept. We are stepping into a time in our history where the web can literally do anything we can imagine. It’s so damn exciting—it’s just a wonderful time to be alive.

Mozilla is taking on proprietary app stores, identity and the mobile market. What a year 2012 will be. Tackling apps—freeing so much great content and capabilities currently locked down by one or two companies—it’s very exciting. When Mozilla gets this right, and I believe we will, it will be a great thing for everyone who uses the web on a desktop, phone, tablet, car, plane, refrigerator, etc.

What’s one question you’d like to be asked but haven’t been?

I guess I’d ask what I was most proud of, or what motivates me. Honestly, it’s pretty simple: my teammates. I’m surrounded by brilliant people who teach me something just about every day. The favorite part of my job is seeing them reach their goals and knowing I had a small part in it.

Webdev 2011

One response

  1. morgamic wrote on :

    For the record, the picture with Lars was the first image result on google images.