With the release of Firefox 39, we are pleased to welcome the 64 developers who contributed their first code change to Firefox in this release, 55 of whom were brand new volunteers! Please join us in thanking each of these diligent and enthusiastic individuals, and take a look at their contributions:
The six-week pilot version of the Mozilla Tech Speakers program wrapped up at the end of May. We learned a lot, made new friends on several continents, and collected valuable practical feedback on how to empower and support volunteer Mozillians who are already serving their regional communities as technical evangelists and educators. We’ve also gathered some good ideas for how to scale a speaker program that’s relevant and accessible to technical Mozillians in communities all over the world. Now we’re seeking your input and ideas as well.
During the second half of 2015, we’ll keep working with the individuals in our pilot group (our pilot pilots) to create technical workshops and presentations that increase developer awareness and adoption of Firefox, Mozilla, and the Open Web platform. We’ll keep in touch as they submit talk proposals and develop Content Kits during the second half of the year, work with them to identify relevant conferences and events, fund speaker travel as appropriate, make sure speakers have access to the latest information (and the latest swag to distribute), and offer them support and coaching to deliver and represent!
Why we did it
Our aim is to create a strong community-driven technical speaker development program in close collaboration with Mozilla Reps and the teams at Mozilla who focus on community education and participation. From the beginning we benefited from the wisdom of Rosana Ardila, Emma Irwin, Soumya Deb, and other Mozillian friends. We decided to stand up a “minimum viable” program with trusted, invited participants—Mozillians who are active technical speakers and are already contributing to Mozilla by writing about and presenting Mozilla technology at events around the world. We were inspired by the ongoing work of the Participation Team and Speaker Evangelism program that came before us, thanks to the efforts of @codepo8, Shezmeen Prasad, and many others.
We want this program to scale and stay sustainable, as individuals come and go, and product and platform priorities evolve. We will incorporate the feedback and learnings from the current pilot into all future iterations of the Mozilla Tech Speaker program.
What we did
Participants met together weekly on a video call to practice presentation skills and impromptu storytelling, contributed to the MDN Content Kit project for sharing presentation assets, and tried out some new tools for building informative and inspiring tech talks.
Each participant received one session of personalized one-to-one speaker coaching, using “techniques from applied improvisation and acting methods” delivered by People Rocket’s team of coaching professionals. For many participants, this was a peak experience, a chance to step out of their comfort zone, stretch their presentation skills, build their confidence, and practice new techniques.
In our weekly meetings, we worked with the StoryCraft technique, and hacked it a little to make it more geek- and tech speaker-friendly. We also worked with ThoughtBox, a presentation building tool to “organize your thoughts while developing your presentation materials, in order to maximize the effectiveness of the content.” Dietrich took ThoughtBox from printable PDF to printable web-based form, but we came to the conclusion it would be infinitely more usable if it were redesigned as an interactive web app. (Interested in building this? Talk to us on IRC. You’ll find me in #techspeakers or #devrel, with new channels for questions and communication coming soon.)
We have the idea that an intuitive portable tool like ThoughtBox could be useful for any group of Mozillians anywhere in the world who want to work together on practicing speaking and presentation skills, especially on topics of interest to developers. We’d love to see regional communities taking the idea of speaker training and designing the kind of programs and tools that work locally. Let’s talk more about this.
What we learned
The pilot was ambitious, and combined several components—speaker training, content development, creating a presentation, proposing a talk—into an aggressive six-week ‘curriculum.’ The team, which included participants in eight timezones, spanning twelve+ hours, met once a week on a video call. We kicked off the program with an introduction by People Rocket and met regularly for the next six weeks.
Between scheduled meetings, participants hung out in Telegram, a secure cross-platform messaging app, sharing knowledge, swapping stickers (the virtual kind) and becoming friends. Our original ambitious plan might have been feasible if our pilots were not also university students, working developers, and involved in multiple projects and activities. But six weeks turned out to be not quite long enough to get it all done, so we focused on speaking skills—and, as it turned out, on building a global posse of talented tech speakers.
We’re still figuring this out. We collected feedback from all participants and discovered that there’s a great appetite to keep this going. We are still fine-tuning some of the ideas around Content Kits, and the first kits are becoming available for use and re-use. We continue to support Tech Speakers to present at conferences organize workshops and trainings in their communities. And create their own Mozilla Tech Speakers groups with local flavor and focus.
Stay tuned: we’ll be opening a Discourse category shortly, to expand the conversation and share new ideas.
And now for some thank yous…
I’d like to quickly introduce you to the Mozilla Tech Speakers pilot pilots. You’ll be hearing from them directly in the days, weeks, months ahead, but for today, huge thanks and hugs all around, for the breadth and depth of their contributions, their passion, and the friendships we’ve formed.
Andre Garzia, @soapdog, Mozilla Rep from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, web developer, app developer and app reviewer, who will be speaking about Web Components at Expotec at the end of this month. Also, ask him about the Webmaker team LAN Houses program just getting started now in Rio.
Andrzej Mazur, @end3r, HTML5 game developer, active Hacks blog and MDN contributor, creator of a content kit on HTML5 Game Development for Beginners, active Firefox app developer, Captain Rogers creator, and frequent tech speaker, from Warsaw, Poland.
István “Flaki” Szmozsánszky, @slsoftworks, Mozillian and Mozilla Rep, web and mobile developer from Budapest, Hungary. Passionate about Rust, Firefox OS, the web of things. If you ask him anything “mildly related to Firefox OS, be prepared with canned food and sleeping bags, because the answer might sometimes get a bit out of hand.”
Kaustav Das Modak, @kaustavdm, Mozilla Rep from Bengalaru, India; web and app developer; open source evangelist; co-founder of Applait. Ask him about Grouphone. Or, catch his upcoming talk at the JSChannel conference in Bangalore in July.
Michaela R. Brown, @michaelarbrown, self-described “feisty little scrapper,” Internet freedom fighter, and Mozillian from Michigan. Michaela will share skills in San Francisco next week at the Library Freedom Project: Digital Rights in Libraries event.
Rabimba Karanjai, @rabimba, a “full-time graduate researcher, part-time hacker and FOSS enthusiast,” and 24/7 Mozillian. Before the month is out, Rabimba will speak about Firefox OS at OpenSourceBridge in Portland and at the Hong Kong Open Source conference.
Gracias. شكرا. धन्यवाद. Köszönöm. Obrigada. Dziękuję. Thank you. #FoxYeah.
The Participation Team is heading to Whistler this week where we’ll be running an innovative series of discussions, presentations, and workshops all centered around creating an approach to participation that is massive and diverse, local and global, strategic and impactful.
Whether you will be joining us in person or following along online. Here’s an overview of what we’ll be up to this week and how you can get involved:
Skills Building: Human Centered Design
Tuesday July 23rd 3:30pm-5pm
The Participation Team will be participation in an open session about design thinking and problem solving both generally and as they relate to specific projects. Please arrive promptly at 3:30pm if you’d like to participate!
Join in person: 3:30pm in the Participation Room in the Delta Whistler Village Suites hotel.
Join remotely: Follow us on discourse and Twitter using the hashtag #MozParticipation to find out what we’re learning during this session.
TED Style Talks: Exploring Radical Participation at Whistler
Wednesday June 24th at 4:30pm
A series of invited experts on participation will challenge us in short TED-style talks, bringing thought-provoking ideas on Radical Participation. Then join over one hundred Mozillians who care about participation as we come up with some rough designs for what radical participation could look like at Mozilla in the years ahead. Confirmed speakers include:
- Natalie Foster – Co-founder and Executive Director of Peers, the world’s largest independent sharing economy community, and former digital director for President Obama’s Organizing for America (OFA) and the Democratic National Committee.
- Jono Bacon – Senior Director of Community at XPrize where he leads community development and growth XPRIZE Foundation. He is the author of The Art of Community and the former Ubuntu Community Manager.
- Jeremy Bird – is a founding Partner at 270 Strategies and a longtime strategist. He also was the National Field Director for the 2012 re-election camapgin of President Barack Obama where he was dubbed the campaign’s “Field General” by Rolling Stone Magazine.
- See the full list of speakers here…
Join in person: Wednesday June 24th at 4:30pm in Sea to Sky Ballroom C at the Whistler Conference Center
Join remotely: Watch live on AirMozilla at 11:30pm UTC on June 24th, join the discussion on discourse and read the blog afterwards for a synthesis of the most poignant ideas.
Personalized Design: 26 Participation Lab Sessions
Wednesday June 24th – Thursday June 25 9:30am – 9:00pm
We’re hosting customized sessions throughout the work week to help teams solve problems and capture opportunities related to contributor or volunteer engagement, user/supporter/contributor participation, and many other topics related to participation. With over 26 projects registered we’ll be meeting with teams throughout the week.
View the full schedule and the description of each project below.
Join us in person: Registration is now closed for customized Lab sessions, however the Participation Room (Raven A + B at Delta Whistler Village Suites hotel) will be open to all throughout the week.
Join remotely: What do you think of the sessions? Send us your thoughts and questions on discourse.
Participation Moving Forward – Strategy Session
Friday July 26th 8:30am-10am
On the last day of Whistler the Participation Team will be gathering with volunteers, staff, and experts to think about what participation might look like at Mozilla 10, 15, 20 years in the future.
Join in person: Participation Room (Raven A + B) at Delta Whistler Village Suites. Please arrive promptly at 8:30am if you’d like to participate.
Join remotely: Share your thoughts/visions for the future of participation at Mozilla on discourse here.
Read more about the Lab and what we’ve been up to in Emma Irwin’s post “Participation Lab, What We’re Learning”.
Photo from Securing Web @ZAP Day 1
In recent months the Participation Lab has been tracking multiple experiments across the project that demonstrate fresh approaches to participation. To really understand and bring strategic value to Mozilla, our focus in these experiments has been to encourage human centered design and a deliberate setting of ‘milestones for learning ‘ and measuring success.
Learning milestones are places in a project’s execution where we stop and evaluate the initial hypothesis about participation: do these goals still make sense? Are we still on track to learn about participation? What are we already learning? Where can we help?
What we’re finding is that ‘learning check-ins’ are a critical opportunity to recalibrate, and advance the depth and success of project and contributor success. Participation shifts, and evolves with the project, it only makes sense to pay attention to those subtle changes. As a result of these conversations, and analysis we’re starting to see a shift towards a new innovative approaches.
The lab has also observed a number of trends in terms of what people struggle with most in establishing and measuring their participation experiments, and themes in how we’re trying to solve for better participation. All of this is leading to more insightful prototyping and execution of participation goals, and in the spirit of the virtuous circle : amplifying impact on contributor success and sense of value, and project goals.
Education & Training, Evangelism and Representation, and Market Research were identified as our top three themes in the nearly fifty projects we’re following. Learn more about these themes and how they’re being implemented below.
Education & Training
Community Education was at the heart of many initiatives we’re following. Many working hypothesis include education and training as a connective tissue for community building and development of future leaders. Almost all had a working theory, that through education and training we can build content and generate meaningful outcomes to project as part of learning outcomes.
By building and training a community of core contributors in Market Research, Marketpulse aims to collect data about phone sales in target markets. This project encourages contribution through a series of participation steps, each with complementary training. Marketpulse also recently completed a four-week online course “Interviewing Users for Mozilla” which taught contributors this qualitative research skill in user research. As a result of this project, Mozilla has gained user research on the “Large Screen Experience”.
By “Interviewing Users for Mozilla” course participant: Sukanta Pal
The Developer Fellowship program provides a model for Mozilla and advanced developers to work together more extensively, allowing Mozilla to gain outside expertise and influence to help build our curriculum, shape our products and evangelize our programs.
Mozilla Security Project – Securing Web @ZAP
Is a volunteer-lend series of workshops for students and security enthusiasts. During the workshop, participants are trained in ways to detect the threats by performing security attacks using the ZAP security tool. At it’s core this project is about teaching people about security by contributing to Zap. Each week focuses on a different method of contribution: source code, creating extensions and addons, documentation and localization. Hypothesis is that by teaching participation as part of curriculum we can gain a greater base of contributors as a result. Very cool!
Sumath’s Hypothesis is that by embedding contribution opportunities in education & training we can improve the number of, and quality of contributions, and help spread Mozilla’s mission to more people.
Evangelism and Representation
Mozilla’s community reaches around the globe, with diversity so great it’s an exciting to imagine the potential of volunteers empowered to share, speak and advocate for Mozilla’s mission. It makes a lot of sense to work on mechanisms for this type participation. Common hypothesis are that word of mouth marketing is an extremely valuable tool for promotion and that empowering community members with more skills and avenues to share their passion for Mozilla will help raise awareness of Mozilla and Firefox.
Firefox Friends a program that take advantage of the existing passion of the Mozilla community to make it easier for people to share their love of Mozilla and Firefox within their social networks. Firefox Friends is exploring the hypothesis that providing the community with a tool for collecting and sharing Firefox oriented content will increase awareness and growth of Firefox. To make it easier for community members to spread the word about Firefox and Firefox initiative,
Tech Speakers was a six week program combining group speaking practice and technical content development. A fantastic curriculum, combined with live mentorship opportunities is resulting in a growing base of high-quality volunteer speakers.
Mozilla serves users in markets all over the world. To deliver useful insights and research that will help product and functional teams be successful we’re seeing deep investment in Mozilla’s global community to bring a competitive edge.
Firefox OS Core Team Africa
With Fx OS launching in 21 African countries in 2015 , there is an opportunity to test a new approach to building new relationships and new communities of supporters/volunteers across the continent. A series of experiments. Goals have been to build out programs that to get new contributors involved in Firefox OS activities to increase awareness on the product and make an impact on product goals
By creating a launch playbook modeled after Firefox OS we will be able to create launch teams in target markets, this will result in a number of new users. Supporting local content leads we will be able to generate original content and learn from local communities in order to deliver and build a more effective localized product and content.
The Firefox OS team has embarked on many different initiatives and campaigns to bring Firefox OS to market without always having sufficient understanding and knowledge of the reality on the ground, due to a lack of local market data. This local market data is extremely difficult to obtain, let alone, update regularly if you’re not actually on the ground. Leveraging the Marketpulse tool, community regularly collects price and user data for Firefox OS phones in their local market and web stores providing this much needed data.
You can see there’s a lot going on, and that even within each of these projects multiple experiments are taking place. There’s a lot to be excited about in the coming months for participation at Mozilla. You can track the this and other Participation Team activity through our Heartbeat tool, or by reaching out to us directly. In the near future, we’ll surface more concrete examples of what we’re learning, and we expect, celebrating the new successes in participation at Mozilla.
We’re in Whistler next week, check out for Lucy’s post on what we’ll be up to there!
Congratulations to Saurabh Nair, who is the MDN Contributor of the Month for May 2015. He was selected from among the MDN contributors who received an MDN Star badge in May for significant contributions to MDN.
Saurabh has been contributing to MDN since 2011, and became more active in the last year. He was one of the participants at the Hack on MDN weekend in Berlin earlier this year. He is on the “spam watch” team, who look out for spam pages, deleting them and banning the spammers as soon as they appear. Since he lives in India, he can do this while MDN staff members in Europe and North America are sleeping.
Here is an interview with Saurabh, conducted via email:
When and how did you get started contributing to MDN?
I started referring to MDN docs in 2011 when I started my web development career. Whenever I found typos or errors, I used to correct them. I would also add links where more clarification was required and such. But it was only in 2014 that I began to spend more time on MDN, still mostly for my own learning, but doing editorial reviews, etc. Around that time I got involved with the MDN community also, which is a really nice bunch of people.
The first full article I wrote on MDN was on a new CSS property called will-change, under guidance from Jean-Yves Perrier. Writing it was a great learning experience and finishing it was gratifying. I’ve written a couple other full articles since then and looking forward to write more. Also, it fills me with pride every time I see one of the articles I wrote translated by someone I don’t know to some language I can’t read. Seriously, I feel like Shakespeare right about then.
How does what you do on MDN affect other parts of your life, or vice versa?
I’m a web developer by profession, and very interested in the happenings around web technologies. Correctness and clarity are very much stressed at MDN. For instance, I once witnessed a discussion on the #mdn IRC channel about whether to use the word “updated” or “overwritten” in an article. The difference was subtle in the case, but it still mattered, and was valued and debated. I know for a fact that working on MDN has improved my knowledge and in turn improved the quality of my office work. Also I got to meet a number of great people through MDN, and that has positively affected my personal life too.
And in reverse, being a professional web developer has made it kind of easy and natural for me to work on related things on MDN.
What advice do you have for new contributors on MDN?
Everything you do is valued, whether it is tagging articles, doing reviews, writing, or just about anything. If you like technical writing and learning about new web technologies, helping with MDN is going to be a really rewarding experience.
The Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) is one of the most frequently used resources for web developers for all things documentation and code. This year we’re making the rich content on MDN available to even more people. We’re developing beginning learning materials as well as a template (which we’re calling “Content Kits”) to make preparing presentations on web topics much easier.
As part of this effort, we also launched the MDN Fellowship last quarter. This is a 7-week pilot contribution program for advanced web developers to expand their expertise through curriculum development on MDN. MDN Fellows are experts that will continue to grow their skills and impact by teaching others about web technologies. Specifically, the Fellows will be developing Content Kits, a collection of resources about specific topics related to web development to empower technical topic presenters.
After a lengthy process where we solicited applications and involved reviewers from across Mozilla, we’re delighted to announce our inaugural MDN Fellowship Fellows! Here they are in their own words – feel free to Tweet them a congratulations!
I’ve been following Service Workers’ journey since before it was cool as a web developer and longtime contributor to Mozilla. Known as “Flaki” in the community, I’ve been evangelizing new technologies to make the Open Web a first-class citizen. As Service Workers seemingly play a key role in this battle, there is no better place to do this than at Mozilla, the most adamant proponent of the Open Web. During my Fellowship I hope to further previous work on MDN’s offline support, while helping in the explorations into Firefox OS’s reimagined new architecture.
I’m a front-end developer from Australia, making websites since 1998 primarily for the Queensland Government. Lots of forms, templates and QA. I also mentor front-end web development students at Thinkful. I got interested in automated quality control using custom stylesheets and scripts in Opera, then YUItest, then inspired by ThoughtWorks developers on a project when they introduced selenium and automated acceptance tests in the browser. I’m excited to be helping Test The Web Forward as an opportunity to both learn and share. Because everything runs off browser. Love the latest front-end frameworks? They don’t exist without web standards. I cannot sufficiently appreciate the work so many people have done creating a solid foundation for everything we (as web developers) often take for granted. I am really glad to have this chance to give back!
I’m a Web Developer from India focused on building the Web Performance platform at Flipkart, one of Asia’s leading e-commerce sites. I am also responsible for advocating front-end engineering best practises, developing tools that help identify performance bottlenecks, and analyzing metrics. I am an Open Source contributor with a deep research background in front-end performance and am happy to be a part of the MDN Fellowship program to contribute to MDN’s Web App Performance curriculum.
My background is in contemporary sculpture, aquarium exhibit design, marketing, animation, and web development: in short, it is all over the place But the central guiding principle behind my work is to find the middle ground between the technical and creative, and explore it to see what emerges. I am a Senior Web Developer at Cubic, a Tulsa, Oklahoma-based creative branding agency where I help create rich experiences for tourism and destinations. I applied for the MDN Fellowship because I’m passionate about the open web and inspired by the possibilities of using 3D for new, richer experiences online with the potential reach that WebGL can have. I really enjoy helping to build the creative coding community and hope to make it even easier for more people to get involved with my own passion of exploring creative code.
For 2015, one of Mozilla’s primary goals is to grow Firefox. In order to achieve the growth we are looking for we looked closely at all of our programs and channels to identify opportunities. We focused on how we can better leverage our most powerful differentiator; our global community of contributors, supporters and users. We quickly realized that Firefox Affiliates was limiting our community’s potential. We needed a program that allowed people to participate in spreading the word in a way that aligns with how people share on the Web today.
Firefox Affiliates in its current form was outdated. It was focused on banner creation that supporters could post to their sites/blogs to spread the word about Mozilla and it wasn’t built to be available on mobile. Today, the majority of Web users are consumers of content vs creators of content and a large percentage of people are consuming this content on a mobile device. These are two of the reasons why social media engagement took off so quickly. Sharing content is a simple action that anyone can take without having to go through the process of actually creating content to share and it’s easily accessible on a mobile device.
Some of the biggest brands in technology, retail and nonprofit industries are having huge success with word of mouth marketing programs all focused on making it really simple for fans, contributors and supporters to share content the way people consume it on the Web today.
We decided that our referral program needed to better reflect how people engage with content today. We did extensive research, talked to a number of companies, followed by a very thorough RFP process to learn more about word of mouth marketing programs and eventually select a partner. Volunteer contributors helped by demoing the top potential partners and providing feedback.
Once we dug in, we knew we were on the right track as our own research showed that the more people know about why we do what we do, the happier they are about using Firefox. And the happier users are about using Firefox the more inclined they are to tell other people and the more they know about us, the more they love us.
There is also industry research confirming the power of referral marketing:
- One third of sales can be attributed to word of mouth, it amplifies paid media
- Third party conversations and recommendations are responsible for 13-20% of consumer purchases
- A single word of mouth impressions accounts for 5 times more sales than a single paid media impression
- 74% of Internet users rely on social media to guide their day to day decisions
- Impact of an online referral is more immediate than any other type of promotion
Source: 2014 WOMMA Study
The data reinforces our need to introduce a new program that would arm our community with:
- Content! News & updates around Firefox & Mozilla
- Tools! To help amplify those messages and conversations around Firefox & Mozilla
This is how Firefox Friends was born! Firefox Friends is our new social sharing program that offers a fresher, better way to show your support for Firefox and all things Mozilla.
With Firefox Friends, you’re at the forefront of our mission, sharing our latest news and announcements with the world. And much like Affiliates, you’re able to track your impact (but with even more stats & data) and get rewarded along the way! Plus Firefox Friends is available on mobile, so its really easy to participate from wherever you are.
It’s really easy to get started with Firefox Friends. Just go to friends.mozilla.org and sign up. You’ll be asked to give your email and create a password. We ask for the password just so you can keep track of your activities and see the impact you’re making along the way. Plus, this way we can recognize you for the great work you’re doing.
We need everyone’s help to ensure we are hitting our goals and growing the number of long-term relationships we hold. That is the key to our success. Firefox Friends will help us foster these long term relationships.
Sign up with Firefox Friends today. (friends.mozilla.org)
If you’re interested in contributing to Firefox Friends, please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org.
Timeline & details for phasing out Firefox Affiliates:
With the upcoming release of Firefox 38, we are pleased to welcome the 54 developers who contributed their first code change to Firefox in this release, 47 of whom were brand new volunteers! Please join us in thanking each of these diligent and enthusiastic individuals, and take a look at their contributions:
The following is a lightly-edited interview with Julien, conducted via email.
When and how did you get started contributing to MDN?
When? During Spring in 2013 when I was studying in Edinburgh, where I had some time for my personal projects.
How? I had already done a translation project with a French association called Framasoft (which closely related to Mozilla in terms of community here in France) and from one pad to another I ended up translating a small piece of article for mozilla-fr (mostly thanks to Goofy who was part of both projects). One thing leading to another, I discovered IRC, the nebula of Mozilla projects, and then MDN. After some edits, I discovered that the article about the <img> HTML tag was not available in French, so I localized it and that was it
How does what you do on MDN affect other parts of your life, or vice versa?
Regarding the time I spend, I tend to contribute during evenings, almost every day (instead of watching TV 😉 ) Of course, it doesn’t have to be every day! One should just find the rythm he/she is comfortable with and go with this.
And technically, MDN is affecting me with travels recently From Paris, to Berlin [for the Hack-on-MDN weekend] and Vancouver [for the Whistler work week], this is very exciting to meet people around MDN, whether they are employees or contributors and I’m very lucky to have these opportunities.
What advice do you have for new contributors on MDN?
Do hang out on IRC and ask questions [in the #mdn channel]. Do send an e-mail on the dev-mdc mailing list saying who you are and where you’d like to contribute. There are many people waiting to help you. If you prefer Twitter, go for it.
Contributing to MDN (and to Mozilla in general) can be a bit confusing at the beginning since there is a lot of stuff going on: don’t worry about that!
The MDN team is very helpful and looking forward to helping you See you soon on #mdn
If you don’t know where to start, you can contribute to the Learning Area or localize the glossary in your language or simply go to the Getting Started guide.