My first day at Mozilla was in Tokyo in January of 2006.
I was working for a search engine startup but was looking for a new opportunity as I wasn’t optimistic about that startup’s viability.
Joi Ito, who gave me the opportunity to work at that startup, contacted me early in 2006 (right after the Firefox 1.5 release) to say that, “The Mozilla guys are in Tokyo. Can you join me in some meetings with them?”
That turned out to be Chris Beard, Paul Kim and John Lilly who were in Tokyo for the first time. I was thrown into meetings and strategy sessions around starting the Tokyo office. I remember being asked at the end of that week, (by who I forget, maybe it was Joi?) “So, what do you think? Are you going to join us?”
Of course I did.
My first year at Mozilla was very intense as John worked closely with the team in Tokyo to get us up to speed and prepared for growth. I think John had 3-4 trips to Tokyo that year alone. It was a very exciting time and I learned so much about Mozilla and open source and the power of our community from John directly.
In 2007, I worked with John over multiple trips to scout out our situation in China. We ultimately hired Li Gong to lead the China effort and open our office in Beijing.
As Mozilla grew, and I changed roles to join the Evangelism team, and moved my focus from Japan to the rest of Asia, I spent less time working with John directly, but his influence on my work and perspective is ever-present.
John is not leaving Mozilla per se, although he won’t be around the office day-to-day anymore. As he joins Mozilla’s Board of Directors, his influence and guidance will continue.
John, thank you so much for all that you have given to Mozilla and to all of us.
I’ll close with a few photos from ‘back in the day’ from the archives.