Brrrlin 2020: a SUMO journal from All Hands

Hello, SUMO Nation!

Berlin 2020 has been my first All Hands and I am still experiencing the excitement the whole week gave me.

Contributors picture

The intensity an event of this scale is able to build is slightly overwhelming (I suppose all the introverts reading this can easily get me), but the gratification and insights everyone of us has taken home are priceless.

The week started last Monday, on January 27th, when everyone landed in Berlin from all over the world. An amazing group of contributors, plus every colleague I had always only seen on a small screen, was there, in front of me, flesh and bones. I was both excited and scared by the number of people that suddenly were inhabiting the corridors of our conference/dorm/workspace.

The schedule for the SUMO team and SUMO contributors was a little tight, but we managed to make it work: Kiki and I decided to share our meetings between the days and I am happy about how we balanced the work/life energy.

On Tuesday we opened the week by having a conversation over the past, the current state and the future of SUMO. The community meeting was a really good way to break the ice, the whole SUMO team was there and gave updates from the leadership, products, as well as the platform team.  This meeting was necessary also to lay down the foundations for the priorities of the week and develop an open conversation.

On Wednesday, Kiki and I were fully in the game. We decided to have two parallel sessions: one regarding the Forum and Social support and one focusing on the KB localization. The smaller groups were both really vibrant and lively. We highlighted pain points, things that are working and issues that we as community managers could focus more on at this time. In the afternoon, we had a face to face meeting between the community and the Respond Tool team. It was a feedback-based discussion on features and bugs.

Thursday was ON FIRE. In the morning we had the pleasure to host Vesta Zare, the Product Manager of Fenix, and we had a session focusing on Firefox Preview and its next steps. Vesta was thrilled to meet the SUMO community, excited to share information, and happy to answer questions. After the session, we had a 2-hour-long brainstorming workshop organized by Kiki and me for the community to help us build a priority pipeline for the Community plan we have been working on in the last few months. The session was long but incredibly helpful and everyone who participated was active and rich in insights. The day was still running at a fast pace and the platform team had an Ask-Me-Anything session with the contributors. Madalina and Tasos were great and they both set real expectations while leaving the community open doors to get involved.

On Friday the community members were free to follow their own schedule, while the SUMO team had the last meetings to run up to. The week was closing up with one of the most incredible parties I have ever experienced, and that was a great opportunity to finally collect the last feedback and friendly connections we lost along the way of this really busy week.

Here is a recollection of the pain points we got from the meetings with contributors:

  • On-boarding new contributors: retainment is low for many reasons (time, skillset, etc.)
  • Contributors’ tools, first and foremost, Kitsune, need attention.
  • The bus factor is still very much real.
  • The community needs Forum, Social and Respond Tool analyze:
    • Which questions are being skipped and not answered?
    • Device coverage from contributors.
  • What about the non-EN locales on the community events?
  • Localization quality and integrity are at risk.
  • Language level of the KB is too technical and does not reach every audience.

We have also highlighted the many successes that we have from last year:

  • The add-on apocalypse
  • The 7 SUMO Sprints (Fx 65-71)
  • The 36 community meetings
  • More than 300 articles localized in every language
  • One cool addons (SUMO Live Helper) (Thanks to Jhonatas, Wesley, and Danny!)
  • The Respond tool campaign

As you’ve probably heard before, we’re currently working with an external agency called Context Partners on the community strategy project. The result from that collaboration is a set of recommendations on 3 areas that we managed to discuss during the all hands.


Obviously, we wouldn’t be able to do all of them, so we need your help.

Which recommendation do you believe would provide the greatest benefit to the SUMO community? 

Is there a recommendation you would make that is missing from this list?

Your input would be very valuable for us since the community is all about you. We will collect all of your feedback with us to be discussed in our final meeting with the Context Partner team in Toronto in mid-February. We’ll appreciate any additional feedback that we can gather before the end of next week (02/14/2020).

Please read carefully and think about the questions above. Kiki and I have opened a Discourse post and Contributor Forum thread to collect feedbacks on this. You can also reach out directly to us with your questions or feedbacks.

I feel lucky to be part of this amazing community and to work alongside passionate and lively people I can look up to everyday. Remember that SUMO is made by you and you should be proud to identify yourself as part of this incredible group of people who honestly enjoy helping others.

As a celebration of the All Hands and the SUMO community, I would like to share the poem that Seburo kindly shared with us:

It is now over six months since Mozilla convened last,
and All Hands is now coming up so fast.
From whatever country, nation or state they currently be in,
Many MoCo and MoFo staff, interns and contributors are converging on Berlin.
Twenty Nineteen was a busy year,
Much is going on with Firefox Voice, so I hear.
The new Fenix is closer to release,
the GeckoView team’s efforts will not cease.
MoFo is riding high after an amazing and emotional MozFest,
For advice on how to make the web better, they are the best.
I hope that the gift guide was well read,
Next up is putting concerns about AI to bed…?
Please don’t forget contributors who are supporting the mission from wide and far,
Writing code, building communities and looking to Mozilla’s north star.
The SUMO team worked very hard during the add-on apocalypse,
And will not stop helping users with useful advice and tips.
I guess I should end with an attempt at a witty one liner.
So here it is.
For one week in January 2020,
Mozillianer sind Berliner.

Thank you for being part of SUMO,

See you soon!


Introducing Joel Johnson / JR (Rina’s Maternity cover)

Hello everyone,

Please say hi to Joel Johnson who’s going to cover Rina Tambo Jensen while she’s away for her parental leave for the next 6 months. JR has an extensive background in starting and setting up support teams across different companies. We’re so excited to have him on our team.

Here is a short introduction from JR:

Hello Everyone! My Name is JoelRodney Johnson and I go by JR. I am from Dallas, Texas and have lived most of my life there. I spent several years in San Fransisco where I got started in Support and started a career in Tech. My guilty pleasure is reading Sci-Fi/Fantasy novels and if you were to take a look at my audible account you might be surprised at the amount of books I have in my library. I am so happy to be joining the Mozilla team as the Product Support Manager overseeing customer service for Mozilla products. I look forward to an exciting future here in Support.

Please join us to welcome him!

Updates on Firefox Private Network

Hi SUMO Community,

Following up on our previous announcement about Firefox Private Network, today marks another milestone for Firefox. We are so excited to expand Firefox Private Network into two different offerings.

Browser-level protection (Extension for any desktop running the Firefox browser)

We are continuing our beta testing of the Firefox Private Network extension that we released earlier this year. The extension hides your Firefox browsing activity and location. This prevents eavesdroppers on public Wi-Fi from spying on the actions you take online by masking your IP address and routing your traffic through our partner’s secure servers. It also protects you from internet service providers collecting or selling data on your browsing activity. And it hides your locations from websites and data collectors that profile you to target ads.

There will be no changes for test pilots who have already started using the extension by logging in with their Firefox account. For those who are not yet using the extension, we invite you to join the Test Pilot program and try it out. When you sign up or log in with a Firefox account and become one of our beta testers, you’ll get 12 hours of protected browsing for free this month. We are continuing to explore the best way to deliver browser-level protection to our users and we welcome your feedback and input each step of the way.

Get extra security by using full-device protection (Windows 10)

If you are looking for unlimited private internet connection that goes beyond the Firefox browser, we are also offering full-device protection with Firefox Private Network. Firefox Private Network full-device protection is a device-level VPN that provides an encrypted tunnel to the web from any software or app on your Windows 10 device.That means your connection is secure and private regardless of which browser or application you are using.

Private Network’s full-device protection is currently available for beta testers in the United States with Windows 10 devices, but it will be available on other platforms soon. You can join the waitlist for the VPN beta here. Selected users will receive an invitation to subscribe for 4.99 USD per month with a U.S. credit card during the beta period.

How can I help as a SUMO contributor?

For the SUMO community, it’s important to understand that we now have two separate products for both services in the Kitsune platform. In addition to that, we also offer another level of support for the paying customers of the Firefox Private Network device-level protection that will be delivered through a ticketing system called Zendesk. As such, both the forums and also Zendesk will be managed by our designated staff member, Brady. However, as with the previous beta phase, we will also welcome any help you may provide for the users in the forum. We are also working on an escalation process from the community to the designated staff member, so expect more updates on that.

We are enthusiastic about this new opportunity and hope that you’ll support us along the way. To get the best out of Firefox experience, sign up for a Firefox Account and join our fight to keep the internet open and accessible to all!

Introducing Bryce and Brady

Hello SUMO Community,

I’m thrilled to share this update with you today. Bryce and Brady have joined us last week and will be able to help out on Support for some of the new efforts Mozilla are working on towards creating a connected and integrated Firefox experience.

They are going to be involved with new products, but also they won’t forget to put extra effort in providing support on forums and as well as serving as an escalation point for hard to solve issues.

Here is a short introduction to Brady and Bryce:

Hi! My name is Brady, and I am one of the new members of the SUMO team. I am originally from Boise, Idaho and am currently going to school for a Computer Science degree at Boise State. In my free time, I’m normally playing video games, writing, drawing, or enjoying the Sawtooths. I will be providing support for Mozilla products and for the SUMO team.

Hello!  My name is Bryce, I was born and raised in San Diego and I reside in Boise, Idaho.  Growing up I spent a good portion of my life trying to be the best sponger(boogie boarder) and longboarder in North County San Diego.  While out in the ocean I had all sorts of run-ins with sea creatures; but nothing to scary. I am also an IN-N-Out fan, as you may find me sporting their merchandise with boardshorts and the such.   I am truly excited to be part of this amazing group of fun loving folks and I am looking forward to getting to know everyone.

Please welcome them warmly!

Community Management Update

Hello SUMO community,

I have a couple announcements for today. I’d like you all to welcome our two new community managers.

First off Kiki has officially joined the SUMO team as a community manager. Kiki has been filling in with Konstantina and Ruben on our social support activities. We had an opportunity to bring her onto the SUMO team full time starting last week. She will be transitioning out of her responsibilities at the Community Development Team and will be continuing her work on the social program as well as managing SUMO days going forward.

In addition, we have hired a new SUMO community manager to join the team. Please welcome Giulia Guizzardi to the SUMO team.

You can find her on the forums as gguizzardi. Below is a short introduction:

Hey everyone, my name is Giulia Guizzardi, and I will be working as a Support Community Manager for Mozilla. 

I am currently based in Berlin, but I was born and raised in the north-east of Italy. I studied Digital Communication in Italy and Finland, and worked for half a year in Poland.

My greatest passion is music, I love participating in festivals and concerts along with collecting records and listening to new releases all day long. Other than that, I am often online, playing video games (Firewatch at the moment) or scrolling Youtube/Reddit.

I am really excited for this opportunity and happy to work alongside the community!

Now that we have two new community managers we will work with Konstantina and Ruben to transition their work to Kiki and Giulia. We’re also kicking off work to create a community strategy which we will be seeking feedback for soon. In the meantime, please help me welcome Kiki and Giulia to the team.