After Mozilla’s announcement about the 2nd layoff round of this year the whole internet started wondering whether this is not the beginning of the end for them. That’s a valid question. How many roles summed those layoffs? A quarter? A third? Inevitably, people started choosing sides. Some believe that they deserve it, some think that they don’t and will recover, some others started digging into the issue.
I recently lectured articles about the internet giants growing bigger and bigger and their disputes with the authorities of the software markets. I also lectured, along the time, articles about former employees of those giants relating unpleasant or tough work experience. Some say that they promote elitism and have a specific policy of career path. Another widely discussed subject is the matter of privacy. If I spell privacy, no other word is needed. Many of us know about the privacy war. I don’t give names or links because I don’t want to give the impression of attacking someone, I am talking about ideas.
Mozilla is one of those giants. But it is a special one. It isn’t defined by any of the problems mentioned in the previous paragraph and has a culture of support and openness. They have a special program of mentoring people (volunteers) that want to contribute to the Mozilla products. Some of those were complete successes ending up in hiring them and turned out to be real talents. Speaking of culture, I am one of the beneficiaries. I work close to Mozilla and some of the first interactions with the community surprised me in a positive way. Many cultures don’t intentionally encourage asking questions. There’s a fear of asking dumb questions among people. Here, sometimes, you actually have to ask questions in order to find your way through. An you will get your kind answers that you can learn from. Among the people that helped me grow and inspired me trust is one of my managers, Dave Hunt, whom I want to give a special thanks.
One of the strongest points of Firefox is that they are actively working on improving browser privacy. While using it, I got a notification like “One of the social networks you’re using is tracking your activity on this site” with the option of blocking it. Wait wha… ?! They are going against the flow in many aspects, and they got this far. Isn’t that awesome? Try and do something opposite to what your “playmates” are doing and see what’s going to happen.
To make something clear: even if I work with Mozilla, nobody asked me to write something like this. As I said, I’ve read articles more about how they deserve this and about their questionable decisions, about laid-off employees but less about positive things that still stand out at this company. But hey, things don’t work like that, do they? I told myself that this is not fair and it’s just a side of the story. Well, I decided that this is a proper time for me to say the positive things.
I don’t argue, they are not perfect, otherwise wouldn’t be in this situation. But the things are changing, the internet is changing, and the world is changing. One of the books that influenced me is What Got You Here Won’t Get You There (by Marshall Goldsmith) that’s basically saying that each chapter of the development is different and needs to be treated in a different approach. Mozilla leaders are smart for the sole reason they got this far. I am sure they can turn this problem into an opportunity and get “back in the game” stronger.