Author Archives: Andrew

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Most of you know that I'm a SUMO (support.mozilla.org) contributor. I know that Mozilla is all about being open and certainly open to feedback. However, why should I still bother? It seems that the past few times, I've started a thread in the contributors forum and got a basic response. The suggestions, the feedback provided, seemed to be received but I don't think it's gone anywhere. No actions were made or taken after me suggesting items, all I received was a response that obviously doesn't satisfy or rectify the present issue. It seems to occur often that when something breaks, the "suggestion" from X period of time ago is fixed. Why not, take the feedback into account, see what can be done and then possibly work on it, instead of having X break which then a fix needs to be pushed out which resolves it.
I know by now, that teams are pressured, that there are set goals for each quarter and that they need to reach that goal. There doesn't seem to be any time for volunteers anymore, it's all about Mozilla. Why is is so hard nowadays to get something done?
Sure, I'm young, my feedback doesn't matter, and that's alright ;-)

I'm happy that there have been occasions where I do  get awesome responses, but why do I still bother when the response I'm wanting is lacked?

I'll show some examples below:

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/forums/social-media/710219

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/forums/contributors/710304

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/forums/contributors/710305

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/forums/contributors/709519

The level of care seems to be gone. I know that Mozilla has its priorities, but what can a single person like me do?

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With Brendan resigning from Mozilla, like many others, I have mixed emotions. It's tough to have the past haunt and chase you but trying to keep strong at the same time is hard. As a volunteer moderating the Facebook page, it was evident that we had many users complaining and very little supporters. Now that Brendan has resigned, everybody has all of a sudden come out from a shadow. Unexpectedly to say at the least, is that we've got users telling us that we were no longer protecting Freedom of speech and that rights are taken away. Where have these people been hiding?

I guess it's okay to speak out about how we truly feel when somebody resigns over a controversial topic but not to speak out during the controversy? We should ALWAYS speak out. Freedom of Speech.

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It's been a tough time for Mozilla, even more for Brendan Eich as he was promoted the the CEO position.

My thoughts as a volunteer on this issue of "actions speaking louder than words" and "diversity" is that we all make mistakes and we choose our own route in our life. We choose to pursue and take different routes in our lives so we can advance and do better for the world through our own beliefs. We are all different, we are all human and we will always make mistakes.

It is tough being a leader, it's not easy. When the past haunts you and the present is now a disaster you now have to improvise. The past may be an issue and will still be an issue for you before you really can't flee from what you have done. There are things that I've done that I'm ashamed of and it still bites me in the back eventually. With Brendan and his decision to donate to Proposition 8, I'm not going to say that I agree with his decision nor will I say I disagree with it since my beliefs are in a grey area and I don't want to stir up controversy for myself.

Taking the role of being means that we have to put everything aside and listen to everybody and take everything into account and I know Brendan has always done that. Putting users first and always thinking of everybody who makes a difference for Mozilla/ Even though I don't know Brendan personally, I know from a leadership point of view that the start for him will be a bumpy ride but it will get better but there is a line but when that line breaks, Mozilla breaks - therefore unforeseen action will have to be taken but let's hope that we don't reach that point.

Has contributing to Mozilla changed because Brendan has taken control so far? Nope. Has what I done for our users changed? Yes. And why? I work on SUMO and on social media. Questions and comments definitely come in because of what Brendan has done in the past. How have we been responding? We respond naturally to the issue and it's been an interesting read because I wanted to know more about this population.

We have been looking at Brendan from our own views and our beliefs that are influenced by the public. Most of the people in the world are raised up believing on the fact that marriage must be between one man + one women. I'm not here to say that's not true or anything but this is what most of us have been raised up upon. We are raised believing that we have to marry the opposite gender when we were young until we matured and developed that maybe that's not the road that we can want to take. We've always been teased about when we're going to be dating the person of the opposite gender and where they're going to be taken home to meet. While we're not explicitly taught in schools that marriage has to be between a guy and a girl it is somewhat implied through the literature that is read, books we read involve a guy having feelings or being in a relationship with a girl. We never read literature involving 2 same-sex individuals having feelings for each other. It just doesn't happen. Although we are living in a vast, vibrant and changing world, there are communities and people who have their own beliefs and takes on same-sex relationships. However, why are we hating on those that oppose same-sex marriage as to those who are for same-sex marriage? The hate and love between those 2 groups are unbalanced but why is that?

What I've seen so far because of something Brendan has done is impeccable but who can we blame? There are calls for Brendan to resign or to set forth an apology. However, is that necessary? What does an apology do? An apology these days have ran out and lost its meaning. We apologize when we don't even have to at times that it's become over exaggerated and over used for forgiveness but do we ever mean our sorry? Do we apologize just because we have to? Does it actually make us feel better? I feel that yes, maybe an apology from Brendan on his blog will be nice but won't we just go through the same backlash again? We will of course have to face the public's other sided view as always and as it always is, if we do what the people want and they don't like it, are we going to have to fight till they're happy when nobody really cares about the issue anymore? I've seen people moving to Chrome as they say or other browsers as they claim. However, inside every company there is always bound to be that person that is against something and for something that strikes up controversy. They're just at the lower level of the spectrum, they'll face the same dreaded pressure Brendan faced if their actions matched up with Brendan's and the comments would almost obviously be the same.

Like I said earlier, I'm not here to take a side on this topic but to think deeply as to why we act this way and what made us act this way. We have our reasons for what we've done and for how our brain works. While each and every person on this living planet may not be happy with their lives and do not cherish it, we should, and to its greatest extent. Best wishes!

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Last week has been a very rough, tough and dramatic week. A really close friend of mine lost an immediate family member causing him to miss out at school. I've been helping and coping with him but not that very much. I'm certainly confused on the direction I should take and go with this as it's the first time something like this has happened to me. I'm not reaching out to your awesome folks to give me direction on what to do.

Saturday is always work day for me, and work hasn't been smooth since I've been hired, slip ups, doing things incorrectly leading me to doing all the other things people don't really do. Being out in the real workforce is just hard as open communication/ verbal communication wasn't actually that easy and things weren't getting around effectively even in a small work force. Maybe it's time for me to look for a new job as this one is no longer working out for me.

This week however was a big week and a not so great week for Mozilla but we still need to roll along and put the past behind us and look into the future.

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I'm sure that all of us know the different between a need and a want but do we know the difference between a have to and want to? It sounds basic and easy to comprehend but there's an analogy behind it.

With a want and a have to doing, there's a line that can't be crossed, you need to watch your step. I am a sumo contributor, it's not a necessity for me to contribute and neither is it for any of us to contribute if we don't have to because the opportunity to leave Mozilla to advance your life and career is available. I enjoy helping users, who come to sumo with an issue they have. Our users may overreact at times but most of the time, they may turn out to be friendly and nice people when we resolve their issue.

I want to... I need to... What do I want and what do I need? A want is something that I prefer to have, prefer to choose but a have is something that is a necessity, something that must be part of our daily life. There are times where you need to be lightened in order to know if what you are doing is necessary and if it's beneficial. An encounter I had with a school mate of mine had me thinking of wants and haves because of this argument I had with them. When requested to do something it's most of the time a want to complete as asked because we were just requested, we have the right to say no. Now let's think of it being something you had to do and you said no, would this not give a bad impression and leave a mark of yourself upon that requester? We need to think clearly before we react, we can always ask if something that they want us to do or if it's something we have to do. Have things cleared up for us makes assignments and other things easier to complete. We mustn't be so stubborn because being stubborn will not get us anywhere in life, we also need to remember to keep an open mind at all times.

Now, let's remember to keep an open mind and remember to think if something is a want to or if it's a have to!

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Love me or hate me.. What I have to say is what I have to say.
Last week, I took time out to watch the video of the two town halls.

The first thing I want to touch base on is the on the general town hall where I asked a question. The question I asked was "Support plays an important role when it comes down to users. How can we make users and others across Mozilla more aware of the support team?". Jay responded to this (summarized) saying "SUMO plays 2 key roles... [the first key role] is supporting our users in the field and helping them solve problems, [where the second key role] can be exciting too, it's that our support team is on the front lines of learning's that are coming back feeding that into the product groups". With that said, Jay continue to say "In terms of getting SUMO and Support more visibility and recognition, there is a few ways to do it, one team that did a great job about this was the User research team. [They were able to] get out and explain what they do, why it matters and why you may need help from them. More blogging, more brownbags, more communication, ask your peers about what's worked. I don't have a great canned solution..."
Many contributors/ volunteers may believe that there are more key roles that SUMO is playing, however volunteers are not aware of what is being talked about and/ or discussed about in the back. I believe we should be more open and that volunteers should be communicated with more. There is for sure a challenge with getting some of the high-level volunteers who do not use IRC to communicate or through Vidyo/ dial in to communicate with the rest of the staff/ other volunteers. I understand it is hard to accommodate for each and every individual's needs and preference(s) for communication. With these challenges, open communication to volunteers is still key and crucial.

The support site (SUpport.MOzilla.org) is mainly volunteer driven and ran. Staff do play a more important role in keeping brand and volunteers together. Unfortunately volunteer are rarely recognized for their work, that being said, there have been several attempts by the staff to do so. The effort placed in by the staff is important and crucial and it counts but some volunteers may seek for or may want for more recognition. Recognition does not always have to necessarily mean public recognition. Volunteers come and go all the time as they eventually burn themselves out.
A measurable top line goal for this year (2014) is to increase active contributors to Mozilla’s target initiatives by 10x, with “Active contributor” being defined as someone who has contributed measurable impact to a top line goal. How is SUMO staff and volunteers impacting the top line goal if communication, recognition and visibility isn't working properly or isn't needed. Many SUMO volunteers answer a ton of questions daily on the support forum, help keep articles updated or report issues with articles/ questions. They rarely get anything in return. Now, I'm not saying that we should be expecting anything in return but in terms of the learning I've been through on leadership. It takes tremendous work to be a great leader. Our leaders at SUMO are great! However, they could step it up a notch as there are many factors to being a leader and some aren't being shown. But if I take for example Mitchell at the Directory Tile Town Hall, she wasn't able to give a crisp and clear yes or no answer which she admitted that she can't as a leader, but she was able to acknowledge that fact that we're are almost there. This is key, this is golden. Having the ability to admit and speak really takes guts. Mitchell was also able to highlight many things to being a leader and to having great success.
The key to having great success is listening, the staff at SUMO definitely listens but there are points where issues are asked to be taken offline when an issue is presented in a video meeting. This discourages volunteers to ask more questions in the future as they feel that they will be shut down again. In my opinion, if there is a time set for staff to take time out to report to each other and the volunteers (community) through video, why should topics be taken offline where a response takes a whole lot longer to receive. The contributor may want a crisp and clear answer and it doesn't mean it has to be right away but there should be a discussion happening when volunteers are given the opportunity to ask their question(s) to their peers - it shouldn't be about, identifying the flaws, how it doesn't work, that there's this 1% chance of making it work. This is time set aside to discuss and talk, not time to wave and get through a few things and to be done with.

At this moment, there have been some controversy in regards to directory tiles. Some say that if it doesn't work well for our users in the end, we won't deliver it. However as Mitchell pointed out, "we are almost there". It takes skills to admit that. Mitchell is somebody we can look up to. With all the work, dedication and enthusiasm placed in to announce this (placing ads in the directory tiles) to all of Mozilla means/ shows that it has gone through many phases. To in the end say we won't deliver it, will definitely show to everybody that nobody did their job well enough at the planning table and nobody took into account the end result. Mozilla is full of talented, intelligent, bright and hard working people. We should be able to be more open when communicating, we shouldn't be afraid of retaliation when we speak out about the issues that are present. The issues presented shouldn't be avoided neither should it shut the person up. An alternative solution shouldn't be placed in either. I feel that we should also be more clear and direct because I for example am somebody who is clear and direct. I prefer not to use words and talk in a way where people will ask for re-clarification, we should just be straight forward and just come out with what we have to say using common sense when communicating and talking.

Lastly, I just want to speak briefly on Yammer since I included a lot about open communication. I recently joined Yammer thanks for Mardi Douglass who is gathering all summit attendees to reconnect. It's been 4 months since the summit, had Yammer been introduced right after or during the summit to increase participation, communication would be more broad and open. Yammer is full of information that is insightful. Yammer isn't available to the public which resembles mana.mozilla.org which is a staff/employees only wiki. Obviously there are things that volunteers can't be allowed to know but is what is all on mana.mozilla.org not allowed to be seen by volunteers? If Mozilla committed to being open why are there things to hide? There are the aspects of no spam in private protected areas and many other reasons.

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The past few days have been days of realization and life changing days for me. There are things that I finally realize about myself and how I've been forcing a lot of things upon myself. Yesterday, I've stumbled across a video posted on Facebook shared by a fellow Mozillian. That video is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBjl7yqLWOw

This video helped me gather all my thoughts together and to finally realize what I've been through and how I've been forcing a lot of things upon myself especially happiness. I did not realize that this black dog (depression) was really affecting me as I kept telling myself: "this is who you are, this is what makes you different". I told myself that to keep myself enthusiastic and to keep myself up. However, I finally realize that it was depression that was causing that. I was always over thinking and because I kept over thinking, I lose sleep at time. As many of you know, I am very very young and I've still got a long way ahead for me and my life. With the leadership classes I've had over the past 2 to 3 years, I've come to cope and to forget about how I stood out to be different from everybody else. I've come to learn that life is hard and there are things that drag you down but it shouldn't affect how you life your daily life. Leadership has been a great tool for me to realize my potential and what I can bring to the world. Many great leaders suffer from many types of mental and physical issues. I like to call myself a great leader because I have grown from a nobody to somebody. Volunteering has also made an impact on me, as volunteering made me realize what was right for me and what was wrong for me, it also had me realize what more I can bring out of myself. With leadership, I was able to realize all the potential I had in myself. Contributing to Mozilla was one, Mozilla helped me realize what I had inside me and how I could use my knowledge and skills to benefit others and to benefit myself.

Comparing depression with a black dog isn't that great of an analogy. It isn't a great metaphor, however this it's the message and what's inside the video that counts. All this forcing I've been doing to myself isn't healthy. Forcing yourself to be more happy is just hard. It's something I've been doing to myself for years. This video has made me realize that when times were the worst for me, depression was hitting me. I avoided to tell myself that I had depression because at that time, I was without leadership, I did not have the teachings of being a leader and to realize what I had inside me. It was really really tough, when somebody says: 'hey, why do you look depressed?", I usually just ignored that person because I saw them as somebody who was just teasing and being mean but it was just the truth that I couldn't accept and yet I didn't have the mindset to react to at that time.
Now you're probably wondering why didn't I just keep all these thoughts to myself but instead I had to write a blog post on and about it. I want share what I've been through at this very young age and my experience. Writing this blog post also helps me express how I am feeling inside because I have very few people I can express how I feel to, I have very people I can look up to and I just can't keep all this inside myself.

Thanks for reading :)

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Blog post to come soon: "Top Line Goals? Recognition? Shut down? Directory Tiles? Yammer?"
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Hi all!

Being part of SUMO at Mozilla makes a significant impact! If you have some free time I recommend you to read the latest blog post made by Rosana Ardila:

https://blog.mozilla.org/sumo/2014/01/03/community-growth-in-2013-were-ready-for-2014/

2013 was a great year! It was intense along with the launches of Firefox OS and SUMO providing front end support to the users. Join us to help make 2014 bigger and better!

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We at Mozilla are a global community connected by a common cause. That's the logic and is straight forward right? Well, it happens in daily life and obviously it can be felt and seen over IRC as some are responded to and some aren't. We have our ups and downs in daily life but we judge each other based on our first impression all the time and based off of physical appearance. We immediately jump to conclusions and to what we feel after meeting that person and that could've been a positive or a negative experience. Now, when we are to interact with those on projects or in groups, we have second thoughts and start doubting that person's ability to work. However, if we flashback to the first impression we made, what could we have done different? Were you treating the other individual rudely? Or was the other individual treating you rudely? This creates the immediate first impression and then we start treating that person the way we were treated. And we continue to do that in daily life. However, if we change our act and treat that person with dignity and respect even though they came off as a rude and grumpy person in the first place. We never knew if that person had a bad day or if that person had some serious issues that was stuck to them and needed to be resolved. In all's end, if we treat people the way we want to be treated, we could change the world and obviously make the world a better place to live and work in. There should be no conflicts between individuals because of race, ethnicity or anything. However, there are people that don't understand the "treat people the way you want to be treated" philosophy because just recently I asked a fellow classmate of mine to help me do something as we are doing this as a class for a Christmas party that is planned for the surrounding communities and they refused. I was partially left in and charge and to lead. In the end, I asked them why they didn't do what I asked, and the response I received? "I'm not a slave". NOW, you make the call, "treat people the way you want to be treated?" or "give them a second chance?"

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As many of you may know, I'm actually pretty young. I'm a volunteer and not a staff member. I recently found work at my local Wendy's and then the proceeding week I was called for an over the phone interview by the library. In Alberta, the minimum wage is $9.95 per hour and that's what I'm being paid at Wendy's right now. The rate offered by the library was $11.44 per hour. I kindly told the library then I found other opportunities. Now, I bet you're wondering why I turned the offer down and how does this blog post relate to Mozilla but I'll talk about that later. I want to compare what experience and work I have already gained and will gain more when working with Wendy's versus working a the local library. In my opinion, the customer is always placed first and obviously at the library people leave and go, there's nobody there to greet you unless you have an issue. But, you come to Wendy's with one purpose and that's to purchase food. I keep thinking if the decision I made was right, I can't be sure that I made the right decision but all I would be doing at the library would be shelving books. At Wendy's, I gain more experience and insight with the outside world by seeing the different types of customers there are, preparing orders and cleaning. With all these things, I can use it at another job and possibly even at home. With the main job at the library;shelving books, I lack the reading out books. I would've done a bad job as well and I wouldn't have learned any life skills. Now, this all relates with me still being in school and taking the leadership class that is available. The actual name for the program is Human and Social Services and really, a lot of students when asked about why they don't take leadership, they ask "what's so good about it?" or "who needs it?". In my opinion, contributing to Mozilla is all about leadership and taking the torch!

Leadership, when you first think of it, they don't teach you life lessons but only teach you how to lead but I've now gotten to understand leadership in a different perspective. Leadership isn't just about how to lead but it's really about public speaking, taking risks, building community, volunteering, mentoring and working in groups on projects. And you're wondering why I think differently and why I may have a very different perspective.
With public speaking, you can speak loudly and freely at Wendy's but obviously there is no harassment permitted. At the library, it's obviously a quiet place and you have to keep it down. I'm somewhat a loud person at times. With taking risks, there isn't much risk involved at the library but at Wendy's, you face the risk or burning yourself, taking an incorrect order or even mishandling the change for somebody. How does this tie back to Mozilla? Well, I took the risk to facilitate the "What does Mozillian mean?" session at the summit. With the other key points in leadership, building community, mentoring and working in groups on projects. You need a strong community in order to mentor each other and to cooperate effectively on projects. This relates to Wendy's as I'm the new guy and I obviously am in training, with the library, I don't feel that I can express myself in a quiet environment and place. Also, if I was to be mentored (trained) to work in the library, it would have to be out of the visitors eye because you don't want to annoy the visitor. So, this is why I believe I made the right decision to choosing to work at Wendy's. Now, to tie this all back to Mozilla, we are a global community that mentors each other and we work on projects all the time! So this is why leadership exists in Mozilla even when you don't think there is any leadership.

Now, in the end, really - how does this tie all the way back to Mozilla? My key area of contribution to is SUMO (Support), and with the community that exists there, I'm happy but not extremely happy because I know it is possible for it to be better. I gained insight through SUMO about Firefox, was made more aware of Firefox for Android and am helping with Firefox OS questions. I gained experiencing in the browser field and the technology field and I was more aware of the tools Mozilla has and how it is better than other browsers! The most important thing is that SUMO has mentors and I am one too now, but when I got started, I was happy to be in a place where everybody was so welcoming and friendly. I can say that SUMO isn't as fun filled as it was but the excitement still exists. I know that SUMO can do better and I believe it has to do better in order for us to cooperate more and do more in a global community that is connected by a common cause.