Monthly Archives: February 2014

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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 :)

Read this on my blog: http://feer56.ca/?p=82
Blog post to come soon: "Top Line Goals? Recognition? Shut down? Directory Tiles? Yammer?"
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