Since the beginning, I've been a Mozilla fanboy. But, up until very recently, I've only shown that as a user and a verbal supporter, with a shallow understanding or participation in what's really done in the Mozilla community. Sure, I've checked out source code from time to time going back to the first code release, built and poked at it, but I've never really contributed back.
But now, I'm an employee of the Mozilla Corporation, and I feel like I found a little-known cheat code for getting into the place where all the cool stuff happens. See, I just got back from this thing called the Mozilla 2008 Firefox Plus Summit—and if I was overwhelmed by the initial Mozilla Firehose after coming on-board, I'm entirely gobsmacked now.
The event—having taken place in the bear-infested, rockslide-prone, electricity-deficient wilds of Whistler, BC in Canada—was attended by not only employees of the corporation itself, but a selection of invitees from around the Mozilla community. Throughout the course of the event, I felt humbled by the efforts of everyone and have come away with a feeling that I really need to step up my game. Somehow, it seems I managed to sneak into the place without having first run the decade-old traditional gauntlet of meritocracy and contribution.
Being a newbie of just a few months, I barely know anyone at Mozilla, so I was quite overwhelmed socially. That the early-morning power loss also knocked out my CPAP and left me sick and surly on the last day didn't help my already introverted tendencies. Nonetheless, I talked to a lot of people, attended a lot of sessions, partied a bit, played some Rock Band, and have a lot that's percolating in my brain-meats.
There's plenty coming up to work on in my own assigned sphere of webdev—but I'm also pretty jazzed about the Mozilla Labs projects Prism, Ubiquity, and Weave. Not sure what I can do yet, but would like to do something to help out those efforts. And maybe by the time of the next summit, I'll still be in the Mozilla sphere and will have met and helped a few more Mozillans with whom I can connect face-to-face.
There was also a lot of talk about the future and continuing mission of Mozilla, all very inspirational and telling me that this is the center of things where I've always wanted to be. Now, I just have to work hard to make sure they're not sorry they hired me! I'm running much slower than I'd like, since I feel I have a lot to catch up on while in the midst a lot of disruption and change—between the intensity of the last few months (or even the last year) and readjusting to being back in the Mitten with homeownership all anew and many plans having taken unexpected turns.
But, things are shaping up in a sort of too-good-to-be-true configuration, and I suspect I'll be just fine if I sharpen up a bit and roll with the changes.