After 8 incredible years at Mozilla, the time has come for me to discover new ideas, meet new people, and explore more of what’s out there. There’s no other organization or community quite like Mozilla, and I feel honored and lucky to have called it home for so long. I can’t overstate how much Mozillians have taught and shaped me personally and professionally, and I’m so grateful for our time together.
I’m ready for something new and ambitious, and will be spending some extended time building, learning, and reflecting. In other words, I’m taking a sabbatical to focus on:
- Building cool stuff. It’s been too long since I’ve spent time building and shipping a personal project, and I’ve got some new ideas I’m itching to play with. I’m excited to stretch some creative muscles and see where they take me.
- Learning new skills. In recent years, my passion for travel has led to a strong interest in learning new languages and becoming a better photographer. I’m looking forward to spending time learning Spanish, photography, and other skills — maybe I’ll even become a Wilderness First Responder!
- Reflection. Tomorrow I turn 27. It’s a good time to stop and think about the bigger picture – what matters to me, what I truly enjoy doing, and plans for the future.
I’m pretty darn excited.
I’m happy to share that I’ve recently changed roles at Mozilla, joining the Labs team to help some of the cool experimental projects there reach their potential. Since its first experiment in 2006 with the Chromatabs extension for Firefox, so many great ideas have come out of Labs over the years, and I’m excited to be a part of the next generation of them.
When I first began contributing to Mozilla as a volunteer add-on reviewer, I had no idea I was joining a community I’d call home for so long. Working on AMO and the Firefox Add-ons ecosystem the past 6.5 years has been an amazing experience that I’ll never forget. Leading the add-ons team/product the past couple years and helping lay the foundation of the Firefox Marketplace more recently has been a unique experience in which I’ve met many great people, learned a ton, and had lots of fun.
I’m looking forward to what’s sure to be a very exciting year for Mozilla and the web.
Last week I went to Barcelona to attend Mobile World Congress for the first time. It was incredible for several reasons, most importantly how all of our products came together to tell one unified story: the Web is the platform. You can’t talk about one of the products without it leading directly to the others: Boot2Gecko and Open Web Devices, Marketplace and apps, Persona, and Firefox. I’m excited about it, the conference was excited about it, the industry is excited about it, and Mozilla rocked the show despite it being our first time there.
Mozilla’s booths were in the App Planet exhibition hall along with many platform, commerce, and other software companies. There was a good vibe, especially compared to some of the other halls entirely dominated by hardware giants with multi-million dollar booths the size of a city block. I spent most of my time in Mozilla’s main booth giving demos of our HTML5 apps platform and answering questions about the Mozilla Marketplace.
At first, I wasn’t sure what to expect from 6-8 hours a day of talking and demoing, and was concerned that I wouldn’t have time to visit other booths I was interested in to learn about their products and how they might help our Marketplace. Booth duty turned out to be the best use of my time, as I learned a lot about the crowd’s perception of Mozilla’s offerings and HTML5 apps, and got to meet so many people with relevant ideas. By the time the last day rolled around and I had some time to stop and talk to other booths, all the companies I was interested in had already come to see me. (Though there was still reason to visit one.)
Here’s some of what I learned from my own observations and from talking with hundreds of people:
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This weekend we said goodbye to an action-packed year, and I thought it’d be fun to think back on all we accomplished in Add-ons in 2011.
Firefox 4 Shipped
A critical release for many reasons, Firefox 4 introduced a completely rewritten and redesigned Add-ons Manager, including the interactive discovery pane (“Get Add-ons”), automatic add-on updates, and addressed the single biggest complaint for years with add-ons: installation without restarting. Firefox 4 also allowed us to see how many users actually use add-ons, how many non-hosted add-ons are out there, and gather real-world performance data — all things for which we had no insights before Firefox 4.
The discovery pane was viewed more than 5 million times in the 24 hours after release, and is currently viewed between 2.7 and 2.9 million times each day. It’s responsible for 40,000 add-on downloads every day, plus the 300,000 downloads that come from the Add-ons Manager search. 33% of new add-ons submitted to AMO each month are restartless.
New Developer Tools, Editor Tools, and Review Process
It seems like this happened much more than a year ago, but it was in early 2011 that we launched our brand new Developer Tools on AMO — in my opinion, the best management tools for add-ons, apps, or anything like it on the web. In 2010 we made the decision to rearchitect our review process to require all add-ons to be reviewed and get rid of the sandbox with 7,000 unreviewed add-ons in it. We launched that new process in 2011 by introducing preliminary reviews and direct links while waiting for review. And we made a number of awesome improvements to our Editor tools and statistics dashboard.
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Last Wednesday and Thursday I spoke for the third year at Add-on-Con. This year’s conference was notably different from the rest for a number of reasons, the biggest being a focus on apps. It certainly gave me a lot to think about, and hopefully I’ll have time to blog some of my thoughts on the topic of add-ons vs. apps.
Wednesday night’s Mozilla Social was a blast, so thanks to everyone who attended! And a huge thanks to the many people at Mozilla who were involved in our participation at Add-on-Con this year: Grace, Sara, Mayumi, Dan, Caitlin, William, Mary, Jane, and of course to our speakers Myk, Mark, Jorge, Boriss, Dave, and Jay.
Many people have already asked for my slides from my various talks, so here they are:
So much has changed since the last Add-on-Con and 2011 is already promising to be a very exciting time for add-ons, so I can only imagine what themes will surface at next year’s conference.