Late last year I was invited to spend a weekend at the Mozilla Berlin office as one of the representatives of the SUMO team at a pan-Mozilla meeting about the leadership and support for non-coding contributors.
Although I saw only a small part of it, Berlin is a really nice city, although one that made me feel a bit sad. History has not been kind to it and you do not need to be an architecture student to realise that it has faced cataclysm more than once in its past. That said, the people are very nice, the food is good and the city felt very safe, even on a dark winters night in the back-streets.
The subject matter we discussed has already featured on these pages a few times and will continue to do so for it is an important project and forms part of a much wider discussion around how we can dynamise, support, grow and make amazing use of the awesomeness that is the contributor population at Mozilla. I would encourage everyone reading this to get involved in it and make their ideas known.
But stepping away from the subject matter, it was a fascinating weekend for someone like me that has not done a smaller scale Mozilla meeting. There were about 20 people from a mixed range of disciplines with a great mix of backgrounds and opinions. Away from the subject matter, we shared experiences from across Mozilla and came away the better for it.
Which made me think, should we have more of these types of meetings? Smaller, officially supported, mixed groups with a common purpose. We have talked in the past of having a “UK meeting”, but maybe we should be working on a “European meeting”. Similar things have happened in the past and I think they were well received.
Image 50 contributors, plus any Europe based staff, meeting in Italy (for example) for a three day, mini all-hands. A planned agenda of key topics to discuss, some project work to advance and an opportunity for people to explain a bit about what they are involved in, it could be a really valuable experience.
Whilst the first thought would be to tie it to a Mozilla office, we would not have to. The key thing is having a few meeting rooms, sufficient WiFi and access to food and drink three times a day. The meeting in Berlin made me realise that Mozilla is where the Mozillians are – we define the space, not the other way round.
Obviously, there are logistics around when and where and who and how, but it feels like it would be a good idea. I am not sticking a paw in the air to organise it myself, but I would be interested to know what people think.