Pausing Tech Speaker program support

Last week, Mozilla announced some general changes in our investments and as a result we will be pausing Tech Speaker program support.

Mozilla has had to scale back its overall investment in Developer Outreach programs. Our Co-Founder and CEO Mitchell Baker outlines the reasons why here. While the Tech Speaker program won’t be supported MDN will continue as outlined here.

We are very grateful to all the Tech Speakers who joined us over the years and built the thriving community with their contributions and their passion for Mozilla’s technologies. We know that there is a community of practice and we want to make your work visible. We created a group on the Community portal where you will be able to find other Tech Speaker alumni and document your contributions. There we will also be sharing other opportunities for you and others to remain active contributors of the Mozilla developer community.

Thank you again for your contributions over the years!

@rjensen,

I understand why the program is shutting down, but as I mentioned in twitter I don’t believe this was communicated to the volunteers correctly.

This was a 5 years long program that was loved by its members and provided great results. It also required a ton of investment in both time and effort by the volunteers involved. This group of people spent years working as basically unpaid devrel for the web.

People in this program should not have learned about this shutting down from a blog post. There should have been at least a call, a closing session with volunteers. There should have been a thank you note sent to them before you announce this to the world.

The way this was handled as a simple side note in a blog post “hey MDN will live on, TS is down” shows a total lack of empathy towards this group of volunteers. I expected better of whoever still at Mozilla. I understand you are all stretched thin, but this should have been done properly.

Be aware that I am not saying it is your fault Rina, I am sure you’re doing all the best you can with the resources you are given. This is a complaint towards Mozilla itself, this shutting down was handled poorly.

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hi @agarzia

I think that is fair feedback, all I can say is that we tried out best to coordinate comms and we did not get the timings of that comms right. I hope you have received the email now. More than happy to discuss further and reached out to you directly on slack as well, feel free to DM me if you would rather take the conversation here.

I’m also frustrated that the official shutdown the TS program, a program that Mozilla has invested a lot in - but also has gotten a lot of free labor from - is announced and communicated in less then a half-sentence.

While setting up a post-TS community is an appreciated act, the lack of public thanks or appreciation from any of Mozillas leadership is very disheartening and lacking respect.

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I’m not a Mozilla fan anymore. But somehow the replies to this topic ended up in my inbox. I think the techspeakers program was largely Mozilla spending money to build the skills of speakers and even sponsor their conference expenses. So if anyone “should” be thanking anyone, it shouldn’t be Mozilla.

I agree with Andre, I think that the communications part about sad news in Mozilla is not very good/clear/transparent/complete. I am saying this looking at all the past experiences because from a side there is the plan to focus more on community and the other side this program or a lot of community managers was put on layoffs.

For us it was clear just from the layoff in january that this will happen, but discover this just because we have a chat of all of us discussing also with the Mozilla employees, dosn’t help on the Mozilla manifesto thrust worth.

So we can say without any doubts that Community is useful in Mozilla when does what they need and it is just enough, when is not needed anymore there is the trash bin.

This was part of the program purpose, to me the skills grow was very important and I tried to port this also to other people (in my free/open book about open source there is a chapter about public speaking as example). About conference, I always used it to help my community to grow and promote Mozilla topics.
From this point of view the talk’s topics wasn’t always about Mozilla topics or there wasn’t any effort to spread this effort also to the rest of the Mozilla community (the activate campaign for TS wasn’t used so much).

Honestly I think that the program was a way for Mozilla to have tech evangelist in a more cheap way but without so many boundaries in topics (there was a period like 2 years ago with a list of those).

I want just to remember these discussions I started years ago with no traction from the community (sadly):

As today, I think that part of the Mozilla issues is the community that is ignored (about complaints or needs, there are only nice words) and the Mozilla community that is not so strong to let his voice to be heard (like involve more people in the discussions and do pressure).

This “pausing” that is like “closing” because no one that followed/created/managed the program is part of Mozilla anymore it is one of the many things in the Mozilla cemetery…

PS: This is not an attack to a specific person but just a philosophy inside Mozilla that is not official but is the real way of doings things (after all) and the management is not doing anything to change it in the last 5 years.

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I was part of the plan for the past 4 years, It was a really great experience and I believe it helped to promote Mozilla technologies to a broader audience and contribute to attract people to the community, Mozilla products and more.

I’m thankful for being part of the program, but after all the time, effort and many things we did. It was not OK to see the end of the program after a blog post. I understand why it happens, but I believe Mozilla could do better, as Daniel said. Doesn’t look like the Mozilla Manifesto, it felt like they ignored our contribution and didn’t care anymore about community, or like if our effort was nothing for them.

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After going the blog post regarding the “pausing”, I have seen this type of comms. from Mozilla before on projects & programs. I would agree with @Mte90 regarding the communication from Mozilla to community, it feels they only care for it when needed.

Handling it in this way gives out negative look from volunteers & contributors. I don’t understand why the rush to put this out in this way. This could have been properly communicated with the team and also the people involved in this.

I hope to see changes in this regard since this issues has been lingering around for a long time.