‘Awesomeness’ is an understatement to describe my visit to a very nice and calm city of Portland, on April 5th and 6th 2014. A bunch of enthusiastic and passionate people, from various parts of US and Canada, came together to discuss the future plans of Mozilla Reps to support Mozilla initiatives in North America.
This was the second time such an event was organized; the last one being in San Francisco in August 2013. Last year, there were eight attendees and this time, we had fifteen Reps from USA and Canada.
The meetup has a pretty amazing vision:
- The challenges:
The biggest challenges in the Reps program has been scaling the program, training the Reps and mentors, communicating the purpose and visibility of the program and managing the budgets. Brian and Rosana have been working closely with the everyone to list the priorities and solve the challenges.
Amazing things are to happen in future. Wait. For. It.
- l10n component missing:
Most Mozillan communities around the world have been grass-rooted by Localization. North America does not have that benefit of l10n component that the other non-English communities have. We face a unique challenge in bringing more contributors on board and then build a Mozillian community.
- ‘Hooks’ in context of North America
We need to understand where Reps fit in North America? Brian highlighted that we need to build a bridge for international communities to tell stories about Mozilla to the world. Since l10n wouldn’t quite work here, we need to find ‘hooks’ that would bring more contributors on board. Jeff Beatty found that Privacy was a big concern in his community. This made us all think of various other ‘hooks’ for North America.
The discussion was really a productive one. We found out where the ReMo program was heading towards and what are the possible areas that we need to explore and focus on in near future.
After all the discussion, Emma took over the stage to brief us about Webmaker. She talked about her experience in running local events to teach kids learn about the web. She briefly explained us about Popcorn maker, Thimble, Hackasaurus, Appmaker and Parapara.
The summary was basically that North America needed more mentors to run these kind of event and Reps could be someone who can be a Shepard community member to run Webmaker events in communities.
Kate has been working closely with the Student Working Group to plan and structure activities for the Firefox Student Ambassadors. She joined us online to brief us about the Firefox Student Ambassador program and the amazing things they have been doing in the past few months!
16,000 students representing Mozilla in 600 Firefox Clubs around 80 countries was the highlight. *phew*
The discussion got more interesting when she explained her plans to build and distribute custom Firefox to students. You can go through her slides for more details.
Kensie put thinking hats on each one of us to discuss the areas that we succeeded and failed in the last six months and how we can improve. Everyone agreed that the priority areas that was thought of in the last meetup had to be prioritized again. There were just too many priorities and less available resources. We needed to cut down list from 5 (University outreach, Two-Priority Cities, Community Building, Web Development and Localization) to 3 (Priority Cities, Community Building and Community WebDev).
This doesn’t mean that we will completely dismiss the other areas. We still feel that there are lot of potential in the areas that we highlighted as ‘low’ but at the moment we will gain success if the collaborative force of NA Reps will be used in the areas that we feel is gaining a lot of momentum and where our expertise lie. There was no point in prioritizing areas for the sake of it. We will continuously work to define strategies and goals in our new priorities in the upcoming months.
We began Day 2 with a fantastic diversity workshop by Lukas Blakk. It was called the Diversity Identity Core Engagement (DICE). The whole idea was to engage everyone to explore and grow diversity awareness in the Mozilla community. A massive props to Lukas for the organizing this workshop.
We ended Day 2 discussing and finalizing the Priority Cities. Portland and Toronto were decided as Priority Cities in the last meetup, but after an in-depth discussion, Portland, Vancouver and Utah won the race. The various criteria for the new priority cities were: presence of Mozillians and Reps, local tech activities, Hacker (Mozilla) Space and feasibility of travel for other Reps. We also decided action plans for the priority cities like documenting the best and worst practices for building communities, creating a baseline for community activities in priority cities (events, mozillians, staffs etc) and communicating upcoming events to the local community.
Lastly, we concluded the meetup by promising to show up again at the same place in September 2014 with some results and telling stories. The best part is that during that time, we will get to meet the people involved in the project Ascent event. A fantastic opportunity for us to meet with local people and carve the path for future development.