(photo cred – williac)
Looking Back — Goodbye Yahoo!
Six years ago, when the little startup I worked for was swallowed up by a big purple cow, I was convinced that I would be gone just as soon as possible — I had a deep skepticism of large companies and more generally any large organization of people. There is no way I would have been able to predict that half a decade later I would still be at Yahoo!, and more interestingly, that I would be so proud of the colleagues and friends I’d gained and the accomplishments we shared.
Specifically, working on BrowserPlus has been an amazing experience. With a small team of wonderfully adept people supported by a diverse network of folks all over the company, we realized an idea, scaled it to tens of millions of users speaking over 30 different languages, and figured out how to surmount any obstacle that came our way: from managing internal company dynamics — to dealing with (not so) subtle changes in the behavior of the browsers upon which we built — to tough design challenges which raised legal, privacy, security, and engineering issues. This project continues to be technically interesting because it lies at the intersection of many different disciplines, and I believe it is important in that it demonstrates a real opportunity to accelerate the development of the web platform by making it much more inclusive and organic.
While these couple weeks at Yahoo! will be my last, I leave with nothing but love for the people I’ve met at Yahoo!, and have enormous hope for the future of BrowserPlus.
Recently I decided it was time to find a new mountain. A decision which led to several months wondering what would be the most meaningful and rewarding thing I could do with myself professionally. Having spent all that time sitting and thinking, I didn’t emerge with a clear answer, however I did come to a couple conclusions:
- I’m most happy when I’m able to create stuff with beauty and utility (and I’ll often trade some units of the former to achieve more of the latter).
- There’s nothing quite as fun as doing #1 with other people.
- #2 becomes a lot more likely when you give the stuff in #1 away.
- An exception to #2 might be when other people themselves are empowered to do #1 because of stuff you’ve made.
Decrypted and rearranged, what that really means is that I’m interested in spending more time creating. Creating open source platforms, tools, and toys which allow me to work with, learn from, and empower folks. That’s all. Why create? Well _why once said it well:
When you don’t create things, you become defined by your tastes rather than ability. Your tastes only narrow and exclude people. so create.
— Why the Lucky Stiff
Looking Forward — ‘lo liz
When an opportunity popped up to join Mozilla Labs I was instantly intrigued. The mission of mozilla resonates well with my recipe for happiness, they believe that “openness, innovation, and opportunity are key to the continued health of the Internet”. Openness? That’s #2 and #3 above. Innovation? #1. And opportunity? Clearly, #4. Heeey, will ya look at that? We’re a perfect match! Further, the focus and structure of the labs group seems like it matches my natural way of being — keep several experimental projects of different scope going simultaneously, pursue them for some number of months, collaborate constantly, learn, and move on.
But what’s so much more important to me than how well I feel the organization I’m joining fits me, are the people. I’ve been talking to and learning from members of the labs team and mozilla from a distance for a while now, and am jazzed at the opportunity to finally get to play with them directly.
So with that, I’m off to buy a bigger saddle.