Reflections on MozFest 2014

This was written starting on my flight home to MNL then continued at different places (i.e. public transpo, on my table etc. lol)

I am writing this while on the plane and sort of experiencing a turbulent flight but interestingly the seatbelt sign is still not on. And at last, I had a meal that actually has taste (very tasty roast beef, bell pepper, sauce, onions and more pepper comparable to our local beef steak) after four days of eating bland food.

The topic of how I developed a picky attitude over British food though is not what I intend to write in this 15-hr trip, because hey, the fish and chips I had was nice.

I am flying back home from the city that has a special place in my heart (nope that is not because of my MozFest crush but well, ok yes it is a factor lol) because it is the venue of my awesome weekend with people that I admire and most importantly, people that keep on inspiring me. The wonderful, most anticipated Mozilla event every year that is MozFest.

Last year I came to this event to participate. My goal was to learn from people globally and bring home with me ideas (and community gossip, yes) that our community can make use of. Most importantly, it gave me an idea that served as the opportunity to make a dream of mine come true. That dream was to spearhead the first, biggest public-facing event for the Mozilla Philippines Community. It is a little dream, yes. But at least it is a dream that actually happened, all because of how this event showed me that it can.

This year I challenged myself. I want to be part of the group that leads the generation of new ideas at MozFest. Wow much high level such words wow.

I am now here at MozFest as a community builder. I used to be a student leader back in college and I still have this liking for it (guess it is really hard to get over this student-to-workforce transition) so I proposed a session at MozFest where we talk about how students can get into this opportunity to become young leaders of Mozilla communities. And because I am part of the FSA Eboard lol I am biased! :-p

Student Involvement in Mozilla Communities Session. Photo by Christos.

Student Involvement in Mozilla Communities Session. Photo by Christos.

Students@Mozilla

We had some economics students who were totally new about Mozilla and they made us realize one important thing that we are not focusing on: awareness. Hey guys, there are still people who thinks Mozilla is just yet another tech company! It is totally not surprising at all, after all building Firefox is what made this organization happen. It is also good to note that these girls are non-computer studies students, but are interested to get involved with Mozilla. However they don’t know where to start and they can get hesitant as they perceive that Mozilla communities are just for high-level techies. Add in the factor that it is dominated by adults.

You know where I am getting at? Yes, we need a new platform for those kind of people. If we want to grow communities, we make it friendly to those who have a different background than most of us. I am not part of the majority as I belong to those community members who do not code. I managed to fit in, yes, but the perception of how the community is friendly to non-techies may be different for others. We should explore on how to make it more inclusive, by exploring and understanding the ‘technical’ and age diversity of people who believe in our mission. We need to welcome a more diverse skill set in order to grow. It is also beneficial for the community to welcome skill sets which complements what the majority of us have right now. So I realized, sucks that I didn’t get to attend the diversity session.

Mozilla Contribution Pathways==RPG Job Tree, orly?

The next thing that I want to ponder on is about the community building speed geeking session, which for me, is a wonderland. I started with the pathways part with Deb. At first it confused me as I had a training perspective on the pathways topic but Deb cleared up it’s under mentoring. So there I had the new perspective on contribution areas being pathways. I was actually imagining it as like a Job Tree in Final Fantasy Tactics or some RPG where you have a guide where to go and what to become. The idea of having pathways branching or doing roles at the same time was raised, and I thought that that could be a way to guide community leaders. The master of everything lol. Something like that. So I realized just now that my realization number 1 actually connects to this one. Contribution pathway for non-techies! OMG IS THIS DESTINY?

FFT Job Tree LOOOOOOL

FFT Job Tree LOOOOOOL

Mentoring, a very fluffy thing

Next station I went to was mentoring with Emma. And can I just confess that I almost cried in this session HAHAHA. Seriously, there is so much memories that flash into my mind when asked about my positive and negative mentoring experience. I can’t speak that much because I am afraid I’ll be shedding some tears (Omg crybaby alert). And because of that I didn’t get to share my latest positive mentoring experience, which I have experienced with my Mozilla Reps mentor, Sir Bob. Can I just say that he’s already like a second dad to me? Other than we both dislike vegetables (sorry I’m starting to eat veggies now because of my medical exam findings though :p), he is always there to listen, help and empower. I will never forget the time that I am just a new Rep (he’s not my mentor back then) so we’re just new acquaintances but he pushed me to attend MozCamp 2012, even though I didn’t believe that I deserved it. Well of course, because I am newbie back then. He even went out of his way to help me with my passport problems as I was literally crying at the consular affairs (look at my passport pic, fresh sore eyes). His effort for the community is what pushed me to aim high. And oh, it happens that it is also his birthday today (note: wrote this on Oct. 28) SUCH A COINCIDENCE ISN’T IT? :p

As for the negative experience, I HAVE NOW TRUST ISSUES, sort of, lol. Yeah, kinda personal.

Moving on, I went to the systems and data area with Nikkos. I am so sorry I wasn’t able to contribute, I was like :v the whole time lol. sorryIknownothing

At the Data and Systems station. Pic by Christos.

At the Data and Systems station. Pic by Christos.

Governance@Mozilla and the Filipino Culture

Next was governance, where I had a very very important realization– surprise, surprise, culture! I shared the thing that I noticed with our community members. We cannot move on if we don’t give ‘titles’ to people in delegating tasks as we don’t feel that we own the responsibility without being explicitly assigned with it. I came into this realization when I was asked how I became a Rep. Well here’s the thing, I became a Rep during the time that it was very new and that they are not strict on checking your Mozilla contribution background. But, by having the Reps title I felt responsible and obligated to learn and deliver output, providing me the experience to be part of the local community leadership. In MozPH we were actually pondering about having Junior Reps or Rep Interns (We fondly call the program Rep Interns Program or R.I.P lol working title) because we feel that people might not be active in contributing because they don’t feel the weight of their role. It kinda contradicts with the meritocratic nature of Mozilla communities as the unwritten rule here is to do what you can and the title will follow. Sort of an “Ohgodwhy” thought for me as I felt I was made to go back our core values but looking at it from a community leader perspective, it makes me feel uncomfortable. How do you guide people on a path if you don’t give them a role and a job description?

Is it really like this? Is it our culture that our people lack the initiative and have to be assigned stuff to get things done?

Come to think of it, Filipinos are known to be very passive. We don’t like confrontations. We will not own something unless we are officially entitled to and we hate the feeling of bypassing/ stepping on another person’s territory. To-do list for MozPH Reps: determine a way to encourage participation in Mozilla communities considering the passive and shy attitude of Filipinos.

Recognition

The last one that I participated in was the recognition area, which for me is kinda tricky and can really get varied. It was an interesting discussion and I just realized how recognition is very important in keeping the fire burning. A recognition method can be meaningful to some, but feels insincere for some. Some will appreciate the smallest ones, some may need a huge bomb to feel recognized. I think what is important in recognition is that we maintain the human side of it; ensure it adapts to the time and the sincerity of the act. And that ladies and gents, is the hardest part. AHHHH!

Honestly, without meaning to show off, at some point I feel I am being recognized too much. The amount of recognition is what pushed me actually to strive harder, and it saved me from the burnout I almost succumbed to because of the responsibilities I had for the past months. I felt I didn’t deserve it, so I worked on ways to make myself feel deserving. Kinda related to the previous realization, yes? The recognition is what made me push harder, at least from my perspective. THIS LOCAL CULTURE THOUGH.

Ka-ching ka-ching

The last community building session I managed to fit myself into was fundraising. This is a fresh topic for me as I haven’t thought about raising funds for an event as I depend on the Reps program (HAHAHA). My co-participants had a lot of interesting projects they need help in seeking partnership and funding with (my campaign idea was ignored huhuhu /wrist loljk it was vague). I was listening very intently to their project ideas as we can really implement it in our local community. We did our partnership and sponsorship requests in ‘freestyle’ last Maker Festival MNL. It is good to know that the Mozilla Foundation has people you can seek advice from when you need help in funding your projects! And there are better ways to do fundraising, haha.

LOVEBOMB TIME!

A huge lovebomb to the awesome Reps (new and old friends) that  I have met in this year’s MozFest. You are all awesome and a huge source of inspiration. Shoutout to Christos and Ioana for being ever so hardworking and patient in handling us!

Reps at the Reps Booth

Reps at the Reps Booth. Photo by MozEU

Reps@MozFest. Photo by MozillaEU

Reps@MozFest. Photo by MozillaEU

Reps@MozFest. Photo by MozillaEU

Reps@MozFest. Photo by MozillaEU

Reps@MozFest. Photo by Christos Bacharakis.

Reps@MozFest. Photo by Christos Bacharakis.

Reps@MozFest. Photo by Christos Bacharakis.

Reps@MozFest. Photo by Christos Bacharakis.

Reps@MozFest. Photo by Christos Bacharakis.

Reps@MozFest. Photo by Christos Bacharakis.

Reps Selfie. Photo by Rara Queencyputri

Reps Selfie. Photo by Rara Queencyputri

Reps Selfie while on the Tube. Photo by Rara Queencyputri

Reps Selfie while on the Tube. Photo by Rara Queencyputri

Reps Selfie while on the Tube escalator. Photo by Rara Queencyputri

Reps Selfie while on the tube escalator. Photo by Rara Queencyputri

Team Student Involvement. Photo by Christos Bacharakis.

Team Student Involvement. Photo by Christos Bacharakis.

Team Student Involvement.Some peeps behind the FSA program!

Team Student Involvement.Some peeps behind the FSA program!

Shoutout to my awesome roommate who managed to bear with my non-functioning navigation skills LOL. Interestingly, I got more lost in my 2nd time in London compared to my first time, considering I went to the same places. :v Thanks and apologies for enduring the long walks! :p

Awesome roommate!. Photo by Rara.

Awesome roommate!. Photo by Rara.

The lost tourists enjoying our surprising serving of fish and chips!

The lost tourists enjoying our surprising serving of fish and chips!

Arrived as individuals, ended MozFest as a community :)

Arrived as individuals, ended MozFest as a community đŸ™‚

That’s all I can wrap up in this blog post (after 4 months of not posting anything!) Mozillians! As usual, MozFest has been a huge source of inspiration for me and I am always looking forward to sharing the things that I have learned to my community. The timing of MozFest is also quite good for us as it is just before our annual community planning! THANK YOU SO MUCH for giving me another opportunity to attend this year’s MozFest. Thank you for entrusting me the responsibility of passing on what I have learned here to my community. It is totally an honor to hear from and discuss with part of the most passionate and inspiring people in the planet. #MozFestHangover

I left MozFest with fresh ideas for the new year of MozillaPH. LET’S DO IT TEAM!

LET'S BUILD COMMUNITIES! YEEEEEAAAAAH. Pic by Rara.

LET’S BUILD DEM COMMUNITIES! YEEEEEAAAAAH. Pic by Rara.