Transition

Butterfly in CocoonAs intimated earlier, things have been afoot. Just one thing, really, but that thing sets into motion such a panoply of downstream consequence that I feel truly justified in my flagrant use of the plural form. To wit, then, and without terribly much further ado:

I am leaving IBM.
I am joining Mozilla.

This is momentous, so I will give you a minute to recover.

What this means to you, as a reader, is that I will likely be prattling on much more about Mozilla in future posts, and about work in general since, working for a non-profit, open-source company, I can’t help but feel a little more transparency is appropriate. It also helps that I don’t fear dire repercussions should I say the wrong thing about a product not-yet-shipped or a customer not-yet-appeased. Mozilla does not seem to have a lot of dire floating around. This pleases me.

IBM was very good to me, and leaving it was actually surprisingly difficult. Former IBMers, like former anythings, can tend to sound cynical about their time there, and not without some degree of justification: IBM has a rich internal culture that, once you aren’t a part of it any more, can seem silly and autocratic and stodgy and dated. But it also has some of the best people you will meet, and these people have learned to wake up in the morning and get excited about refactoring improvements to an enterprise middleware application server because it is what their users need them to be excited about. I won’t play along with mocking them for that, even if they do get a little hyped up about their last PBC Rating or stressed about whether the PI Core OT will approve the changes made to the IPMT deck as suggested by the PDT before QCert. (There are IBMers that read this blog, and some of them are nodding right now, as though I just spoke English.)

So I leave IBM happy for my time spent there. But I’m leaving it just the same. Why? Because Mozilla made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

I have always had the love. Mozilla is about making the internet a better place. And about doing it in a way that is transparent and community driven. How do you not love that? I asked schrep (Mike Schroepfer, Mozilla VP of Engineering) about the difference between Mozilla employees and members of the community and his answer was “As little as possible. Mozilla employees are paid contributors. It’s their job, but that doesn’t give them special status. Heck, I don’t even have CVS access.” (To be entirely candid, I can’t remember if he actually said ‘Heck.’ In retrospect, it seems unlikely.)

Imagine working with a team of people who are all there because they want to protect choice and innovation on the net – because they want to make the web a better place. Imagine not having to work in changes which clearly hurt the user experience, but scratch some large customer’s itch. I’ve been to the offices in Mountain View, I’ve had 10-14 interviews depending on how you count, and my reaction has been joy. There is not a single B-list person in the joint. My colleagues at IBM are telling me how lucky Mozilla is to be getting me, but I am pretty lucky too: it looks to be a fabulous group of people, and I am honoured to be counted among them.

As for me, I don’t have a business card title yet, but I’ll be working on usability and security; two of my favourite things. Basically my goal is to make the user-facing security experience in firefox best in class. Among the many upgrades and new features in Firefox 2 (you have upgraded, haven’t you?) are several security enhancements like anti-phishing protection, but more can be done here to help keep people safe and I look forward to being a part of it. Also included in my role will be representing Mozilla in public fora like the w3c and anti-phishing workgroups, so if you’re a member of either, expect me to come calling.

Because security and usability are both really about the human aspect of our products, and because I represent their intersection, my working title is:

Johnathan Nightingale
Human Shield
Mozilla Corporation

8 comments

  1. Well congratulations, you sound very happy about it. 🙂 Finding an organization that you can believe in, that inspires you beyond the internal goals, sure seems important; I’ve watched the change in the Boy just between working for the university versus working for a company that “makes printers better.”

    And hey, sneak a word in there for us sad and sorry medfolks who still have to (want to!) use PalmOS (without phone)… we want Thunderbird/Sunbird compatibility! Just kidding. Okay, not really kidding.

  2. Congrats. Yes, I have upgraded. 🙂

    I was using it before and have been for a long time, but now I feel an even stronger pull to never switch from Firefox. Not that I would. It’s awesome. 🙂

  3. Congrat’s. 🙂 I’m currently using camino (some sort of mac-native version of mozilla, i think) with safari as my backup browser for when things are strange or broken with this one. I can’t quite convince myself to download and install a third web browser, but if you can come up with some compelling arguments I’d be happy to entertain them. 😉 I’m very happy for you – sounds like an exciting and fun transition to be making.

  4. Congrats! Good move. Lucky catch for Mozilla!

  5. Welcome aboard! I’ve got some mailing lists for you to subscribe to …

  6. Congratulations! Sounds like this was a tough decision for you. I hope it works out well!

    Where will you be working? Are you moving down to Mountain View?

  7. Congrats! We are big fans of Mozilla and Josh pretty much flat out requires anyone he helps with internet problems to install their browser. I’m glad you had such a great experience at IBM and I hope that Mozilla is wonderful to you as well! *clapping and such*

    Allie

  8. What a great way to join Mozilla Jonathan! Very excited to meet you and work with you. Welcome to the band. 🙂