Incremental Changes

Anthony Hughes

Last week I dove deep into my new role as a release driver for Mozilla QA, driving the release of Firefox 6 and 7.0 Beta. It has given me pause for reflection to see how far of come.

It all started nearly 5 years ago on a cold Canadian winter morning in a college classroom. A brief presentation from a couple of David Humphrey‘s Open Source students opened my eyes to an unknown. I was completely ignorant to Mozilla and their mission. It was on that day I decided to take a leap down the rabbit hole; or was I finally climbing out of the rabbit hole into the light?…

Since that day, I’ve participated in the Mozilla Project to varying degrees. I started out simply testing and reviewing add-ons. Shortly after I found myself participating in QA testdays. A few months later, I was in Mountain View doing an internship assisting with security releases of Firefox 2. The following year, I was in San Francisco doing an internship testing all aspects of Songbird. A year later I found myself back in Mountain View doing another internship, this time focusing more on community and test automation. Six months later I graduated college and was offered a contract, merging all of my adopted skillsets; testing Firefox releases, owning features, organizing testdays, and doing more test automation (started to get my feet wet with code-reviews).

Jumping ahead a year, I find myself the driver for QA sign-off of odd-numbered Firefox releases, the driver for Mozmill test development, and the driver for testdays. These new roles give me the opportunity to get more involved in the definition of testing and release process at Mozilla. However, the greatest opportunity this has presented is the opportunity to share the wisdom of my graces and mistakes with new community members and co-workers.

It has given me the opportunity to become a mentor. It is this process that allows Mozilla to thrive. Students of Mozilla become mentors, each mentoring a few students of their own; it snowballs. Before you know it, you’ve grown from a community of thousands and tens of employees to a community of millions and hundreds of employees. It is these small incremental changes that foster growth and change the world.

I look back at that kid sitting in that cold Seneca classroom and think to myself, Wow.

I would not be here today if it wasn’t for my mentors (in no particular order): David Humphrey, Tony Chung, Juan Becerra, Tracy Walker, Marcia Knous, Mark Finkle, Jan Leger, Stephen Lau, Sam Sidler, Stephen Donner, Jay Patel, Clint Talbert, Henrik Skupin, Mike Shaver, Mike Schroepfer, John Lilly, Christian Legnitto, Matt Evans, and the entire Mozilla community.

Looking back at these (nearly) 5 years with Mozilla, I can’t help but wonder what my next 5 years with Mozilla holds. No matter what happens, one thing will always remain the same: being surrounded by passionate, talented, supportive people.

Thank you all!