5 Lessons from the Mozilla SummitPosted: October 12, 2013
Last weekend, more than a thousand Mozillians descended on three cities to help build the future of the Web. It was a great experiment. Could we manage a Summit that was happening simultaneously in three locations? Three sets of speakers. Three sets of logistical plans. Three sets of Mozillians… you get the point.
The verdict is in and I think most of us believe the experiment was a resounding success. During the four-day marathon, I learned a few things that I’ll take into my next Summit experience.
Lesson 1 – Embrace the chaos of the Summit
It was a wild ride. Speakers were being secured, presentations finalized, and then there’s all the audio and visual work that had to be coordinated. I came into the event as a speaker steward. On paper, this meant I was suppose to round up presentations and help speakers get from point A to point B. Sounds simple.
I realized the job was a bit more complicated 2 minutes after walking into the grand ballroom where keynote sessions would be held. We worked from 7:30 am until 10 pm most nights of the Summit. We were tracking down presentations, helping speakers rehearse, calling tech cues, writing MC scripts, finalizing the speaker notes, helping the a/v crew load in decks and a lot more.
Sound exciting? It was. We had an amazing team and a great lineup of speakers. Our roles changed from collecting presenter decks to becoming a part of the production team. It was hard work, but we all had a blast doing it and learned a lot in the process. I was also fortunate to work with three amazing ladies. Shez Prasad, Liza Fox and Chelsea Novak were awesome Summit pals.
Lesson 2 – Coffee. Coffee. Coffee.
Sleep was scarce. I got to know caffeine really well. First order of business around 6:30 am was to brew some drip coffee in my hotel room before hopping in the shower. Thirty minutes later, I was walking downstairs and searching for a latte. Two hours later, I was in the conference hall grabbing another latte. Around 1:00 pm? You guessed it. Another latte.
Lesson 3 – Erase all expectations
This was my first Summit. Many of my colleagues attended the Summit in Whistler several years ago. I had painted a picture of what to expect and it bore little resemblance to what unfolded during the course of those four days. While the vision I had was different, the outcome was similar: thousands of Mozillians sharing ideas and their vision for the future of the Web.
Lesson 4 – There’s a lot of great content!
My team loves great content. We manage relationships with 28 million Firefox users through email, social media and the Firefox desktop start page. To build these relationships, we need content that our users care about. By the end of the summit, I was salivating from watching dozens of demos, testimonials, and stories from Mozillians. We’re stoked to share these stories with our users in the coming weeks and months.
Lesson 5 – Tune up your singing voice
I walked away from the Summit with even more enthusiasm and excitement for the work Mozilla is doing. During the daily grind, it’s easy to forget about the momentous impact we can make. The Summit helped keep that top of mind.