Even Heretic-er…

At this point it’s a little self serving to recommend The Heretic, but I’m going to do it anyway. It’s for entrepreneurs, sure, but it’s not just for entrepreneurs. It’s for anyone who knows there’s always something new learn, something that can be done better.

And I’m honored to be a part of it.

Here’s my latest guest post. This one’s about selling, insights and the magic that can happen when you get it right.

New mantra…

I used say that “fight the inertia” should be my mantra. I get stuck in ruts and patterns too easily. I need to break out of those and try new things, even if it’s just turning off the TV and getting off the couch.

That’s still true, but thanks to my good friend Pascal, I now have a new mantra: “Trust yourself more.”

It’s infinitely scarier and more challenging, but that’s what makes it so great.

Becoming a Heretic…

I recently wrote a guest post for Pascal Finette‘s excellent newsletter for entrepreneurs, The Heretic.

It’s about branding, voice and having something to say. And also gerbils.

Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments or on Twitter.

Blog update, redux…

There were a couple of comments on my last post asking if about:pixels is on Planet Mozilla. Unfortunately, Planet has a policy against team or group blogs being added to their feed. The policy also states that “rare exceptions” can be made, so I’ve asked whether this could be one of those. Stay tuned.

Blog update…

I’m going to start using about:pixels, the Mozilla creative team blog, for work-related posts, including this one about localizing our brands.

Expect the regular smattering of completely irregular updates here.


Life’s too long for you to get it wrong

— Annie, “I Know UR Girlfriend Hates Me”

Questionable capitalization and novelty spelling aside, “I Know UR Girlfriend Hates Me” by Norwegian singer Annie is actually a pretty great pop song. (I know, there goes all my music cred.) Even beyond that, though, it contains one of my favourite song lyrics ever. While everyone and everything — books, movies, parents, fortune cookies, graffiti — tends to remind us how short life is, here we get the other perspective: Life is just too long to live with a bad decision or something that isn’t right anymore.

And now that I write that, I fear people might be jumping to the wrong conclusion, so let me get to the point quickly: I hit my one-year anniversary at Mozilla back in March and it made me realize — as I often do — how happy I am to be here and that applying for this position was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

The bad situation I’m referring to was my previous job, which started off fantastic, but gradually changed until it was no longer the right place for me. Leaving that behind would have been the right decision regardless, but the fact that I ended up here just highlights how wrong it would have been to stay.

The last year — and a bit now — has been an amazing ride. I can’t believe it’s already been that long. On the other hand, I can’t believe it’s only been that long. The time has gone by so quickly, in some ways I feel like I’m just finally getting caught up and starting to click with everyone, but I’ve also learned and done so much that it feels like I’ve been here for years.

Of course, there’s another side to this coin: When you make the right decision, life goes right back to being too short again.

Here’s where I came in…

Or, How I got involved with Mozilla

I’m a newcomer to Mozilla, but in some ways that’s a surprise. I’ve known Beltzner since university. Through him I met people like Shaver, Madhava and Johnath. I visited the Toronto office, attended the odd launch party and got to know the people and culture pretty well. My wife even works here, for crying out loud. But through all that, I never thought I’d end up contributing to the project — not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t know I could.

Like Sheppy, I’m something of an open source skeptic. I think Firefox is an amazing product and Mozilla has done — and continues to do — fantastic work for users and the Web, but I’m not sure about open source on the whole or just for the sake of it. It also took me quite some time to even start using Firefox (embarrassing, right?), even as I got to know more and more people working here. I was using Safari, which seemed good enough for my needs, and I didn’t understand how anything could be better or why it mattered. I’m also not big on change, so I wasn’t too keen on learning to use something new. Now please get off my lawn.

Eventually I caved saw the light and made the switch. I was working in advertising at that point, and while I thought it would be fun to work with my friends, especially on a product that I was growing to love very much, I didn’t see a place for me at Mozilla. I consider myself pretty Web and tech savvy, but I don’t know much about code or… whatever it is you need to make a browser (see what I mean?). So that, I thought, was that.

Then “that” changed.

Now that I’m here, I can see that involving the community in marketing generally and writing specifically could be — even has been — very useful and beneficial. Yet I’m still not sure the best way to attract volunteer writers, how to let them know they can get involved or how best to on-board and integrate them into what we do. So as much as this is my story about getting involved with Mozilla, I’d also like to ask for suggestions about bringing volunteer writers on board. How do we better communicate that there are ways to contribute beyond “tech” help? What kinds of projects would be best for volunteers to get involved with?

In my case, if it weren’t for familiarity and being in the right place at the right time (the right place being “frustrated with my old job” and the right time “when Mozilla was looking for a copywriter”), I probably never would have gotten involved with Mozilla — and that, I think, would have been a shame.


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