On leaving Mozilla


I didn’t want to write one of those “all@” goodbye emails. At best, they generate ambivalence, maybe some sadness. And maybe they generate clutter in the inboxes of people who prefer their inboxes uncluttered. The point is, they don’t seem to improve things. I’m not sending one.

But I have taken the decision to leave Mozilla as a full-time employee. I’m leaving the industry, in fact. For the last 10 years, for everything I’ve learned, for the many opportunities and for the shared achievements, I’ve got nothing but gratitude towards my friends and colleagues. I cannot imagine I’ll work anywhere quite like this again.

Long before I joined Mozilla, it was the organisation that had restored my optimism about the future of tech. From the dark days of the dot-com crash and the failure of platform-independent client-side internet applications to live up to their initial promise (I’m looking at you, Java applets), Firefox showed the world that openness wins. Working here was always more than a job. It has been a privilege.

At their very least, Mozilla’s products are open platforms that make their users sovereign, serving as a reference and inspiration for others. And at their best, our products liberate developers, bringing them new opportunities, and they delight users such that complete strangers want to hug you (and no, I didn’t invent the Awesome Bar, but I know someone who did…).

So I’ve always been very proud of Mozilla, and of proud of the work the team I’m on – Open Innovation – does. Being Mozilla is not easy. Tilting at windmills is the job. We live in times when the scale of Internet companies means that these giants have resources to buy or copy just about any innovation that comes to market. Building for such a market – as well as the inherent challenge of building world-class user experiences in the extremely complex environment of content on the Web – also means identifying the gaps in the market and who our allies are in filling them. It’s a complex and challenging environment and it needs special people. I will miss them.

Mozilla Summit 2010

I’m in there somewhere [Credit: Gen Kanai, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

But thanks to the great work of our Participation Systems, and Community Development teams, contribution to the project on a volunteer basis in both technical and in non-technical areas is increasingly well facilitated. Where I’m able to and where it makes sense, I look forward to making my own contribution. As I’ve said to many colleagues, this is “thank you”, but not “good-bye”. At least, not from my side.

However, this is probably my last time in the Bay Area for a while. So I took the opportunity to see some old friends (I’ve worked in this industry for over 20 years now). A common theme? Many had gone back to using Firefox since the Quantum release in late 2017.

“Haven’t you heard?”, said one, explaining how his development team asked to prioritise Firefox support for their product, as that’s what they want to use themselves, “Firefox is cool again.”

I had to disagree: it has never stopped being cool.

2 thoughts on “On leaving Mozilla

  1. Pingback: Patrick Finch is leaving #Mozilla https://patrickfinch.com/2018/08/… | Dr. Roy Schestowitz (罗伊)

  2. I’m wishing you so very very well Patrick. It was an honor to work with you. Thank you for your dedication. You are one wicked smart, humble, and most generous of people. May you have many exciting days, weeks, years ahead – and always know you made a big dent on Mozilla that won;t be forgotten. Jane

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