Monday, March 18, 2013

Community Catalyst

In my nearly 5 years of contributions to Mozilla, one thing remained at the core is community. When I first came across the Mozilla community, at that time open source or why internet matters was not something that I would care, nor the friends, people around me locally. Coming from a place where the first question people ask is "what do you get?". It was difficult for me to understand why one would spend their time and energy spreading the word about a company and go beyond their way to do things. The people I saw were doing it for fun, for themselves. One thing that caught me was the passion with which this group of people are working towards something, may be something big.

Recently I participated at Webmaker Reps Training Days. Around 40 Mozilla Reps from across the world came together to participate in the Training days. On the first day we participated at Hive Athens event. After the lunch the reps had free time, most went for a walk in the city. Me and a few reps remained at the Hive event.

Those of us who were at the venue, after the event we were making arrangements in the next hall for the next day training session. We were moving tables, screens, chairs, speakers to this new hall. At this time I met, Luis Sanchez from Mexico. When asked Luis if he knew Ricardo Meza from Mexico, he said yes. Luis started telling about Ricardo that he was the one who started the Mozilla Mexico community and did many outreach work. I told Luis that Ricardo was one of the Mozillian's who inspired me while getting started in the community and also helped as a guide.
Coming from a non open source background, I did not had any role models to look up to in this area. The only people who motivated me to be in the community were the community members itself. Ricardo Meza was doing all fancy Mozilla events, with huge audience at big conference halls, large banners, wearing Mozilla t-shirt all the time. The Mexico community had a cool website, there were several activities going on.
Ricardo Meza at Campus Party, Mexico
The thought was like "will i be able to do things like this one day?" At that time, I was not even close to the thinking of what these community members were able to do. May be now a bit close. Now, once in a while when a community member say that they look-up to me/ my activity, I welcome the fact and understand what it means, encouraging them to be the same, one day to experience it. This is a community cycle that I believe in. 

Luis and me continued the conversation, the later part of the conversation reminded me of my roots in the community.
Luis showed the Firefox lanyard that he was wearing and said: "Ricardo introduced me to the Mozilla community, this lanyard is given to me by Ricardo".
I asked: "do you mean you got your first lanyard from Ricardo?",
Luis: "yes and this is the one given by Ricardo.., around 4-5 years ago.."

For a moment I went silent.

I asked, "is this like sentiment?"
Luis: "yes".

Asked if I can take a picture of him, to which this is the pose he gave:
Luis Sanchez, Mexico
Then he took a picture of me saying 'hi' to show it back to Ricardo.
Vineel saying 'hi' to Ricardo
There is this belongingness and shared emotion that enables transfer of values through effective communication that is behind the strong community. This is one of the layers that I experienced with the Mozilla community recently. What layers of the community have you experienced? Who are the people who inspired you in the community? What do you think is the catalyst behind the strong community? What is your favorite community story? I'm sure there are stories like this everywhere in the community, I'd love to read yours.


Ricardo Meza said...

Thanks for commenting about me and my work at Mozilla in your blog, the same way, I always been inspired by people like you and their work looking for a better world.

Greetings from Mexico!

Vineel Reddy Pindi said...

You are welcome and I'm happy that i got an occasion to write about your work :) Thanks a lot!