Attending Your First Mozilla Event
Congratulations on your invite to attend a Mozilla event! This a guide to help you prepare and get the most from the event as well as some tips to help you make the most of it on your return home.
Before the event
- Establish your personal goals. Think about how you can make the most of this opportunity.
- Plan meetings with people and teams in advance. When you are there, the time will go very quickly and organising in advance is courteous to the people you want to meet.
- Make sure you plan in a little downtime. Attending a Mozilla event is very exciting and there are lots and to see and do, but give yourself the chance to rest and gather your thoughts.
- Watch video footage from previous events on Air Mozilla and try to catch the most recent Monthly Internal Call before you go. It will give you the background of the event and will make sure you are up to date with recent project announcements.
- Set up a mail folder/label for relevant email. You will be sent various emails about where you will be sleeping and how you will be getting there, together with other communications around your teams plans for the week. Setting up a folder in your email will help keep these together.
- Act on those emails immediately. Some of them will have important deadlines that you will need to meet so help those that are helping organise the event and respond promptly.
- Do not worry if you do not have stickers on your laptop or a Mozilla t-shirt. Chances are this may change by the end of the event and chances are you are not the only person going to their first event.
- There is no dress code. You are being invited for how you think, what you have done and what you may be able to do – not for your wardrobe.
- Be respectful towards staff – this is their day job.
- Read the Community Participation Guidelines.
- Read the Community Participation Guidelines again.
- Make sure you have (and contribute to) your team’s schedule.
- You will not be a tourist, but read a little about the host location for the event. Understanding local customs and laws, as well as foods and drink, will help remove any concerns as will looking at maps of the local area.
- If you are taking a laptop, make sure it is in shape. Enable encryption, make sure it is up to date and have any and all software you need ready before you go. Pay attention to the small things - remember your desktop background may be viewed by security at the airport and will be seen by your team at the event.
- Plan your travel, make sure you have all the documents you need. Make sure you have your passport, identification, flight itinerary, hotel confirmation and any additional ESTA or visa requirements.
- Prepare your family. If you do not live alone, respect the impact your absence will have and make sure that the tasks you normally do during the week may need to be done in advance or covered off somehow.
- Make sure you have the correct power adaptor or (ideally) two. Having one that is multi-locale with USB sockets is useful, especially if you can charge multiple devices from it. Making sure you have another that is purely for the locale you are visiting as a secondary is also a good idea.
During the event
- Attend meetings you are invited to, are mandatory for you or are related to your teams goals.
- Arrive at meetings on time. You do not want to miss anything, but it is also disruptive to others if you come into a room late.
- Try to attend something random. If you are non-technical, speak to the technical people. If you are happy looking at code speak to people that are not. You will learn so much and even if you do not agree with them, you will come away with new opinions and views.
- Do not keep silent all week or stay at the back of the room – participate! Don’t be the person who does not do or say anything all week.
- Say thank you.
- Nothing wrong with taking a little time out to be quiet or get some fresh air. Don’t let stress or a disagreement ruin your event, take a step back, chill out a little and go back in refreshed and with a clear mind.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Making the web a more open and awesome place is a big enough challenge, so while that "extreme" sport that you have wanted to try may look exciting, try to save yourself a trip to the emergency room and watch from a safe distance.
- Be careful going down stairs in venues. Having your code bounced may feel bad, but bouncing down some stairs hurts far more.
- Do not fear missing out: You will not be able to attend both Boardgame Night and your team dinner. There will be karaoke parties you won’t get to, or be invited to. This is fine. This is expected. This is unavoidable when you have so many people disorganizing so many things simultaneously. So don’t fret about it. Prioritize.
- During week-long events, watch out for Thursdays – at this point in an event, tiredness can creep up on you.
- Try to keep a balanced diet, do try to eat some chocolate or sugar to balance out the savoury food.
- Do not go round taking all the stickers – share and make new friends.
- Wash your hands. Lots. Before meals. After meals. You’ll be talking, working, eating, and otherwise hanging out with a thousand of your closest coworkers. It’s probably your best bet for not catching "mozflu", and it’s definitely your best bet to not transmit it.
- Make sure you get some sleep.
- Read Brianna's emails! At an All Hands these are a key source of logistical and practical information (and one or two things that will make you smile) and should be the first thing you should consult if you have a query.
After the event
- You may feel a bit down or exhausted, that is completely natural after working with great people and something you care about. Take a day or so out to sleep, rest and get used to the world again.
- Keep in touch with people you met at the event. Work with them and follow up on meetings.
- Check-on with your family. You have hopefully had an awesome experience, but they too will also have been doing awesome and amazing things.
- Work on the goals you set out beforehand or modify them to focus on what you are bringing back with you.
- Look at the event pictures and any video footage, it will bring back good memories.
- Pass on what you have learned (subject to any material that is covered by your NDA) to your functional or regional community.
- Check your email for a post-event survey, and provide honest feedback.
For virtual events
- Plan your schedule in the same way as an in-person event.
- Appreciate that there will not be physical swag, but perhaps some digital equivalents - use them to decorate your desktop and/or profiles and perhaps use a different Firefox theme. It will help the event feel different from the normal routine.
- Read the Community Participation Guidelines. They still apply at a virtual event.
- Be sure to give time to those trying to speak from different locales. Speaking in a different language to your own is not easy, trying to do that while speaking into a computer is going to be uncomfortable, but their contribution is just as valid and welcome.
- Be aware that the schedule of the event may be based in a different time zone to your own. Make sure that you know what time sessions are scheduled for. Also, consider making sure you have groceries in (as you may not be able to go at your normal time) and adjust your sleep patterns a little so the event is not so hard.
- If you have one, wear a lanyard and pass from an old event. It will help you to feel that you are at a real event.
- Mute your microphone by default when not speaking in a session.
- Make sure you know how to un-mute your microphone and also how to share your screen.
- Between calls, make sure you move and stretch, and throughout the event try to stay hydrated.