All Hands 2017 San Francisco
July 05, 2017
Mozilla has a biannual gathering for all employees and some volunteers, it’s called the Mozilla All Hands and it always happens in a different city around the world. This year, the Summer All Hands happened in San Francsico, CA, USA and as an intern I had the priviledge to go and experience the event.
About the All Hands and San Francisco
I had never gone to something like this, I had never gone to a programming conference, I hadn’t even ever gone to the United States. Needles to say, I was super excited.
They let me know about the conference about a month before, for me to have time to get the plane tickets get a hotel room and prepare psychologically for the trip. Mozilla would pay for everything, so it was not much of a thinker, of course I accepted the invitation and went.
The All Hands is a work week. Since many Mozilla employees work remotely or even the ones that work in offices usually have a team that is scattered aroud the globe, it’s important to have this sort of event where everybody gets together, meets, works and has fun.
I arrived there around 1PM a day before the first day of the meeting. I was super excited to have a free day to walk around and get to see a little bit of San Francisco before getting to work. I was really surprised as to how the United States reminded me of Brazil. Having just come back from a three month internship in Germany, where there is a reallly big difference from Sao Paulo, I was surprised that San Francisco was not much a break from Brazil. Of course, the city is much smaller and there is the different language, but other than that, the vibe doesn’t change much.
Even though it was so much like Brazil, the city was new to me so I wanted to walk around. I saw the cable car, saw the bay, went into some stores and just tried to experience as much as I could just by walking around the hotel. Luckly the hotel was in a really central area so I could see a lot. At the end of the day I was really tired, but satisfied and so I went to the welcome cocktail to the All Hands.
At the cocktail I got to finally meet Mike in person and some other Mozilla employees. I didn’t stay much, because the tiredness from the almost 15 hour trip and the jetlag was starting to get to me. I decided to go to sleep so as to fully enjoy the next day.
The actual work week
The first day started out with a really brief talk to get things going and explain how the week would go about. We were told that the week would not be about going to meetings and going to talks, it would be about sitting down and coding a lot with your colleagues. And that’s what we did. For the next five days I would get up in the morning, have breakfast go to the office that was setup for us and work a lot.
Even though I coded so much, I don’t think that that was the best part of the week, by far. It was really great for me to get to know all the other guys from the Webcompat team and the other girls that were also Outreachy interns.
It was great to hear the stories of all my other team colleagues and learn with them. I also really enjoyed getting to know what they did for the project. Some of the guys worked triaging and finding the solution for the compatibility bugs that are filed on webcompat.com, others worked improving the design of the website, others the functionality and so on, some guys were even working on browser tools to help debug the compatibilioty bugs that we get. Awesome.
Imposter syndrome workshop
Aside from the coding, Mozilla provided a workshop only for the Outreachy interns about Imposter Syndrome and how to try and overcome it.
Imposter Syndrome is a really common evil and specially present among girls that work in tech. Basically, it’s the feeling that you are not good enough, but so intense that it becomes almost pathological. It was great to hear the complaints, fears and ways to improve that the other girls shared during the workshop. Each one had a different story and by hearing and identifying myself with them I felt much better about me and my work. It made me feel part of something and not so alone in my struggles and fears.
I thought the All Hands was a key event for me to feel as if I was a part of the Mozilla team. Even though I saw the avatars and usernames of all my colleagues online, there is nothing better than meeting everyone in person. One big thing that changed for me is my online presence with the team. Now that I know everybody in person I get much less shy about talking in IRC and GitHub and in video confereces with the group.
It was also great to get the time to have fun with them, not only work. I got to go to a record store with Mike (I’m a vynil collector as is he), got to eat some burritos with the rest of the team and also go to a fancy restaurant and we even did some sightseeing. All in all it was a great week.
The illustration at the top was made by my good friend @onunes