Turning a Corner in the New Year

I’m going to start the year off with a blog post, mostly to procrastinate on replying to the many e-mails that my very productive colleagues have sent my way 🙂

2017 was quite a year beyond the socio-economic, geo-political, and bizarre. I, and many of my colleagues did what we could: find solace in work. I’ve often found that in uncertain times, making forward progress on difficult technical projects provides just enough incentive to continue for a bit longer. With the successful release of Firefox 57, I’m again optimistic about the future for the technical work. The Firefox Layout Engine team has a lot to be proud of in the 57 version. The winning combination was shipping big-ticket investments, and grinding down on many very difficult bugs. Plan “A” all the way!

Of course, it’s easy to see this in retrospect. I recall many late nights wondering “is this even going to work?” My friend and former colleague Robert O’Callahan recently revealed that he had similar doubts from before my time on the project. I wonder how much of that is inherent in the work. Is the Mozilla mission also the same narrative that fills me and other leaders with the sense that we’re always in rescue mode? Is that a sustainable lifestyle? In any case, it does feel like we’ve turned a corner.

For the first time in a long time, I feel like the wind’s at our backs and about to go into 2018 with that momentum. It would be hubris on my part to say that we’ve figured it all out. 2018’s uncertainties (e.g, Spectre/Meltdown) promise more late nights ahead. We’ve got lots of things in flight, and more ideas to investigate. We’ll need to make changes to deal with it all, but that’s par for the coming year’s course.

Happy New Year!