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๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the author's experience working at Mozilla and the challenges the company faced as it lost market share to Google's Chrome browser. It explores the author's reflections on the nature of belief, commitment, and leadership, drawing parallels between their experiences at Mozilla and their time as a youth group leader in high school.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] mission and the people you leave behind

1. What was the author's experience working at Mozilla?

  • The author was an intern at Mozilla Corporation, which was seen as the "shining hope of the new internet" at the time, challenging Microsoft's dominance.
  • The Mozilla team was a diverse group of "purple-haired hackers from San Francisco" and "hardcore Christian evangelicals from New Zealand", all united by a belief in the mission.
  • The author was inspired by the idea that the team was there because they believed in the mission, not just for the money.

2. How did the author's perspective change after interning at Google?

  • The author did a brief stint as a Google intern the following summer, which was when Google released their own browser, Chrome, built by engineers hired away from Mozilla.
  • The author was confused, wondering "Weren't we all in this together? Why was Google doing this?"

3. What happened to Mozilla after the author returned?

  • Mozilla's CEO, John, tried to reassure the team that Google still supported them and that Mozilla was still the "champions of the open web".
  • However, a year later, John stepped down to join a venture capital firm, saying he still believed in Mozilla but couldn't turn down the opportunity.
  • After John's departure, Mozilla began to lose both users and contributors, as Chrome gained market share rapidly.

4. What happened to the author's former Mozilla colleagues?

  • A number of the author's former coworkers ended up at Facebook, which the author saw as the "opposite of what I thought we'd been building at Mozilla - a walled garden instead of the open web".

5. How did the author feel about questioning the former CEO, John, about what happened to Mozilla?

  • When the author asked John what happened, the author felt embarrassed, realizing that the answer was that the mission and beliefs were "conditional, as everything always was in business" and changed when the conditions changed.

[02] When is it time to change? Or alternatively, when are you obliged to go down with the ship?

1. What insights did the author gain from their experience as a youth group leader in high school?

  • As a youth group leader, the author had to manage the tension between the "true believers" who were very earnest and engaged, and the "normies" who only engaged when it felt socially acceptable.
  • The author's job was to use the spark from the "true believers" to ignite a common feeling in the "indifferent cool kids".
  • The author wondered about their own obligations to the group when they started to lose faith themselves, realizing that it was the obligations to their group members that bound them more than any commitment to their actual religious beliefs.

2. What advice did the author find most impactful from their youth group leader experience?

  • The "campsite rule" coined by a gay sex advice columnist, which is to "leave people better than you found them" when you leave a group.

3. How did the author's perspective on belief and commitment change over time?

  • The author maintains a deep affection for the "true believers" who can really believe in an idea, but also sees the wisdom in the "sociable indifference of the normies" who don't want to sacrifice too much of themselves for fleeting missions.
  • The author no longer believes in the immortality of the human soul, and believes that "if your mission isn't working for you anymore, it's okay to let it die" in favor of prioritizing people over mission.
Shared by Daniel Chen ยท
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