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Twenty Fourteen

Retrospectively, 2013 was a pretty bold leap into a new, uncomfortable place. A new hybrid role on a small, burgeoning, flexible team provided me with a lot of the insight I sought, and some unique opportunities for growth. Generally, I learned what it feels like to contribute more directly to the funding and partnering endeavours of a large non-profit like Mozilla.

The members of my team turned out to be -- as I had hoped -- strong models from which I could draw wisdom and reflection to attempt to be a contirbutor of equally substantial value. They helped me understand and bridge the remarkable rift in the psychological structures that drove my activities at Mozilla prior to joining Geoffrey MacDougall's development (not engineering  ;)) team.

Turning to 2014 though, I'm really still trying to bend myself into the right shape to fit into this amorphous puzzle.

As of this week, the communications and development teams have merged to form The Engagement Team! Having played a critical role on the engineering teams that produced Popcorn Maker and Appmaker, my most obvious asset to bring to the team is a strong background in technology and interactivity. I've been known as the guy that just makes stuff happen, especially when problems are hard and systems need to be designed.

As such, a lot of my effort throughout last year was spent working with legacy CRM systems and processes -- from a forgotten mystical time long ago, before the epoch of the development team -- and standing up important, user-facing websites within days. We launched, View Source Fundraising, a new end-of-year fundraising campaign and more. Overall, these projects were largely successful, benefiting Mozilla and the broader community. If anything, though -- and especially as the team expands -- they proved that we need a dedicated design & implementation group to continue similar work, and to overhaul the systems that caused us headaches in 2013.

I look forward to working more with Sabrina Ng and Mavis Ou. Being able to rely more on their talent, working as a team, means I can spend more time broadening my skillset. I have a keen interest in relating to people, which I hope to turn into something tangible. Strengthening the intrinsic relationships between teams is a recurring phenomenon I witnessed occur as the result my colleagues' careful planning and execution. While I was mindful of that process last year, I strive to become an important part of similar manifestations in the future.

Luckily, Appmaker provides an ideal environment to flex what I already have, and to build what I don't. It's my job to keep the wheels greased, to tackle what's lacking, and to build what needs demonstrating in these four loose buckets:

Story: The narrative driving interest and discussion, which informs the construction of the product.

Product: The bits & bytes, systems, and people involved in delivering an experience to users.

Users: The people who will be using, talking about, and providing feedback for the product and programs, providing a basis for contribution and funding.

Money: Dollars, cents, reals, euros, pounds, gourdes -- the monetary force which lets us continue to pursue our mission.

A large part of this work will be catalyzed by Ben Moskowitz, with whom I'll have to work closely to bring the project to the parts of world that can best contribute to Appmaker's growth. With continuing mentorship and scrutiny from David Ascher and Esquire MacDougall, I'll be able to map the various "soft" aspects of Appmaker onto the "hard" technical ones.

Appmaker is in a pre-alpha state, and needs consistent technical progress to match its early praise. I'll be continuing to help Luke Pacholski, Ben Zulauf, and Simon Wex from architectural and user-demand perpsectives.

A bigger team with more responsibilities, growing projects, and loftier goals. New challenges, and tougher problems. Social dynamics I might never understand, and have never known to exist. I'll be glad to enjoy the support I've been lucky to have from Lynn, Andrea, and John, and look forward to working with my new comrades, Erica, Erika (!), Melissa, Lainie, Amira, Megan, Emily, Sydney, and Rebeccah, and Kat.

Go team!