FlightDeck and MetaLab: Bad Messaging Leads to Bad Times

NOTE: I spoke with Andrew Wilkinson (CEO of MetaLab) prior to releasing this post.

The Back Story

I arrived at Mozilla 4 years ago at age of 26 with a passion for the web. Like many Mozillians, my previous job was with a private company. Mozilla was radically different than any work environment I had ever been in. Not only is Mozilla open source, it’s also open meeting, open planning, open specs, open mockups, open bug lists – yeah, lots of open. I wasn’t used to this, not that I shied away from openness or wanted to be secretive, it simply took a while to acclimate myself.

One of the first projects I was tasked with when I arrived was Add-on Builder. It was to be a lightweight code environment for Firefox add-ons – mostly for beginners and people who wanted to test their add-ons in a collaborative way (think jsFiddle for Firefox Add-ons). Unfortunately, it was also the source of the most frustrating, painful event of my professional career. Given Add-on Builder was end-of-life’d a few months ago to free up resources for other developer-facing products, I thought I’d finally write about the event and what actually happened. As it turns out, it was far less interesting than the woefully inaccurate fable it mutated into. Here goes:

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10 years later, the sadness remains

I always have a hard time around 9/11 each year.

Every year I watch the videos again and cry just like I did that day sitting in my school’s student union. Of the 3,000 innocent people who were killed, I didn’t know one, but I would have liked to. 19 psychopaths with airplanes took away from all of us the ability to ever know them. They extinguished the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of 3,000 in an instant. They stole 3,000 fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, and spouses from families that loved them. They murdered 3,000 of our fellow Americans.

Please take the time each day to appreciate, cherish, and love whoever walks through the door with a smile to greet you. Perhaps it’s your father, mother, son, daughter, or spouse, maybe it’s your roommate or friend. Remember that for 3,000 families, never again will they see that person walk through their door to say hello or I love you.

Sit in quiet reflection and think about how you felt that day in September, write the names of those 3,000 on your heart, and most importantly, never forget.

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