Mozilla Balkans – Sofia 2011 Meetup Recap

Two weekends ago it was time for our biannual Mozilla Balkans Meetup. The splendid tradition has started about a year ago in Skopje and it continued to Ljubljana. This time it was Sofia’s turn (and Mozilla Bulgaria community) to host the Mozilla Balkans Community for a two days event full of workshops and quality time between members.

We all arrived in Friday, and we used most of the day to get ourselves set up in the huge (yet old) Moskva Hotel in Sofia. I was traveling together with the Greek community representatives Kostas Antonakoglou and Fredy Damkalis (our rookie!) We spend most of Friday in catching up with the rest of the team and learning the new faces :)

Saturday was a community working day. We had great presentations by L10n team (Chofmann, Pike, Matjaz, Milos and Vito) and then we had a community working session around what has been good and bad on Balkans community lately.

The day ended with the Firefox 4 party of Sofia with many local people attending and having a long Q&A session with us all.

Sunday was kinda a wrap up day, as we sat down to our laptops and tried to fixed loose ends of the Balkans Community. Regional websites, L10n caveats, Sumo pushes and community health were covered as we worked throughout all day.

A week after the meeting we asked everyone to fill out their Individual Feedback on the Aftermath page.

Interesting quotes from that page:

  • everyone made it safely to the meetup and safely back home (yeap.. with taxi drivers of Sofia, that’s an accomplishment)
  • we need to have 2 full days of work so we have enough time to have presentations, discussions and hacking (+1 for me! 3 days event would be a better option from now on)
  • no wifi (the epical fail) (that was indeed kinda disturbing but Kostas hosted an adhoc network and we were fine)
  • The instructions Bogo prepared for printing were perfect, should be used as a template for future events. (Indeed pretty helpful handbook!)
  • Have an MC / responsible for every unit on the schedule and make sure he knows his rights & his responsibilities. (Important aspect of organization that should be taken care next time)

Next stop: Athens! (we still need to finalize it, but Greek team is getting pretty excited about that!)

Mozilla Balkans 2010 ~ Ljubljana

It’s been a week now that we have returned from Ljubljana and I miss the whole community more that ever :)

Mozilla Balkans is the twice-per-year community meetup of all the Balkan Contributors of Mozilla. It was kickstarted with a great success last May at Skopje and Slovenian team had the follow-up one week ago at Ljubljana.

We arrived with Costas early Friday having met with Bogo, Michael and Axel at the Prague Airport (-16 centigrades Celsius). The Celica Hostel was pretty amazing (old renovated prison) and our vital needs where met (wifi and beer)

First day went pretty well, and I was happy to catch up with all the old pals from Balkans and meet the new ones. The team seems to be steadily growing and I believe that the representation of each locale is quite sufficient.a

At Saturday we woke up early and headed to our venue. Kiberpipa (Cyberpipe) is a well equipped hackerspace at the center of Ljubljana with a computer museum inside! (Com64, Apple II and more!) Our sessions started on time and we had some constructive sprints around QA, Jetpacks, l10n and SUMO (the new is awesome!) I also gave a brief review of what happened to Mozilla Drumbeat Festival Barcelona as apparently I was the only one that attended it (William and Alina could not make it for Ljubljana :( )

I have to admit that Drumbeat still needs a little more push within our contributors. It seems like not many people within Mozilla understand the importance of it, but yet that’s why we are community, to have our inner workings and change/influence each other :)

During lunch time I gave a presentation about forming communities around ideals (in this case primarily around the “Open Web”) although I had some excellent feedback from Axel the rest of the team was in lunch-mode so next time we will not repeat the “Lunch Session” Eating and participating seems like a blocker for some :)

Saturday night we had excellent surprise!The new CEO of Mozilla Gary Kovacs, the President of Mozilla Europe Tristan Nitot, the Chief Marketing Officer of Mozilla Chris Beard and last but not least the head of Marketing Mary Colvig , joined us for a lovely dinner! Being around them just for this sort amount of time is simply not enough! I had an nice exchange of ideas with Mary about pushing forward the community engagement project and I am hoping to see more on this direction from our side (I am more than willing to participate on that!)

Sunday was the wrap up day (wasn’t that fast?). So after a nice wrap-up by remote-William we sat down in groups to form our assessments for the previous period and set some new more concrete goals. Mary was there and was kind enough to help us out with her expertise :) The outcome can be found here.

All things consider Mozilla Balkans meetups seem to form up and although we need some fine-tuning (especially with durations, and themes) we can safely say that we are on the right track :) Coordination of contributors and enabling them to expand Mozilla locally!

Huge congratulations once again to the local team, Matjaz and Brian and also to Milos and William for making this productive yet fun meetup possible :)