why facebook?

[I haven't started yet, and what I present here is based on things that are public knowledge, via press or F8 presentations or Facebook's own posts. My impressions are obviously informed by direct conversations, of course.]

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m going to start as an Engineering Director at Facebook some time in November (specific timing is up to the INS). I’m really really excited about it for a number of reasons, even though it means relocating to California. A number of people have asked why I chose to go to Facebook, so I decided to write some of the reasons down.

One reason is that Facebook is probably the most web-influential company in the world on that side of the wire. They’ve consistently invested in the web, from their mobile-client approach, to their APIs, to various tools and whatnot. I have unfinished business with the web myself, and Facebook is a great place for me to continue to have influence over how it evolves.

Another is that the engineering culture at Facebook is simply spectacular. It’s obvious that they’ve invested in it very heavily, from bootcamp and development tools to the testing and deployment model, and it has clearly paid off. It’s going to be a very cool thing to be part of, especially since the world of web-delivered services is so different from the client-side-software one in which I’ve spent the last 6 years.

The third reason is that Facebook’s management team is perhaps the best in all of software right now; Ben Horowitz agrees. (Mozilla operates in such a different way that I wouldn’t really know how to compare, but I’m sure they won’t take offense.) I’m really looking forward to learning a ton working with them (including a very good friend of mine) as well as the other amazing people at FB that I’ve had a chance to meet. In looking around the company while discussing a possible position, I didn’t see anything I didn’t want to work on, or anyone I didn’t want to work with, which was unique in my job-hunting experiences.

And finally, I am by no means an expert on social software and how it can connect people through the web. It’s obvious that personal connections, recommendations, and other shared experiences are going to be central to how the web looks in five, ten, twenty years. I think there’s an enormous opportunity for me to contribute to that, and learn a ton; I think Facebook’s vision of what the web can be is pretty exciting, and will be exciting to help build.

I think Mozilla is a great place, and I would recommend it strongly as a place to work (or a place to volunteer, as I plan to keep doing); it’s unique in the world of software, and changes you forever. I’m thrilled to now go to Facebook, another great place, and see what I can do to change the world again.

such sweet sorrow

One of the hardest decisions I’ve made in my life was the one I made in September to leave my job at Mozilla. And one of the hardest things about that decision was writing the email to my colleagues and friends announcing my decision. Various aspects of timing meant that I announced my resignation during an “all-hands” week — a week-long sync-up for all Mozilla employees — and while it made things much tearier than they might otherwise have been, it was truly wonderful to be able to say goodbye in person to so many of the people I’ve shared the last 6 years with.

This is what I wrote:

People always say that these are terribly hard emails to write, because they are.

When I was 19, I first met Brendan Eich at a conference in NYC. We hit it off (lol nerd-groupie fawning), and it led to me working alongside him at Netscape a year later. The ever-powerful combination of the right time and the right place gave me the opportunity to use my open source experience as part of the founding team for the Mozilla project.

Since that time Mozilla has been a huge part of my life, and a huge part of my career. I’ve decided that it’s time for me to look for another part of my career, and so I’m leaving the Corporation.

I am pretty good at the word thing, but I don’t have any adequate to express how much Mozilla means to me — the project, the people, the changes we’ve made in the world. I love you all, and the things we’ve done together that shouldn’t have been possible.

It’s been wonderful to be surrounded by family here at the all-hands this week. I’m not leaving the family, but I am moving out, so I won’t be around as much as I have been for the past 6 years. Feel free to drop me a line if I can help, or crash on my couch…hmm. You get the idea.

[Some administrivia omitted.] I am leaving with the organization and project in strong, strong hands.

I don’t know what’s next, but you can be sure it will involve the web and trying to make it better. Once that’s in your blood, there’s no getting it out.

Thank you all for many wonderful years; please know that I will always be proud of what we’ve done, and of Mozilla’s incredible, impossible, inevitable successes to come. The vision and courage I’ve seen in this week alone point to a web that won’t know what hit it.

It’s perhaps obvious that I’m tremendously proud of my time at Mozilla, and I feel incredibly fortunate for the opportunities that my work there has provided. Not only did I get to help build great software that changed the web, but I got to do it with brilliant, kind, generous people from all over the world. Looking back at those six years, I wouldn’t want to have to pick out a highlight, so I won’t. I will say that if I had to go back in time, I would definitely do it all over again.

Thanks, Mozilla.

what’s next

I’ve now finished up at Mozilla, after a hectic and heart-rending last two weeks. I’m going to take October off to recharge, but I’m already quite excited about what I’m doing next.

On Nov 7, I’ll be starting at Facebook, where my journey will begin with the amazing Facebook engineering bootcamp. It’ll be a pretty different experience for me, no doubt. Of course, my thinking about the web was very much shaped by my experiences at Mozilla and, without speaking for my soon-to-be employer, that thinking is likely a large part of why they were interested in me in the first place.

Throughout my conversations leading up to my decision to join Facebook, I was consistently impressed by the depth and passion of the people I spoke with, from the executive team to the former Mozilla intern who gave me a coding test. I’m going to have a lot to learn, since I haven’t done large-scale computing in half a decade, but I’m really looking forward to pushing the web forward from the other side of the wire.

But yeah, first 5 weeks of vacation, the longest I’ve had since I started professional software stuff in 1992!

daddy’s home

I’m back at work today for the first time since life changed completely and wonderfully two weeks ago. Thanks to everyone for their congratulations, support, and good wishes; they are very much appreciated by all three of us.

I have a pretty good-sized backlog of mail, and I suspect it’ll take me most of today to get through it, but if you are waiting for a response from me and don’t get something by the end of tomorrow, you should feel welcome to send me a gentle reminder. I will be on IRC and IM for your gentle-reminding needs.

In the interim, you can entertain yourselves with cute baby pictures:
Random cuteness

Happy New Resig!

Hot, or at least warm, on the heels of our addition of Mark Finkle to the Mozilla Corporation developer relations team, I am pleased as punch to announce that John Resig is sidling up beside Mark to add some more firepower to our developer support capabilities. John is an accomplished writer of both code and prose, and seems pretty fired up about putting those twin gifts to work in service of developers, add-on and web-stuff both. He’s jresig on IRC, and as with Mark and Sheppy you’ll see his fingerprints all over our developer support story in the weeks and months to come.

John’s first day was yesterday, but I was still clinging to the last fleeting hours of my Christmas vacation, so I’m a little late with this announcement. He appears to already be drinking ably from the Mozilla fire-hose, and scheming away with Mark on various plots for web domination, so my tardiness seems to not have impaired him too much!

he’s from state college, and he’s here to help

Good evening, Mozilla world. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to Mark Finkle, who joins our intrepid Mozilla Corporation ecosystem team on this very day. Mark’s got a ton of software development experience, he writes very well, and he shares the neurochemical defect that makes me really excited about helping people build their own great stuff on top of our great stuff. You’ll certainly see him and his work on IRC, in the wiki, and on our newsgroups/mailing lists soon, if you haven’t yet had a taste. I’m not saying that the Spiderman theme song was directly inspired by his new role here at Mozilla, but it’s hard to deny that wherever there is an extension development hang-up, you may indeed find him there.

Ours is a daunting community to join, tantamount to learning a new language while riding a unicycle across lava, but I have the utmost confidence that he’ll be up and running in a terrifyingly short time, and before long we’ll be wondering what we did without him. In the meantime, if you should see him wandering the source tree looking slightly dazed, please offer him refreshment — his manager is a bit of a dork, and that can be a serious burden to bear.