Lunchtime brown bags

Over the Summer I’ve come to organise quite a number of events in Mozilla’s London office. Early Summer we started doing lunchtime brown bags, where staff give a 10 ~ 15 minute informal talk about what they are currently working on or a topic of their interest.

Mihai Tabara gives a brown bag about Release Engineering.

So far we’ve covered MDN’s Browser Compat Data initiative, been given a high-level introduction to Gecko’s graphics stack, learned what goes into releasing Firefox, and had conversations about how web compatibility came about and why it’s a necessary evil. We’ve been given insight into the Spectre security vulnerability (and become mortally terrified as a result of it), learned how TLS 1.3 is analysed and proofed, and been gobsmacked by the meticulousness of Firefox Accounts’ security model.

Organising these small events have had a markedly positive effect on office environment. People have told me they are finding the time to come in to the office more often because of them, and they’ve been great for introducing the six interns we’ve had in London over Summer to Mozilla and our values.

For me as the organiser, they take very little time to put together. My most important piece of advice if you want to replicate this in another office would be to not ask for voluntary signups: I’ve had far greater success conscripting individuals privately. The irony is that nearly everyone I’ve approached thinks that what they do is not interesting enough to present, but I’d say the list above begs to differ.