I block off a a bit of time each month as my #mozlove shout-out day. This is the day I try to blog, or write a couple of LinkedIn recommendations for community I am grateful for, amazed-by or otherwise I think you should know about! And so, I want to surface the story of Tanner today.
Tanner is a part of a core team contributing to Community Ops, and numerous other projects across Mozilla. Tanner has been a huge help to me personally, in tackling nasty server setup things. He is a true pleasure to work with. Tanner has also done a fantastic job as a Mozilla Rep, most recently helping with a Mozilla booth at SCALE 13x .
I asked Tanner what first compelled him to contribute:
At time I was sharing one computer with four others in my family, it was running Windows Vista. For some reason that I couldn’t figure out, Internet Explorer caused Windows to BSOD. I tried everything I could to fix my then-beloved Internet Explorer (I feel gross saying this). Eventually I gave up with it, and started trying out other browsers. For a while I used Opera, and really liked it. Then it too started causing some sort of problems, I don’t remember what yet. After a while, I remembered that one of my friends had told me about this program called Firefox, so I decided to give it a try. It was love at first sight.
I saw something interesting on the support page. It was run entirely by volunteers, and *I* could help!
I also asked him what was most rewarding, and found a kindred spirit in his response: ‘learning and teaching’.
Teaching someone just feels different than learning it yourself. My thinking is that if you are able to teach someone how to do something the right way, you have to be at least competent in what you’re doing, and that would say a lot about your abilities.
There are challenges in participation, and I asked Tanner about those as well:
- Avoiding Burn-out (there are only 24 hours in the day and Tanner has admitted to being up at 3AM reading docs)
- Working ‘around the world’ cane be hard – finding time to collaborate with someone else on the other side of the world is challenging
- Managing relationships and handling disagreements is harder on the web than in person. ( I would suggest this is a skill-set all it’s own that will serve Tanner well outside Mozilla)
Being somewhat nosy, I am always curious about what family and friends know about our contributor’s time and about Mozilla in general. So I asked about that as well, and glad I did because this:
A lot of people do have trouble understanding how I’d do something that I’m good at for free. When people say that, I explain to them that Mozilla isn’t *just* Firefox, and I’m not doing it just because it’s fun, but because we have to “save the Web”.
Tanner describes himself as being from: “The Middle of Nowhere, USA, also known as Cedar Rapids, Iowa.” And so, if you are ever wondering where the Middle of Nowhere, USA is – I can now share that with you here:)
Tanner will be attending the University of Northern Iowa this fall where he will be studying Networking and Systems (although I expect he can probably do a bit of the teaching a well!).
When he’s not being a volunteer super-hero, Tanner loves to go back to his love of Marching bands and Drum Corps – with YouTube of bands being his favorite viewing choice. (note to Tanner: I used to drum in pipebands, we should jam sometime soon)
I’m grateful for a community that includes Tanner, and so grateful he took the time to answer my questions!
Consider writing a #mozlove blog or tweet for someone you appreciate!