Mozilla Festival (#mozfest) 2013

The Mozilla Festival (#MozFest), is an annual gathering of passionate thinkers and inventors from around the world who meet to learn from each other and help forge the future of the web. This year, 2013, over 1500 people both Mozillians and friends of Mozilla gathered together at Ravensbourne College in London to celebrate the festival.

As a sponsored rep, I was privileged to be a part of this awesome group of people. I arrived in London on the morning of Thursday 23rd, the eve of the event commencement. Unlike other Mozilla events I had attended before with airport pickup, this time we had to make way to the hotel but foturnately, we met with two previous year MozFest Attendees, Deb and Sayak who were very handy. Check in to the hotel was after Midday so we decided to take some time moving around London. Checked out parks and Buckingham palace then went out for our first lunch together. We returned to the hotel to check in and then headed off to the Webmaker Mentor monthly call at the Mozilla Space in London. The call was exciting because it was the first time that we were all in one place with just a few people in San Francisco and other parts of the world. After the call we went in for an orientation meeting chaired by Gunner. One highlight of the meeting was when previous attendees were separated from first time attendees and each previous attendee had to find one attendee and tell them about what to expect and answer their questions about MozFest. In five minutes, everyone was upto speed as regards what to expect in the next three days. After the meeting, there was another short reps debrief by Christos and then lots of eats, drinks and music till about 10pm when everyone departed to their hotel rooms.

The next day, Friday 24th, MozFest kicked off with an orientation by Gunner. We arrived to a full room on floor six of volunteers and reps. The next session was a series of keynotes by Mark Surman, Mitchel Baker and others then an introduction of upcoming sessions by Allen Gunner. After that everyone released to go to the floor with the sessions of their choice. The sessions included; Badges, Open data, Journalism, Mobile, Build+teach the web, Science, Privacy, Physical web and connect your city. I headed off to the 6th Floor to build and teach the web lead by Laura. What we did most of the day was preparing for the next day and in the evening had a science fair. It was amazing to see what people had done. I was most touched by a daughter and father who worked together to build a painting robot in just less than six months. The girl was not more than 12 years old. The science fair helped build momentum for the next two days of thinking and making. We concluded the day with a reps dinner at the 02 arena and retired to the hotel.

On Saturday 24th, the day opened with another series of keynotes. There after the making begun. I had the opportunity to visit other sessions like tools for researchers, open data and making a spectrometer. I also took some time to talking about the Reps program with various participants and making friends.

Finally, on Sunday the 26th, a few more key notes in the morning then final touches made on the makes on Saturday and presentation of best ideas generated. During the keynotes, I was particularly touched by the inspirational quote from Elon Musk, “Shall we be able to learn as fast as technology is growing”.

In conclusion, MozFest was a great experience for me; it’s been my longing to organize MozFest or a major maker party in East Africa. I believe that the experience has enlightened me as well as given me a starting point to organize one. I also had the opportunity meet amazing people from all over the world to collaborate with them. I hope I can participate in more forthcoming MozFests, My heart goes out to the Michelle Thorne, the MozFest team and the REPs program. Thank you all for the opportunity to participate in MozFest 2013 and for making it a worthwhile experience.

P.S. There’s lots more about the Mozilla Festival here: