Escaping the Conference Comfort Zone with Mozilla

I’m sitting at Ravensborne in London right now surrounded by insanely passionate people who are all dedicated to openness: in science, education, journalism, and most of all the web. While I know just enough to be dangerous about OER (thank you Eric Westendorf), I have much to learn about the rest.

It’s scary. Actually terrifying.

At my first TED in March at least I knew people. The topics were out of this world, but it still felt…comfortable. Not in the “I’m-at-the-same-level” way but rather the “I-can-easily-engage-in-a-conversation” way. Most conferences I attend are like this, as is the case for most people.

Here, everyone knows so much about openness and “making” and I feel like I know so very little. They also know one another — it’s like a family reunion, and I’m the distant cousin that no one has heard of or ever seen.

While the Mozilla team has been exceptionally welcoming (h/t Kevin Zawacki and H Paul Johnson), it’s still….uncomfortable. And the conference hasn’t even started, as an enthusiastic Mark Surman just pointed out to me.

This discomfort, I’m quickly learning, is a sign that learning is on the horizon. I’ve just had conversations with Amy Lee, Sisi Wei, and Mark Surman on the demise of professionalism (hmmm), ProPublica’s workers’ comp coverage (woah), and how first-graders in Toronto are first introduced to the web by policemen (whaaa?).

Sandra Upson with Sisi Wei and Amy Lee rehearsing on the main stage for Saturday night.

Here’s to more and what MozFest has in store.

Check out the Mozilla Festival publication and the MozFest tag to follow along and jump in.

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