Why 2018 is the Year of the Creators

Making inclusive space in the developer world

Attendees testing out their A-Frame demo at Mozilla SF space

The 2017 Mozilla Developer Roadshow reached over 5,000 worldwide developers , in 57 locations throughout 16 countries, within the 10 months time span. Along with racking up impressive train, planes, and automobile miles, my team and I learned that the people who make, and maintain, this amazing thing called the World Wide Web are beyond what we have been labeling as “developers.”

Vitaly Friedman and myself at the Malaysia DevRoadshow

The Smashing Magazine team joined us for the Asia Roadshow portion and published some thoughtful comments on learnings and observations from local communities. In short, at the year’s end, we all felt that (pulling from some final thoughts from the article),“Nothing could be more inspiring than seeing how others work on that big playground that the web is. After all, we all share a common goal[…] .”

Charis Loke in December 2017 issue of Juxtapoz Magazine, painting in webVR at @CATPenang

We also published our DevRoadshow events to a wider audience, beyond the tech community, featuring artists (playing in A-Frame) in art & culture magazine, Juxtapoz. These are artists who are familiar with VR capabilities and now had the opportunity with us to try the A-Painter WebVR painting demo.

What does this mean for 2018? Well, the Mozilla Developer Roadshow program will continue to be managed under community leaders, as planned (stay tuned for updates on our Mozilla Hacks blog). And hopefully, we will see a lot more localized speakers and activities programmed that truly deliver regional needs.

For me, 2018 means expanding outreach efforts from those who code, to include everyone who creates on and for the web platform. And I am so excited about this new inclusive programming prospect; it means we include more women, more designers, more people whose goal is to make their work open and accessible on the web, as well as software engineers. Coders and creators, unite!

Our first foray into working with our creators community will be a WebVR speaker panel and interactive demo event at the Sundance Institute Film Festival, New Frontier project, in Park City, Utah. Our Mozilla team will collaborate with Nonny de la Peña, Founder and CEO of Emblematic, to show immersive VR content that addresses social advocacy issues, specifically around women in tech.

Read our Mozilla Emerging Tech blog post for more details on the event and why Mozilla and Sundance New Frontiers is the perfect fit.

I first met Nonny — VR pioneer, filmmaker, and immersive journalist — in December 2017 at our very own Mozilla San Francisco Common’s space as part of our Speakers Series program. What resonated most for me about Nonny’s work is how she is leveraging VR technology so viewers can experience moments of compassion and empathy within the creator’s story. It isn’t another shooter game, nor a passive 360 scenario view. It is an effort to connect and engage those looking, with the actual event. It’s not the first and only time, but it was a significant moment for me to finally meet a creator who saw technology showing humans how to feel about our existence with each other.

Discovering and collaborating with those who reach beyond the lines of code, such as Nonny, is our focus this year. We are producing our own moments through these creative experiential events, to shape the working relationship between developers and designers, instead of shoe-horning the effort within yet another developer conference.

2018 is the year where we will consciously choose to make space that includes more than the stereotypical perception of a developer for the web, and the world. Our journey begins now with the Creators Program.