#Mozlando2018: where GitHub and Twitter avatars are actual human beings; where it’s perfectly acceptable to call someone by their IRC nick instead of their given name; and where yelling Mike, Dave and John into a room could result in 50% of the individuals responding to you.
As a first time attendee, I’ve met many faces and [embarrassingly] forgot just as many names. It’s true — I absolutely suck at remembering names.
But on Monday December 3, 2018, this weakness really backfired on me.
I arrived Monday afternoon and begun navigating the maze known as the 12th floor to locate my room.
Completely exhausted, I eventually found it then stashed my suitcase and checked out the view before retracing my steps back down to the lobby, hoping not to encounter a Minotaur of sorts.
Little did I know I’d meet a very important one..
I hopped into the 12th floor elevator, oblivious that the lobby is on the 2nd floor. Not realizing that, I hit floor 1 and plunged further than I needed to go.
As the doors opened, an individual walked in that I had seen before. The cogs in my head screeched as my horrible memory tried to recall a name. In those initial moments of silence, I tried my best to scan through all of the Mozillians that I follow in my head.
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I remembered the face but not the name. I awkwardly pushed the correct lobby button before shuffling to meet his gaze.
“Hey! Are you a Mozillian too?” I nervously said, scanning his torso for a name tag (absent as my luck would have it).
“Yeah I am — are you?” he replied, rotating his body perpendicular to mine.
Shoot… Why couldn’t I remember his name? I had seen him before somewhere!!!
“Yeah I am.. I’m a contributor.. and this is my first All Hands.. I’m really excited!”
He replied “That’s great, I’ve been to a few before — you’ll like it”
My eyes lit up. I remember thinking “Just what I need— maybe I can dig for more details to figure out his name!”
“That is so cool! Are you a contributor as well?!?” I hastily exclaimed.
No, I’m the CEO
In that single moment, my jaw dropped, eyes widened and a surge of emotions engulfed my entire body.
Embarrassment and humiliation lubricated the screeching cogs in my head, anxiety filled the chambers in my chest and the timing of elevator doors chimed a perfect escape as I locked eyes with Chris Beard.
I remember thinking “This is the kind of stuff that happens in movies.. not to me.. 😫😭”
Luckily I wasn’t sent home but rather Chris walked with me to the main lobby, asking about which projects I’ve helped out with as a contributor.
I was beyond surprised that the CEO of Mozilla listened to my story and showed genuine interest. After exchanging a few words, we departed in different directions.
Unfortunately, the humiliation still remains and is something I’ll carry for a little while.
Lesson learned — assume anyone and everyone you meet is the CEO.