Friday 13 February 2009

I Am an Opera Singer

“I am an opera singer / I sing in foreign lands / Most people seem to know my name / Or at least know who I am” – Cake

Today marks a major passage in my life, and I’d like to share it with you. At 13:00 hours on Friday the 13th of 2009, I formally became an employee of Opera Software, ASA. My position is Web Evangelist, working on the Developer Relations team. I will be based out of the Mountain View, California office, although I will continue traveling as well as doing workshops and conferences. My job description is exactly what my job has always been: evangelism and outreach for standards and an open, accessible, multi-modal Web.

What is astonishing to me is that for the first time in my career, I am with a company that specifically empowers its employees in regards to open standards. This is quite the change of pace, for as many readers are aware, through my former roles as a group lead for the Web Standards Project (WaSP) and then as a standards consultant to Microsoft, standards evangelism has been an uphill battle with no rest for the weary, no aid for the wounded.

Not so at Opera. I’m working with some of the most talented folks in the business. Henny Swan, Chris Mills, Bruce Lawson, Jon Hicks, and of course Hakon Lie and so many others. The contributions these people have made to the industry and to the world are a light of inspiration, and I am very honored to be part of a company whose core creed is an open Web, and whose developer motto “Follow the Standards / Break the Rules” fits a personality like mine perfectly.

My role at Opera will largely be meeting with people, providing resources on Web standards, organizing events that promote open Web and best practices, and essentially evangelizing the essential truths of the Web that I’ve always held dear: Platform agnostic, user agent agnostic, ability/disability agnostic. Anyone. Anywhere. That’s the vision, and now I have the resources, support and security of a company whose time has truly come.

Of course, this is also the same day that it’s been outed that Microsoft IE8 will blacklist sites where the IE7 compatibility button is used by many people. This means that if you want IE8 readiness, you have to get ready now, or you run the risk of having your sites be on this blacklist, forcing IE7 rendering even if you authored the sites using open standards. So while this post is a personal announcement, anyone working on the Web please read up on this issue and pre-empt a potential blacklist on your site.

People who know me and know the history of how the IE8 opt-in opt-out switch got all, well, switched around will see immediately the irony of today’s events. I really, really want to maintain the belief that when Microsoft made that impressive and unprecedented leap into shipping standards mode as default, that that meant something. That was the result of a lot of hard work, a lot of pain, a lot of fury, and at least one person (me) who is now sitting here wondering if anything I spent the last year and a half of my life doing was helpful. That I am a mix of emotions right now is logical, because I know so many good folks within the IE team who believe. Their struggle is a difficult one and I don’t envy them, but I think this is a significant wrongdoing. A dramatic analogy in my mind is hey, so if I keep stepping on the brakes in my car, eventually I’ll opt out of them working?

All the more reason I’m counting my blessings that I’m with a company that wants standards. I don’t want to battle anymore. I want no more browser wars. I want peace in all the land. Is this an impossible dream? I don’t know, but for the first time in my adult life I am actually an employee to a company other than my own, a decision that was not made lightly. In fact, this is the third time I’ve been offered a job at Opera, so I’m going to remain an optimist, do my vocal exercises, and continue singing for a useful, beautiful, meaningful and interoperable Web.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 21:04 | Comments (84)

Comments (84)

  1. Congratulations, Opera… 😉
    And Molly, God bless you in your new role.

  2. Congratulations on the job and thanks for the post. I’m a new reader of your site and will coming back to read more soon.

  3. Congrats, Mols!
    Does this mean you’ll be moving to the Bay Area? 😀

  4. Welcome to the team! Let’s all sing Opera with our style! Mine is more samba oriented I must say… =P

  5. Great to have you on the team, Molly!

  6. Welcome to the Opera family!

  7. Molly,

    Great to hear you’re joining the Opera team. Opera is my favorite browser and, as I’m sure you know, has a long history of innovation and standards support. Seems like a great fit for you.

    I love the Cake quote! Very à propo.

    Your first assignment is communicate to the Opera dev team this developer’s desire to have support for box-shadow and border-radius, background-gradient, CSS animation, and the other fantastic features of the WebKit rendering engine. 😉

  8. Congratulations man. 🙂

  9. Congratulations wonder women. As a contractor for 25 years who took a full time job 1 1/2 years ago I understand. I love it here at ARRIS and it is mutual. It seems more like playing than working. Good luck and keep evangelising!

  10. Congratulations to the web, to Opera and not least to you Molly for this fantastic career step! Positively amazing things will come out of this, I’m sure! 🙂

  11. Molly,

    Welcome! It is great to finally have you as a part of the team. Web standards are very dear to us all and something we are willing to do battle for. The Web is too important to be restricted in its reach.

  12. Congratulations! I also joined opera china as an engineer after 3 days at 16th 🙂

  13. //Congratulations WOman.//
    Ooops, excuse me, Molly.
    Bad side of posting comment without know well about the writer. 🙂

  14. Congratulations Molly! That’s great news for you, Opera and the web.

    I met my wife (Friday) January 13th, 1984. We’ll celebrate our 25th anniversary this summer along with the birth of our first grandchild. Nothing unlucky about that!

    Best wishes.

  15. Congratulations and wish you all the best!

    I agree with you, even I want no more browser wars. I believe that today everyone knows what’s important and what can not be ignored. The responsible people are already working hard. It’s just that some are recovering and some are growing 🙂

  16. Congrats Molly! I think that both you and Opera are fortunate to have each other. It sounds like a good fit.

  17. Congrats, Molly!!! Great news!!! Trying to reach you…..could you please contact me when you can….
    Thanks!! Deb

  18. Nice, I use opera mini only my phone 🙂

  19. Congratulations Molly! It is a great Company!

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  21. thanks, very nice

  22. Congratulations, Molly. Opera’s been my favorite for more than a few years.

    Really, I only have two problems with it (and the issue may be due to the occasional site I visit): sometimes Ajax-y displays don’t display correctly.

    And I’d love folders for my RSS feeds.

  23. Wow! Good for you! You’re an inspiration to us all.
    See you in Austin!

  24. I think it’s kind of sad about you no longer being with Microsoft. There was so much potential for good work there, if you could get through to the thick-skulled business types. With Opera, I fear it’s “preaching to the choir.”

  25. My Dearest Darling Molly, Opera with Molly will certainly be a much better thing than it was without. You have, of course, my best thoughts and prayers as you go into this new endeavor, as you have in all others. All My Love, Mark.

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  27. very nice – thank you

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