About me

Good-Bye OANDA / Hello Mozilla!

I gave notice last week.

This was the hardest resignation day I’ve ever had to go through. Not only because I noticed that people care about me and my work but more importantly to leave something so great behind.

I truly enjoyed working with, and learning from my amazing manager about product management, leadership, respect, opportunities, metrics, strategy and customers.

He defined product management as 3 main parts: customer, data, strategy.
I’ve always found those such great pillars to follow, and core ideas on how to tackle product management.


First product launch: OANDA API with API cupcakes!

But that’s not all. I’ve never worked at a company where leadership and management were so approachable, caring and listening. I already miss all the great conversations and insights I got from my manager, the CTO and CEO, well basically anybody there. I will forever cherish this, and do not ever want to cut my connections to them – Graeme and Ed, you promised me coffee time! I never had the feeling that anybody’s opinion is not valued or not considered, I never had to deal with any egos or had the feeling I couldn’t tell anyone (especially in senior management) if I felt their idea was not something we should pursue.

It’s actually pretty easy, everybody wants to be happy and productive at work, and the best way to achieve that is to work and have fun, together.

I’ve learned what constructive criticism, respect and loyalty mean. I’ve learned to build and form an opinion at work, discuss, feel different and be proud of it, and more importantly stand behind it, something that has not always been easy for me in the past.

I’ve learned so much here. This place is encouraging and positive and that’s what has always kept me there.

Thank you OANDA.

<obvious-shout-out>If you ever get a chance to work for OANDA, go for it, and apply, it’s a great bunch of people.</obvious-shout-out>

And, although I didn’t plan to move on so quickly after my enjoyable and productive 1 1/2 years at OANDA, there is a reason why I had to do it. It’s about growing and taking opportunities, and sometimes they come faster than you had planned.

Throughout my entire life, the web and its openness have always been a passion of mine. I’ve always been fascinated by the web and its possibilities; I’ve built many websites, have cursed about browser compatibilities so many times, built mobile websites for the CBC, lead a mobile/hybrid web app project at the CBC, have hosted many webperf meetups, haven spoken at conferences about the web, and last but not least I’ve written a book about web performance.

This is not to brag about my stuff, it’s more to explain my passion, and by now, I assume you’ve noticed a pattern: I believe in the (mobile) web and I am so passionate about it.

So, in a couple of weeks, I will start as a senior product manager at Mozilla. I can’t wait to bring Firefox on all mobile devices. I’m so thankful and grateful that I can finally put all my passion for the (mobile) web into an organization that truly cares for, and believes in the openness of the web.

My first week at work will be in Whistler, BC, where I will meet all my team members, well all Mozillians. After that, I’ll have my desk in the Toronto office.

I can’t wait!

I believe in the web, and I believe in mobile.

Let’s get started.

 

 

“Lean Websites” – The ultimate performance bootcamp

I’m extremely delighted to let you know that I’ve started to write my very first own book. The book is called “Lean Websites” and focuses on front-end web performance.

“Lean Websites” will help you understand today’s web performance hurdles and guide you through a fun performance bootcamp with the goal to shave off some unnecessary page weight and increase the speed of your site.

Check out the link for more details.

Warming up for Velocity 2013 in Santa Clara

I have attended several conferences in the last few years. The first one that really changed my “developer life” was the Velocity 2011 conference in Santa Clara. I have always been interested in optimizing and being diligent about the web, however, my learning during those three days in Santa Clara has influenced my every day life and the way I see performance.

I truly admire each and every speaker and attendee at the conference because they all share the same passion: Optimizing the web and making performance count. I am honoured to announce that it is my turn this year to give back to that same community of people and share what I have learned over the last few years and what I have been applying at Canada’s public broadcaster, the CBC.

Our talk “The Canadian Public Broadcaster On A Diet: Slimming Down For A Whole Nation“ will focus on (mobile) web fitness and how to “slim down”. Tips and tricks will be shared about how to stay in shape when developing (mobile) sites for millions of people.

My talented co-worker Blake and I will be talking about how we apply performance optimization at the CBC, one of Canada’s largest web properties with over 5 million pages. As a publicly funded organization, all Canadian eyes are on us making sure we stay on budget and deliver quality and optimized content to users.

While Blake will be talking more about the backend, server and CDN aspects of performance optimization and tips, I will be sharing information about how we optimize and tweak performance from a frontend development and automated deployment perspective, basically – how to get and stay in shape.

Don’t worry; this definitely will not be your typical boring and horrifying boot-camp experience! Our talk will utilize fun and catchy analogies to explain the weight and performance of pages. I will be your honest CBC “fitness trainer”, telling the audience about the page weight of our sites on multiple platforms, how we measure performance and set budgets. However, putting our content on a scale will tell the truth: a content breakdown of our pages will help the audience understand how content is structured and where we can “slim down”, but also where a fitness routine cannot help.

Keep us company while we share some insights about setting up our own HTTP Archive instance as a tool – or how I would describe it: the BMI of web sites – to compare our own weight to the public HTTP Archive instance. We will share some queries from our HTTP Archive database to help identify bottlenecks, and we will tell you about how we discovered problems with some unnecessary weight that we thought we didn’t have.

Additionally, sweet and dangerous temptations will be placed in front of your eyes, the kinds that we all have to deal with when creating high traffic sites, including, 3rd party scripts that could significantly harm the performance of our sites when not properly implemented. We compare client-side versus server-side 3rd party implementation. We will also reveal the amount of improvement we saw in load time once we turned off all ads on our mobile touch site for a weekend.

During our talk, you will also hear about our fitness stack regarding how we monitor our fitness level, and why it is so important to stay on a strict exercise schedule and avoid gaining too much unwanted weight, which can happen without even knowing it. If you want to exercise and stay in shape, there are tons of great tools out there to help you achieve that. We will cover how we organize and optimize our sites, our releases and deployment and how easily you can include tools in your deployment process to automate performance optimization.

If you want to know how we use RUM in combination with synthetic testing, and what our RUM numbers reveal, then you shouldn’t miss out on our talk.

Lastly, we will explain the challenges that we have faced, as the national news broadcaster in a world of ever changing news, with the potential for a breaking news story at any moment, that could drive our traffic to the roof, and how we need to respond to that.

Come join our talk and if you like, wear your favorite running shoes because you never know, you might want to start exercising right after.

We look forward to meeting you all!

More details to our scheduled talk and location: http://velocityconf.com/velocity2013/public/schedule/detail/27973

My contribution as a female tech speaker – Living the minority

I love talking about, and listening to the things I am passionate about (who doesn’t?). I love sharing my knowledge and learning about others. I love conferences. It’s a great place to learn new things, validate your knowledge, connect with like-minded and come back home with a bunch of things you want to try out and work on.

So it happens that one of the things on “my list of things to do in life” is/was to present at a conference. I happily and proudly checked this off last weekend.

I had the pleasure to speak with a smart colleague at FITC’s “Web Performance and Optimization” conference in Toronto, this past weekend.

Our topic was similar to the one we submitted (and got accepted) to the O’Reilly’s Velocity conference in San Clara this summer. I’m so beyond excitement to be presenting similar things (and more) to all those great and talented web performance enthusiasts in a few months.

Allow me to give a brief recap of the presentation from last Saturday – the way I experienced it.

It was a small conference, around 70 people attending, probably ~7 of those attendees were women – that’s it, not more! Well, not a huge surprise to me, I’m used to that from my time as a Computer Science student 10 years ago. But is the ratio still so drastic? Oh, and in addition, I was the only female speaker that day.

While I was listening first (and later presenting myself), I noticed that most male presenters had a very specific way of selling and promoting themselves – They all were very confident (Not jealous, good for you, boys!). A supportive and beautiful person on my side that day, full of great constructive criticism, noted something after I was done presenting. She confirmed something that I had honestly (and secretly) already felt, she said I could have been more promoting myself “..like the guys did”. It’s true, as the only woman speaking that day, I could have represented the female minority better by maybe emphasizing my successful web performance results to those 63 men and 7 women that day. Well, it’s not that I wasn’t passionate about my topic – Maybe it’s just that women share their success in a different, less self-selling way and/or are less confident.

I’d like to quote something from Geek Feminism now:

So! Getting women to submit content: easy? Um. When I’d talk to men about the conference and ask if they felt like they had an idea to submit for a talk, they’d *always* start brainstorming on the spot. I’m not generalizing — every guy I talked to about speaking was able to come up with an idea, or multiple ideas, right away…and yet, overwhelmingly the women I talked to with the same pitch deferred with a, “well, but I’m not an expert on anything,” or “I wouldn’t know what to submit,” or “yes but I’m not a *lead* [title], so you should talk to my boss and see if he’d want to present.”

Ok! So I guess I am not imagining all of this. It really seems to be true that men are generally more confident than women when it comes to work related areas where they can promote themselves.

The beautiful thing about life is that you (can) always learn and get better.

And to be honest, my observation at FITC’s conference has even more encouraged me to submit call for speakers forms! I enjoyed presenting! Like a lot – You ain’t stoppin’ me now.

Below the slides from our talk on Saturday

Additional resources in regards to women in tech and female speakers

  • https://plus.google.com/communities/101818001236662563704/stream/02ee47c3-6a09-4925-8467-e503c684c4ce
  • https://twitter.com/callbackwomen
  • http://www.facebook.com/ShePlusPlus
  • http://2012.jsconf.eu/2012/09/17/beating-the-odds-how-we-got-25-percent-women-speakers.html
  • http://geekfeminism.org/2012/05/21/how-i-got-50-women-speakers-at-my-tech-conference/

6 years later

I can’t believe 6 years have passed. I remember writing those posts below, still being on a temporary work permit in Canada, wishing to work for a bigger media company while learning lots during my first job in a media company.

Things change.

I’ve been part of the CBC mobile team since 2008, extremely proud of that and being more than ever interested in mobile web. I remember a friend from University worked for a mobile company six years ago and she was telling me that mobile will become big. I didn’t believe her back then and almost thought “who would want to develop for a crappy, small device like a phone?” Well, I proved myself wrong – There is no doubt anymore that mobile is not the next big thing, so here I am now, back as a big advocate for the mobile browser & creating mobile web apps.

I’d like to use this post to let you all know that I am back and hoping to post more valuable information here so you can witness how passionate and interested I’ve been in mobile web, mobile performance and the future of such.