Mike Shaver: Thanks!

Mike Shaver has done as much as anyone on the planet over the last ten years to make and keep the Web open, free, and awesome. That’s no joke, not a typo, not an exaggeration. The guy has done a lot, and I’m incredibly thankful for his contributions — they’ve just been astonishingly broad, durable & meaningful.

He announced today that he’s leaving Mozilla after working there the past 6 years in a variety of roles (and he’s been involved even longer, since before Mozilla.org even existed). His absence will be felt acutely by everyone, I think, but his fingerprints are all over the place, and all over the project, and they will be forever – the way Mike thinks is pretty well part of the DNA of the company and project.

On a personal level, I really liked working with Mike – he’s smart and humble (sometimes!) and thoughtful – he routinely challenged (and continues to challenge) the way that I thought about problems both on a micro level and more importantly at web scale. He’s been involved in too many technology strategy decisions to count, always working for the betterment of the open web, even when it was inconvenient for him and Mozilla. (or maybe especially then!)

And he affected my framing of the problem deeply – I remember one day a couple of years back when we were talking about some market share point, thinking about how incredibly, insanely competitive the browser technology landscape was – and he said to me: “Look, this is the world we wanted. And this is the world we made.” Wow. Exactly right. He taught me so much about how enormous an impact a group of dedicated people can make.

I quote him a lot when I talk with entrepreneurs of all stripes. I say this: “Figure out the world you want, and go make it that way.” That’s the essence of entrepreneurship, and I think it’s the essence of Mike.

For my money, that’s the best advice anyone can give anyone else, and the best lesson I really, deeply learned from Mike.

Mozilla has been incredibly lucky to have amazing engineering management leadership over the past few years, from Schrep to Shaver and now Damon – just incredible leaders, and the loss of Mike will be obvious, although he’ll undoubtedly stay involved in the larger project.

But for myself, I just wanted to give Mike a very public thank you, and to say that I can’t wait to see what you do next.


  1. I know… one telling sign is that every single candidate I interview where I *really* want this person to work at Mozilla there is always a bit of schrep, shaver, mitchell, lilly, brenden et al that I bring up due to wanting this person to be on the same team as this person. @shaverfacts – there are no words to describe the splendiferousness of shaver

  2. John, I’m touched. Thanks for all your support and shared wisdom during our work together, and for being a great friend as well.

  3. wow. Someone I know of shows up on hackers news! I heard that Mandela has joined Mozilla and then I find out that belztner left there and now you?

    I hope you the best in you new endeavours, Mike!

  4. shaver for me was the “Top Gun” in the sense of the movie. And the glasses.

    He’s amazingly bright, pushes you to the wall with a single air blow of his logic. He was also a core hacker, he did a lot of the lowest-level wiring in Mozilla. But always kept the big picture in mind. And he was humble enough to know the limits of his knowledge and skill, something many of us can learn from.

    But most importantly, he was often fighting for the good thing, technically and for open standards. All skill would be a waste, if it’s not fighting for the right direction, and he was usually a – very strong and influential – force in the good direction.

    Thank you a lot, Mike! We will all miss you deeply.