I think we are all in agreement that 2020 was horrible. I am cautiously optimistic that 2021 proves to be better. My intention with this post is to begin the habit of a yearly review or retrospective. I’ve also decided to keep these brief.

Before COVID-19

Before the global pandemic of COVID-19 had hit the world and we all had to go into lockdown, I took an international trip. I was really excited about traveling during 2020 and wanted to plan many other trips. I am immensely grateful for the opportunities to travel that I had during the beginning of this year.

Paris

A photograph of the Louvre Museum on an overcast day.
A photograph of the Louvre Museum on an overcast day.

I organized a small week-long vacation in Paris to unwind and combat jet-lag before a week of work in Berlin. I invited my sister and my girlfriend at the time, both of which speak a bit of French (lucky for me, as I speak 0%).

We had a wonderful time:

  • Visited the Louvre and saw some breathtaking artwork.

  • Went to a mysterious laundry themed bar that had a secret entrance behind washing machines. The drinks were okay and we had to sit on uncomfortable soap boxes (typical city stuff, lol). Overall a fun little experience.

  • We walked so much that I wore out my shoes and had to buy new boots! Treated myself to some Doc Martens. 😎

  • Drank amazing wine, ate delicious food —including escargots!

  • Visited the Catacombs of Paris which was an eerie experience. I have never been that close to human remains before, and the history is fascinating and haunting.

Photograph from inside the Catacombs of Paris. A stone plaque surrounded by human bones reads in Latin: Memento Creatoris tui in diebus juventutis tuæ, antequam veniat tempus afflictionis. The meaning in English is: Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble.
Photograph from inside the Catacombs of Paris. A stone plaque surrounded by human bones reads in Latin: Memento Creatoris tui in diebus juventutis tuæ, antequam veniat tempus afflictionis. The meaning in English is: Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble.

Berlin All-Hands

Berlin is a beautiful city. Very cold during January, but I was excited to visit and explore the culture. I went to Berlin directly from Paris for Mozilla’s (usually bi-annual) All-Hands.

Mitchell Baker, current CEO of Mozilla, speaking on stage.
Mitchell Baker, current CEO of Mozilla, speaking on stage.

2020 has been a difficult year for companies and Mozilla was no exception. There was an unexpected round of layoffs that affected many of my colleagues. I feel fortunate to have been unaffected this time.

Goodbye, MozMEAO

MozMeao: Mozilla Marketing Engineering and Operations, was the engineering team I was hired onto by Ben Sternthal in 2018. The entirity of my time at Mozilla has been working as a front-end web developer on mozilla.org (bedrock), contributing to our design sytem, Protocol, and adjacent Mozilla web properties when needed.

MEAO Team1  
front-end back-end / cloud ops
Alex Gibson Pmac
Stephanie Hobson Giorgos Logiotatidis
Craig Cook Dave Parfitt
Maxx Crawford Alan Alexander
Websites Team  
Name Role
Hoosteeno manager
Raphael Raue head of SEO
Dan Brown conversion rate optimization
Justin Kropp UI/UX design
front-end web developers from MEAO Team  
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Team  
Name Role
Hoosteeno manager
Dan Brown conversion rate optimization
Justin Kropp UI/UX design
Saptarshi Ghose data science

My time on the CRO team ended in August after a reorganization within marketing following the layoffs. The team was responsible for the rapid design and implementation of A/B tests across mozilla dot org and related web properties. We leveraged a third-party tool called convert and an in-house javascript library called traffic cop. The following is an example of a successful experiment I proposed and implemented.

A screenshot of a pop-up modal containing a form for a user to submit their email to receive a link to download the mobile browser. The concept is that the user would open this email on their mobile device.
A screenshot of a pop-up modal containing a form for a user to submit their email to receive a link to download the mobile browser. The concept is that the user would open this email on their mobile device.

Here is what was written about this A/B test in the August 3rd 2020 Weekly Marketing Update:

In July, Amy Churchwell suggested we pull the form out of the modal and put it right on the page (making it “inline”). This sounded like a good idea so we put it in front of some users in July. We learned this week that the inline variation outperformed the modal variation by 68.9%. Yes, you read that right: An inline form was sixty eight point nine percent better than a modal form at getting people to fill out the form.

According to the experiment report put together by our amazing data scientist Saptarshi Ghose:

Based on mozilla.org traffic volume between 6/26/20 and 7/23/20, we estimate that implementing the winning treatment into production on the /new page the de locale may lead to ~73K incremental send-to-device modal conversions per year.

I feel extremely proud of the work our small team did in such a small amount of time. This is just one example I had handy, but we were able to produce many impactful and tangible results with our experimentation work.

Hello, Search and Navigation

Before the holiday break, I joined Michael de Boer’s team to work on Firefox Search and Navigation.

Search and Navigation Engineering1  
front-end/UI back-end
Marco Bonardo Mark Banner
Dao Gottwald Dale Harvey
Drew Willcoxon  
Harry Twyford  
Daisuke Akatsuka  

My work now primarily revolves around the Address Bar. The terms “Quantum Bar”, “Address Bar”, and “Urlbar” are used interchangeably.

It is an incredibly exciting time to join this team as there is a lot of experimentation underway and on the horizon. I am excited to use what I have learnt during my time on the conversation rate optimization and websites teams to explore how to iterate on the Urlbar.

Selena Deckelmann, VP of Firefox Desktop, wrote an email to announce some moves around the organization. She wrote a small write-up about me:

Amy has worked for two years in Marketing Engineering on key parts of our MoCo website infrastructure, running experiments and optimizing the top of our download funnel. She’s joining the Search team at a critical time, and is looking forward to supporting experiments in the browser and some new technical challenges as we seek to expand our revenue opportunities.

Looking forward

COVID-19 has been devastating throughout the world. Quarantine has been challenging and exhausting. The political climate in the United States is distressing, to say the least.

Things I have been doing to attempt to cope:

  • Learning Japanese via duolingo and an online class at Portland Community College. I took Japanese for Traveler’s which focused on “survival” Japanese for tourists. I have signed up for Japanese Conversation 1 which begins in January.
  • Daily yoga practice. Yoga with Adriene is my favorite.
  • It’s a cliché, but baking bread. One of my best friends got me a dutch oven for my birthday this year.
  • I have watched the entirity of the original series of Star Trek.

Overall, I feel excited about this new project and to gain experience as a Firefox engineer. It has been a tumultuous year filled with uncertainity and fear. Right now I am focusing on putting one foot in front of the other.

  1. some team member attribution is unknown at the time of this writing.  2