Lessons from Mozilla

John Lilly
john.jubjubs.net
May 30, 2009

WordCamp San Francisco
special end-of-day quote:




“Sleep” and I broke up a few nights ago.

     I’m dating “Coffee” now. She’s hot!
         ...
Lessons from Mozilla:
  7 insights, 2 problems
& some thoughts for 2009
Warning!!




            Your Mileage May Vary
First, some context...




                         about:Mozilla
about:Mozilla



   1. a global, open source project
   2. a community of thousands of creators
   3. a mission-oriented o...
alternatively...
or from steveyo on reddit (and my personal favorite):




          quot;Firefox is the most bumpy
      supermarket after...
about:Mozilla




                    Mozilla’s Mission:
                  To promote choice and
                innovatio...
the Web is too important...




                              seriously.

                              that’s it.
about:Mozilla

   •Mozilla project started in 1998 within Netscape
   •Mozilla Foundation started in 2003
   •approximatel...
Firefox Market Share as of 4/2009
Now...




           Lessons from Mozilla:
           7 insights, 2 problems
         & some thoughts for 2009
Insight #1




             Superior Products Matter
Look again at some big successes...




      All are known for
      being best-in-class
           for users
Without excellent experience &
 utility, the rest is meaningless
Insight #2




             Push (most) decision-making
                    to the edges
The Strongest Open Systems are Chaords




                                  1. distributed decision-making
              ...
Characteristics of Chaords (coined by Dee Hock)




   1. exhibit characteristics of both chaos & order
   2. regularly yi...
Mozilla is a Chaord



   1. high agreement on core values
   2. decision-making rests with module owners
   3. groups hav...
Insight #3




             Communication will happen
                in every possible way
             (so make sure it’...
People will communicate in every
      useful way possible
Wikis
Blogs (and especially, Other Peoples’ Blogs!)
Our main channels: bugzilla, IRC & newsgroups
Increasing: video, audio & chat
And very frequent real-life get-togethers
Key: make every conversation
      (re)usable by as
  many people as possible
Insight #4




             Make it easy for your
             community to do the
               important things
SuMo, QMO, SFx
Localization

                 Firefox ships in 72 languages;
               71 of them localized by volunteers


        ...
Our focus now (increasingly) is
    on making it easier to
     help others do more
Insight #5




             Surprise is overrated
Surprise is the
opposite of engagement
Goal is to increase the
“inner circle” of participation
Surprising to some
Goal is to have growing inner circle --
ideally everyone should feel included
Insight #6




             Communities are not markets:
                members are citizens
Citizens??




      Citizens are more than consumers,
           are more than bystanders,
          are more than stakeh...
Citizens!




            They are us.
            We are them.
The best citizens challenge
        the status quo,
     propose improvements
and make the conversation richer.
They don’t just make products better.
  They make them what they are.
Insight #7 (meta-insight)




            The key is the art of figuring
            out whether & how to apply
           ...
How??




        Experiment! Try things!

        Measure where possible.
There are real problems, of course
Problem #1




             Engaged citizens are noisy
Citizens are noisy...
                                              “The URL bar should          “Fitts’ says bigger
     ...
...and demanding...
...and contradictory...
...and vital.




     They help products & technology &
     organization make hard decisions in
                the righ...
Problem #2




             At scale, there are no maps
Actually, there are maps




     But they’re everybody else’s maps,
             and not really yours
dragons everywhere




http://en.wikipedia.org/
   wiki/Carta_Marina
Key is defining what you care about,
       and how to measure it,
and how to communicate litmus tests
Postscript




             2 Thoughts for 2009
Thought #1




             The Web is central
              (but at some risk)
Every browser is getting better on standards, JS performance, etc...




               But not at the same pace.
And this slower pace of change
creates real problems for developers
Thought #2




       Together, we’re all deciding the
          future of the mobile Web
                  right now
Is this what we want?




                                                    Traditional tight
                          ...
We can do better than this tethered model




                 On the Web,
       you don’t have to ask permission
Choices have consequences




             Which one do you want?
Questions & Discussion
lilly@mozilla.com
john.jubjubs.net
@johnolilly

All content CC-Attribution

Thanks & apologies & ma...
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Wordcamp2009 - Lessons from Mozilla

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it's a Keynote (.key) file of my WordCamp SF 2009 presentation -- mostly the same content as my Heise talk, but with a couple of extra jokes. :-)

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  • Wordcamp2009 - Lessons from Mozilla

    1. 1. Lessons from Mozilla John Lilly john.jubjubs.net May 30, 2009 WordCamp San Francisco
    2. 2. special end-of-day quote: “Sleep” and I broke up a few nights ago. I’m dating “Coffee” now. She’s hot! @CoryBooker (mayor of Newark, NJ)
    3. 3. Lessons from Mozilla: 7 insights, 2 problems & some thoughts for 2009
    4. 4. Warning!! Your Mileage May Vary
    5. 5. First, some context... about:Mozilla
    6. 6. about:Mozilla 1. a global, open source project 2. a community of thousands of creators 3. a mission-oriented organization 4. a public benefit company and subs 5. the maker of Firefox & Thunderbird
    7. 7. alternatively...
    8. 8. or from steveyo on reddit (and my personal favorite): quot;Firefox is the most bumpy supermarket after skittles and car.quot;
    9. 9. about:Mozilla Mozilla’s Mission: To promote choice and innovation on the Internet
    10. 10. the Web is too important... seriously. that’s it.
    11. 11. about:Mozilla •Mozilla project started in 1998 within Netscape •Mozilla Foundation started in 2003 •approximately 225 employees in 20 countries •40% of code contributed by non-employees •testing community of 20,000+ •current reach is more than 300 million users
    12. 12. Firefox Market Share as of 4/2009
    13. 13. Now... Lessons from Mozilla: 7 insights, 2 problems & some thoughts for 2009
    14. 14. Insight #1 Superior Products Matter
    15. 15. Look again at some big successes... All are known for being best-in-class for users
    16. 16. Without excellent experience & utility, the rest is meaningless
    17. 17. Insight #2 Push (most) decision-making to the edges
    18. 18. The Strongest Open Systems are Chaords 1. distributed decision-making 2. nodal authority 3. ways to route around http://upload.wikimedia.org/ wikipedia/en/d/d2/ Internet_map_1024.jpg
    19. 19. Characteristics of Chaords (coined by Dee Hock) 1. exhibit characteristics of both chaos & order 2. regularly yield surprising innovation 3. highly robust & scalable systems examples: the Internet, Visa, Wikipedia
    20. 20. Mozilla is a Chaord 1. high agreement on core values 2. decision-making rests with module owners 3. groups have distinct ways of working 4. many decision-makers outside the “official” org 5. communication is central
    21. 21. Insight #3 Communication will happen in every possible way (so make sure it’s reusable)
    22. 22. People will communicate in every useful way possible
    23. 23. Wikis
    24. 24. Blogs (and especially, Other Peoples’ Blogs!)
    25. 25. Our main channels: bugzilla, IRC & newsgroups
    26. 26. Increasing: video, audio & chat
    27. 27. And very frequent real-life get-togethers
    28. 28. Key: make every conversation (re)usable by as many people as possible
    29. 29. Insight #4 Make it easy for your community to do the important things
    30. 30. SuMo, QMO, SFx
    31. 31. Localization Firefox ships in 72 languages; 71 of them localized by volunteers Making it easy is a huge priority
    32. 32. Our focus now (increasingly) is on making it easier to help others do more
    33. 33. Insight #5 Surprise is overrated
    34. 34. Surprise is the opposite of engagement
    35. 35. Goal is to increase the “inner circle” of participation
    36. 36. Surprising to some
    37. 37. Goal is to have growing inner circle -- ideally everyone should feel included
    38. 38. Insight #6 Communities are not markets: members are citizens
    39. 39. Citizens?? Citizens are more than consumers, are more than bystanders, are more than stakeholders
    40. 40. Citizens! They are us. We are them.
    41. 41. The best citizens challenge the status quo, propose improvements and make the conversation richer.
    42. 42. They don’t just make products better. They make them what they are.
    43. 43. Insight #7 (meta-insight) The key is the art of figuring out whether & how to apply each of these ideas
    44. 44. How?? Experiment! Try things! Measure where possible.
    45. 45. There are real problems, of course
    46. 46. Problem #1 Engaged citizens are noisy
    47. 47. Citizens are noisy... “The URL bar should “Fitts’ says bigger be removed.” buttons are better.” “What’s with the dirty house?” “There should be “My mom doesn’t a preference setting.” “Nobody uses the “Add support for understand tabs.” ‘Go’ button.” BitTorrent.” “OpenID is the future!” “Everyone uses tags, “That’s great!” not bookmarks.” “I love tabs!” “The profile manager should be redesigned.” “Add support for Ogg Vorbis.” “That’s awful” “Closebuttons are better at the end of the tabstrip.”
    48. 48. ...and demanding...
    49. 49. ...and contradictory...
    50. 50. ...and vital. They help products & technology & organization make hard decisions in the right way.
    51. 51. Problem #2 At scale, there are no maps
    52. 52. Actually, there are maps But they’re everybody else’s maps, and not really yours
    53. 53. dragons everywhere http://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Carta_Marina
    54. 54. Key is defining what you care about, and how to measure it, and how to communicate litmus tests
    55. 55. Postscript 2 Thoughts for 2009
    56. 56. Thought #1 The Web is central (but at some risk)
    57. 57. Every browser is getting better on standards, JS performance, etc... But not at the same pace.
    58. 58. And this slower pace of change creates real problems for developers
    59. 59. Thought #2 Together, we’re all deciding the future of the mobile Web right now
    60. 60. Is this what we want? Traditional tight coupling between service, manufacturer & software http://flickr.com/photos/jaboobie/11686470/
    61. 61. We can do better than this tethered model On the Web, you don’t have to ask permission
    62. 62. Choices have consequences Which one do you want?
    63. 63. Questions & Discussion lilly@mozilla.com john.jubjubs.net @johnolilly All content CC-Attribution Thanks & apologies & materials borrowed from: Mike Beltzner, Chris Beard, the Mozilla Community
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