A brief look at the ways Mozilla has enabled participation in the marketing we've done for Firefox, drawing lessons from our open source software development model. Delivered at the 2009 Influx Curated Conference.
I am the head of marketing for Mozilla Corporation. Our best known product is Firefox.
Since its initial release in 2004, Firefox has grown to become the second most popular Web browser in the world, with over 300 million active users and over 22% worldwide market share.
Even with that success, there remain great opportunities for education and awareness building.
Firefox is created by Mozilla, which is an open source based software developer that is 100% owned by a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation. Even as we’ve grown over the years to 250 employees, we have continued to welcome contributions from our community - as you can see by the amount of code contributed to our most recent release of Firefox by non-employees.
I’m here today at Influx Curated 2009 to share with you three insights we’ve gained about enabling participation in the marketing we’ve done for Firefox over the past five years.
Part of the emphasis on participation from the beginning was out of necessity. The original Firefox development team was a small team of engineers.
So when we launched Firefox 1.0 in 2004, we reached out to people in our user base who had skills in marketing and PR. One volunteer, a PR professional in Minnesota, came up with the idea to run a fundraising campaign to pay for a full page ad in the New York Times. The idea took off. In two weeks we raised a quarter of a million dollars from 10,000 donors, and ran a two-page ad that featured each one of their names as part of the design.
This experience - of empowering people to take action - leads to the first insight I wanted to share. That by pushing decision making to the edges, you will benefit from unexpected, independent action.
We ensure that action is coherent by making it clear what our baseline of values are. These five principles of open source participation are directly informed by the experiences we’ve built up, initially in our software engineering processes, that have enabled us to create products like Firefox. We’ve applied these principles to our marketing as well. Binding our work is regular, meaningful, transparent communication.
This belief in the value of communication underlies our belief that surprise is overrated.
An example of this is a small team of student volunteers from Oregon State, who decided they wanted to create the world’s biggest Firefox logo. Using open communication tools like wikis, IRC and mailing lists, they rallied their friends and support from a broad group of people to ...
... create this piece of art that graced a farmer’s wheatfield in rural Oregon. We’ve found that we do better across the board when we increase the number of people who can participate.
And we’re always looking for ways to allow everyone who is interested take part.
The final insight I’ll share is that as we’ve matured as an open source project and organization, we’ve come to realize much of our role within Mozilla is to build systems and ways for our community to do the important things.
In our marketing efforts, we focus the energy of 250,000 volunteers at our community marketing hub called SpreadFirefox.com.
SpreadFirefox is where we enabled 8 million Firefox users to participate in setting a brand new Guinness World Record last year for most software downloaded in 24 hours.
And we continue to look for ways to provide our extended community the tools and assets they need to share Firefox with others.
So five years into the Firefox adventure, we have grown as an organization and community, and while we face new challenges, we’ve never been more optimistic about the work and opportunities ahead.
I’ll leave you with a few observations. - I reject the premise that the rise of participation and user generated content will render the work of creative professionals irrelevant. I believe there is a continuum and a hunger for the expertise you as a creative carry by the new generations of people creating online. - And as the network of communication reaches more people and brings the effective cost of connecting down to zero, the opportunities to share your expertise with the world are limitless - I believe what’s required is for each of us to add to our unique set of skills and artistry the desire to teach, and couple that with the beginner’s mind of the student.
Mozilla a global, open source
project a mission-oriented organization a public beneﬁt company and subsidiaries 250 employees 40% of code comes from non-employees 20,000+ testing volunteers over 300 million users
Open source participation 1. high
agreement on core values 2. decision-making rests with module owners 3. groups will develop distinct ways of working 4. many decision-makers outside the “ofﬁcial” org 5. communication is central
Parting thoughts The value of
designers, marketers, and creative professionals can grow in a participatory economy On a networked planet, connection is frictionless Share your skills, experience and artistry - every one of us now has the opportunity be both teacher and student
Thanks firstname.lastname@example.org blog.numenity.org @mozpkim All
content CC-Attribution Thanks, apologies and materials borrowed from: Chris Beard, John Lilly, the Mozilla community Photo credits: “Email” http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/brunogirin/2484786902/ All other images from the Mozilla community