Mozilla

Posts Tagged with “goals”

Mozilla Foundation Statement of Direction

March 6th, 2007

One major set of goals for the Mozilla Foundation Board of Directors is to articulate a crisp Statement of Direction for the Mozilla Foundation, to engage in a dialog with the Mozilla community about direction, and to define the overall scope and increase the visibility of Mozilla Foundation activities.

The first iteration of the Statement of Direction is below. It is intended to be one step more specifically focused on the Mozilla Foundation than the Mozilla Manifesto. I expect to end up with (a) a statement of principles regarding the Internet we hope to see that many groups can use to verify our activities are on the right path — the Mozilla Manifesto; and (b) a Statement of Direction from the Mozilla Foundation as to how the Foundation itself will advance the Manifesto. And then we can turn to the specific actions to be undertaken.

1. The mission of the Mozilla Foundation is to create and promote the Internet as an open platform that supports the principles set out in the Mozilla Manifesto.

2. As described in more detail in the Mozilla Manifesto, an open Internet is one where:

  • People can participate at all levels, with low barriers and without the need to “buy into” a centralized agenda, data source, hardware or software system
  • Open standards are the basis of key technologies
  • Open source software is available for key activities
  • Open alternatives for key Internet activities are competitive with closed, proprietary offerings and with desktop-centric offerings
  • Heterogeneous environments are possible – we don’t all need to use the same hardware, software or data sources
  • People can make and implement decisions about their online experience and their data

3. Building an open Internet requires many actors. The Mozilla Foundation will focus on the areas of our particular strength and expertise.

  • The Mozilla Foundation’s DNA is in building software and building communities; in essence we are building part of the Internet itself.
  • We build (software, communities, the Internet we dream of) by empowering people to help themselves and to work together in a loosely coupled way with maximum transparency.
  • We work primarily in areas that touch individual people. We can think of this as the “user experience” aspect of the Internet.

4. The Mozilla Foundation seeks to effectuate these goals both by building broadly-used products that impact Internet development as a whole, and by empowering people to act in highly decentralized, experimental ways. The work of creating general consumer products that influence broad aspects of Internet development is currently handled through the Mozilla Corporation. The Foundation plans to increase its direct involvement in other activities which enable people to participate in the development and enjoyment of the Internet in a decentralized, self-directed manner.

5. The Mozilla Foundation can do this through any number of programs: grant making, supporting other projects, being the “voice” for users, increasing its operational activities, etc. We’re not yet sure which of these is the right thing, though there is a very strong interest in grant-making, prizes, etc.

6. The next steps are refinement of this statement, and putting the relevant resources in place to develop more specific plans and then to execute well.

Technology and Non-Profits

June 1st, 2005

One of my Mozilla-related goals for the last year or so has been to increase the outward focus of the Mozilla project. For years we’ve been so focused on getting a great applications shipped that we’ve been extremely inwardly focused. I’ve been spending a chunk of time lately meeting people who are in and around the Mozilla space, trying to get to know people involved in the consumer side of the Internet and people interested in the non-profit world. (I know a lot of the enterprise folks already, thus the focus on the consumer side.)

I had lunch yesterday with Jim Fruchterman. Jim leads the BeneTech Initiative, a non-profit high-technology organization dedicated to building sustainable technology initiatives that address social problems. I met Jim courtesy of Kevin Lenzo, open source speech technologist from Carnegie Mellon University, who had been exploring uses of open source speech-related technology for providing greater accessibility in software. BeneTech has a range of technology projects in the literacy / accessibility and human rights areas.

Talking with Jim is always great. He’s got great experience with the organizational issues that affect a non-profit. Non profits are subject to both various state laws that govern the operation of a non-profit and various federal laws that govern the tax exempt status. It’s a complex area with only a few technology organizations represented. Any many of these — such as the Apache, Perl and Python Foundations — employ very few if any full time people. So finding someone with a number of years of experience in this area is wonderful.

Jim is also experimenting with different ways of generating funds to sustain these technological projects since traditional models don’t fit. And of course he’s thinking about how to generate funds and remain true to the mission of the project. These topics are very similar to those I think about with regard to the Mozilla project. I’m always drawn in by the process of understanding different perspectives and figuring out new ways to do things and Jim and I get together periodically to trade notes. Yesterday’s conversation was particularly interesting coming so closely after the venture capital focus of last week’s Women’s Technology Cluster awards ceremony. In that case the organizational model is known and the issue is finding the people, technology and market opportunities for successful execution of the model. Jim is trying to do something different, meeting needs of groups of people who aren’t likely to ever generate large return on capital investment. These problems — literacy, accessibility, human rights — need solving, and I hope we find some ways of making our vast technical capabilities available to those who need them so badly and can pay so little.

So much for resolutions!

June 1st, 2005

So far I haven’t done very well with either of my general goals for 2005 — I haven’t been consistent on writing about what’s going on in my part of the Mozilla Foundation world and I haven’t had any time for the trampoline. I’m going to try to make some progress on the former and officially give up on the latter for a while longer.

Two Interactions with Time Magazine

April 11th, 2005

A while back (in early January I think, but I can’t be sure) we hosted a writer for Time Magazine at the Mozilla Foundation office. He talked mostly (maybe exclusively) with Ben Goodger and me. would have preferred that this discussion included a set of other people who are central to the project, but we don’t make these decisions. We talked a bit about the community of people that makes the Mozilla project happen. (We try very hard to describe this community to the press, although this focus doesn’t always appear in the resulting stories.) This writer noted the importance of community and was clear that we wanted to know something about me as well.

This made the interview quite different from almost all others. (Esther Dyson is the only other person I can recall who has been quite so interested in the mindset and motivations of a non-programmer like me, and my discussions with Esther were several months after the Time Magazine interview.) The writer asked a set of questions about motivations, approach and leadership techniques that had not been asked before. Some were broad — I remember something about whether my participation in the project reflects a specific view of human nature — and some more specific. It was a thoughtful interview for me.

This made me very interested to see the piece, as I had no idea how it would turn out. But it never ran. The interview was midweek, the writer said he would have the piece done by Friday, and it would probably run the next week. But it didn’t, nor the week after. We never found out why, that’s just how things are.

Months later I was in the office during the early morning mail delivery time. First I open the door for a UPS delivery man with a package for a Mozilla Foundation employee. A few minutes later I did the same for a FedEx delivery. It is astonishing how much junk mail we receive at the Foundation. There appears to be an entire industry that scans some set of databases and does mass mailings to anything that looks like it might be a business and spend money. So a lot of dealing with mail involves sorting this stuff out from the legitimate mail. I looked at the FedEx package skeptically. It was addressed to me, from Time Magazine. “Right.” I thought. “What kind of attention-grabbing scheme is this?” Then I noticed that the return address had an intelligible name. (Of course FedEx requires this, but in the context of expecting advertisements it was a surprise.)

I opened the FedEx package. Inside was a red envelope with my name printed on it. Inside the envelope was an invitation to a dinner at Lincoln Center somehow related to something called the Time 100. That’s it. No explanation. Just the invitation. Browsing the Web I found information about last year’s Time 100 and the Time 100 for 2000. (Have I said before how much I love the Web?)

I thought “I’m on someone’s list of people to invite to fill tables.” Whose list could I possible by on? Rafael, our marketing guy, had a different take. “You’ve been nominated — I’ll bet you’ve been nominated.” I didn’t believe it in the slightest. So Rafael got the job of tracking down the person at Time Magazine and figuring out what was going on. A day or two later he came back to report that he was right, I had been nominated. The list would be announced in a couple of weeks.

Then the list appeared online. Blake Ross pointed me to it and yes, I was included. It’s a fine description (except for the late-40′s part, which seems an exaggeration to me, but that’s life). It’s not the interview from my first interaction with Time Magazine. I would still like to see that piece. But this brief description has a good focus on the Mozilla project and the value of the project, which is good to see.

In guiding the Mozilla project I find myself thinking about topics, organizational dynamics and goals in a way that is new and challenging. The existing analytic frameworks — how does one lead an organization to accomplish goal X — are helpful but do not fit our setting. The Mozilla project combines a set of passionately committed individuals with commercial and business players to produce great technology. Our goal is the health of the Web itself — the client side anyway (that’s ambitious enough). Choice on the client side, combined with innovative technology to bring the myriad possibilities of the Web to citizens and consumers everywhere. We achieve this goal partially by creating choice and great technology, and also by appealing to consumers so they take the extra steps to adopt it.

It’s a new and exciting task. The Mozilla project has always broken new ground, building on Open Source traditions, learning from our peers and bringing our own experiences, creativity and drive. The Web is still young. It’s a fundamental piece of the digital world, and something as seemingly mundane as one’s choice of Web browser software makes an enormous difference in the long term health of the Web. Mozilla Firefox gives people that choice, provides a Web browsing experience that people love, and demonstrates that the commitment and dedication people bring to the Mozilla project makes a difference.

It takes constant inventiveness to guide the Mozilla project. Fortunately that challenge is met by the enormous number of creative people within the project. At some point I assimilate the various needs and goals and try to create an over-arching framework in which people can be successful. This is always done in close collaboration with Brendan Eich, co-founder of mozilla.org, technical lead for the project and my anchor for making sure the project stays on course. That assimilation is a personal challenge as well, driven by the goals of the Mozilla project, the vitality and dedication of our community and the quality of people drawn to the project. Altogether it adds up to a sense of great responsibility, of enormous possibilities, and of great good fortune to be involved.

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