Monday night I went to the Time 100 2006 dinner, invited as a 2005 honoree. There were some changes from last year, and the one that interested me the most was the response to Firefox. The event starts with a cocktail and mingle period, then moves to dinner and a dinner program and finishes up with more mingling afterwards for those who choose to stay. So one gets to talk with whoever is at one’s table and whoever one meets at the pre-dinner or post-dinner mingling.
Before I went, I wondered whether I would end up introducing myself to someone I really should know, and whether it would be awkward. The moment did come, but it turned out to be funny rather than awkward. I was talking with a few folks when another group came by. One person spoke up and said “Hi, I’m Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia.” “Hi, Mitchell Baker, Mozilla.” Lots of laughter. You’d think we would have meet before but we never had.
This year I felt much more comfortable wandering around, introducing myself and asking people their name and how they came at be at this event. In doing this I found that the number of people who recognized Firefox was much higher than last year. Last year I found that the younger crowd recognized Firefox. This time the recognition level across all groups was much higher. Not everyone recognized Firefox. But often I didn’t need to explain it; often someone else in the group would speak up first. It’s a good change.