The Mozilla Foundation is looking for an Executive Director. We’ve been doing this for a while now. We suspected that the number of people who can understand and lead something of Mozilla’s complexity and history would be small and hard to find, and we were right. Here’s where we are.
We’ve had three or four meetings of the search committee where we talked to a number of potential candidates. So far we haven’t found a candidate the search committee thinks is close enough to introduce to the broader Mozilla group. (And of course, this process is sensitive for the candidates, so we only want to introduce candidates who we think have a reasonable chance of making sense for Mozilla.)
One important thing we’ve learned so far: It’s hard to find someone who understands both open source software and the consumer space. This is an area where Mozilla is truly a pioneer and this has been clear in the search process. We’ve talked to a number of people who understand software and open source software in particular. We’ve found that many of these folks are almost exclusively focused on things like conferences for open source developers, understanding the various open source stacks and so on. Most of these folks have not spent time living in a consumer world, or building consumer software or trying to talk to consumers. I think our massive contact with consumers is one of the unusual — almost unique — characteristics that Mozilla brings to the effort to promote openness, interoperability and participation on the web.
Another set of people understand consumers well but don’t have much background in software or open source development. Some of these folks are very smart, understand the Mozilla mission and could do a lot to help us bring the Mozilla vision to a broader set of people. For these folks the issue is generally: do they understand — or can learn – enough about Mozilla and Internet technology to be effective? That includes both being accepted by our developer community as a viable leader and understanding enough about Internet technology to be creative in our world.
We’ve come across a couple of people who seem likely to bridge this gap, although there have been setbacks. One potential candidate had to withdraw due to family circumstances. But we haven’t given up by any means.
I’ll try to do updates more frequently, and/or encourage another member of the Search Committee to do so. When we have a candidate who looks promising there will certainly be public discussion.