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Posts Tagged with “goals”

Review of Summer ’08 Goals

May 14th, 2008

Here’s a review and evaluation of the “Summer 2008 Goals” that I described in my last post. Indented text is the material that was written two years ago.

Summer 2008 Goals

1. Make the Mozilla project a centerpiece of the Internet. Why? To make our values, our “meme” a fundamental piece of the Internet’s future

  • Contributors come to Mozilla to get involved
  • Developers come to Mozilla resources to build good web-related apps (akin to going to MS to build their type of app
  • Thought leaders come to Mozilla to see our technology and learn what we think
  • Security world comes to Mozilla to see how we do things
  • Users come to Mozilla because they trust us and our products
  • MoFo, MoCo, others well integrated for benefit of the project
  • Others follow our lead even if don’t support our values (e.g., IE7)

Background: If I were to have picked only one goal, this would have been it. We’re trying to move Internet life towards the views expressed in the Mozilla Manifesto. To do that we need to be a significant actor (not the significant actor, but one of the central actors) in Internet development. The more central we are the more we can promote an open, secure, distributed style of online life.

Evaluation: Wow. We’ve done this. I don’t mean that we’ve accomplished every example, the examples are just that, examples of indicators. Here’s where we are:

  • We’re a centerpiece of the user experience, with over 170 million people worldwide experiencing the Web through the Firefox ecosystem.
  • Mozilla’s development and testing communities have scaled along with our user growth.
  • Our outreach/adoption/marketing communities have expanded dramatically in both numbers and scope of activities undertaken.
  • Thought leaders, the press and the industry come to Mozilla both to see our technology and to learn what we think in areas as diverse as Firefox, Prism, Weave, mobile and even small projects such as our social project the “Coop” some time back.
  • People use Mozilla technologies to build products far beyond our focus; in fact people are positioning Mozilla technology as an entry into the “Rich Internet Application” realm even as we’re promoting the Web as the platform.
  • The “browser” is once again understood to be a fundamental piece of the Internet experience, rather than an esoteric piece of the operating system that people can safely forget about. As a result Microsoft has recreated a browser team and has made some improvements to its browser offering.
  • Technology thinkers, governments, developers and users are all interested in what Mozilla is doing.
  • Mozilla is a key voice in the development and adoption of web standards and is often used by website developers as a reference implementation for critical web standards. This is great for the Internet as it promotes compatibility for all browsers.
  • We’re a centerpiece in the awareness of open source and free software, where our consumer products are often the first open source/free software product that a consumer interacts with directly. Our increased contact with people in India, Brazil, Argentina and China reveal intense interest in Mozilla, and nascent communities eager for greater contact and involvement.

We’re not perfect of course and there’s plenty of room for improvement. The Mozilla Foundation and Mozilla Corporation (and now Mozilla Messaging) are still confusing to many people and need to be more understandable. Our security record is outstanding, and yet we still find our transparency leads to inaccurate press reports and analyses. Our planning processes are radically transparent and yet sometimes there is so much publicly available information that it’s hard to determine what is important.

We can’t lose focus and we can’t stand still, we need to keep moving forward. We start today from a different place than we did two years ago, and that is a tremendous achievement.

2. Increase Firefox usage to 30% of global browser usage. Why? To embed our values deep in the Internet and make the other goals far more likely.

  • Increase use in many locales
  • Increase use in current high-use locales through creative distribution
  • Must be done in ways that further our product vision, not at its expense
  • 30% not intended as absolutist or maximum target

Background: In this goal we set out one of the key drivers in making us a centerpiece of the Internet — Firefox usage. Mozilla is much more than Firefox, but it is the Firefox userbase that gives us such great mindshare and that causes the Internet industry to respond. There wasn’t any science in picking 30%. We thought other numbers (20%, 25%) might be plenty, but we felt comfortable that there would be no doubt at 30%. We also knew that we’re not done at 30%. There are plenty more people who would enjoy their online experience more with Firefox. We picked a number — and an extremely aggressive one at that — to have something concrete in our minds.

Evaluation: We set an audacious goal –something between doubling and tripling our then-current market share — and we’re well on the way to achieving it. We’re making great progress but can’t check off the 30% marker as done yet. Current third party reports show us at 29 or 30% in Europe and something like 22% worldwide. We have achieved the underlying goal, which is growing marketshare, mindshare and significance in the marketplace. Firefox adoption is growing constantly, and quite dramatically in specific locales. Our momentum has not slowed, despite the introduction of new browsers.

To be clear, I’d feel even better if we are at 30% worldwide. I’d feel ecstatic in fact. And ecstatic is where I want to be. :-) There’s still nothing magical that I know of about a 30% number, but it still feels like a number where we can be confident we can influence the quality of Internet life. We’re doing this today as we work our way to and beyond 30% — I’m eager to do more.

Some may see this in a different way, along the lines of: they set a number, they may not reach it by summer ’08, and that means failure. That’s an easy, black-and-white view, and it makes for great headlines. But it’s simplistic. That type of interpretation could be correct IF we had ever believed that the 30% number was special — that for some reason 28 or 29% meant one thing and 30% or 31% meant another. In some settings a number like 30% may well be the switch, where yes turns to no, or no turns to yes. That’s not our world. We knew 30% wasn’t magic; we said so in the goal itself: “30% not intended as absolutist or maximum target”.

3. Diversify browsing focus beyond Firefox today. Why? To increase innovation, improve user experience for new activities people do through the browser (e.g., creating and sharing content)

  • New add-ons, new types of add-ons, “official” extension packs, etc.
  • “.moz” services integration idea to improve the Firefox experience
  • Innovation and experimentation through the Mozilla Labs program
  • Increasing participation (making it easy to engage in)
  • “Expanded” browsing activities such as generating (standards-based) content, sharing content, and collaborating
  • This is not limited to “front-end” work; it includes the platform as well

Background: This was our marker to make sure we’re looking to the future. Internet life is changing as new capabilities appear online. We need to be relevant in these new areas to continue moving the Internet towards our goals.

Evaluation: We’re doing this. The initial steps of launching, understanding, and funding a set of critical new initiatives are done. We don’t yet have new end user product offerings for these areas; that work is in progress. We can’t claim that our impact in these other areas is of the scope of that of Firefox, but that wasn’t the goal. As in the first goal, we’ve used the examples as precisely that — examples of the kinds of things that could move the goal forward. We’ve focused on some but not all of them, and added others. Here’s what we’ve done:

  • Created a new team, new focus, new organization, and revitalized community participation and development for Thunderbird and Internet communications
  • Launched a serious mobile effort, created a team for the mobile work, done the platform performance and memory work to make it feasible now, developed prototypes and become an active part of the mobile discussion
  • Created Mozilla Labs as the home for experimentation, giving us a place to design and prototype
  • Started to deal with data, and doing so in a Mozilla way through Mozilla Labs
  • Launched exploration of deep integration of the browser and online services through the Weave project

Summary

The last two years have been extraordinary. Two years ago we were looking at at giant opportunity created by years of hard work combined with some good fortune. Today that opportunity is much larger. The scope has grown. The scale has grown. The breadth and depth of Mozilla contributors has grown. The responsibilities have grown. We should celebrate and marvel and be proud and feel honored.

We shouldn’t get cocky or spend too much time patting ourselves on the back. The challenges before us are real. The allure of closed systems is not gone. Some create closed systems because of the economic advantages of controlling a part of the Internet; some are drawn by the desire to control, some drawn unconsciously by good tools and seemingly simple, safe choices.

In the next few years we need to push hard to make sure new capabilities are developed in and for the open web, not limited to proprietary parts of the web. We need to continue to create the products people need for accessing the Internet. We need to use our voice to make open, transparent and participation ever more deeply engrained in the fabric of the web.

It’s time to identify the next big multi-year milestones: what can we do with our products and technologies to move the Internet towards a more open, participation environment? I’ll make some suggestions soon. In the meantime, ideas, proposals, thoughts are more than welcome.

“Summer 2008″ Goals

May 14th, 2008

As we approach the release of Firefox 3, it’s time to focus even more on the future. What can we do with our products and our community-based processes that moves the Internet further toward our vision? The release of Firefox 3 is a giant step forward, bringing improvements in almost every area that the browser touches. We’ll do more releases of Firefox, as there is plenty of room for innovation left. But it is not enough to think of our future in terms of Firefox and Thunderbird releases.

We should ask the bigger questions: how do we use our products and product development cycle to improve overall life on the Internet over the next few years? What can we do that moves the Internet towards our vision?

It’s a broad question. That’s a mark of success, and reflects the size of the opportunity before us. It’s also easy to imagine how a discussion could be interesting but fail to result in good goals. “Good” goals need to be broad enough to be meaningful over several years and yet formed enough to motivate action and lead to concrete tasks. Maybe we should think as far forward as the next ten years. But at the least we should think of the next two or three years.

We have some experience in doing this. Just about two years ago Mozilla employees spent some time figuring out what we would like to accomplish over an approximately two year period ending in mid 2008. Those goals became known as “Summer 2008 Goals.” This was an early attempt attempt to create long term goals and it wasn’t a public process. At the time it was hard enough to have this discussion even among the set of Mozilla employees. We were just learning how to talk about goals bigger than “fix these bugs for this release.” It required a change of mindset, longer term thinking and a bit of audacity to set difficult stretch goals. This time we’ll look at long term goals as a community process, involving the broad set of people who are critical to making our products great.

The Summer 2008 Goals are a good set of goals. They are good in their scope and good in expressing big ideas rather than specifying implementation plans. And even better, they were forward-looking goals when we set them and provide a means for evaluating the scope of the progress we’ve made to date. On the other hand, these goals aren’t measurement tools. Anyone looking for specificity will be disappointed. They are directional goals. They are intended to describe the kind and scope of accomplishment we wanted to see.

Broad aspirational goals are a good starting point because Mozilla as a project needs to motivate many thousands of people (tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands, actually) to move in the same general direction, most of whom aren’t full time, aren’t employees and may not even be known personally to the project leadership. We won’t know and don’t seek to control all the things people will do that make us more successful. Articulating a broad, commonly shared set of aspirations helps many disparate groups of people organize themselves and work towards very practical, concrete tasks that make our aspirations real. Sometime during the summer of 2008 I’d like to have a good draft of our goals for how we want to promote the Mozilla vision of the Internet through our products during the next few years.

In my next post I’ll look at the Summer ’08 goals and what we’ve accomplished over the last couple of years.

Reflections on 2007

December 31st, 2007

As we come to year-end, I’d like to note that we’re exiting 2007 in great shape. It’s been a good year in general, and a lot has come together in the last couple of months. The Firefox betas are exciting, at both the platform and UI levels, as well as the quality, documentation support and associated areas. We’re actually using automation to build them, rather than just wishing we could. The visual team is getting the touch for doing exciting things in the product pages in a way that reflects Mozilla (dare I say, robot, fun and Mozilla). Labs is active, mobile is growing. MailCo is moving forward. Mozilla projects like SeaMonkey, Camino, Bugzilla, Sunbird and Lightning are healthy and active. Mozilla continues to represent much more than software — the images from Korea make this clear.

We’re doing more things, and all of them deeply rooted in Mozilla’s open-source DNA and collaborative workstyle. The number of people using our flagship product Firefox regularly has doubled this year. We’re supporting over 125 million people with Firefox alone. We provide them a world-class experience based on the organizing principles of participation, shared decision-making and transparency. People around the globe have made Mozilla their own, making us a truly global phenomena.

2008 is Mozilla’s 10th anniversary year, and I’d like 2008 to be the year of Mozilla. I hope to see us celebrate what the web has become, what it can be, what Mozilla has done and Mozilla’s future throughout the year. I don’t have or know of specific plans yet, but that’s what 2008 is for!

In the meantime, 2007 has been another astonishing year for Mozilla; let’s be sure to pause and enjoy it for a moment.

Mozilla Landscape 2008

November 27th, 2007

Last week I described my aspirations for Mozilla in 2008 — a set of high level, overarching concepts that describe *why* we do things and what is ultimately important to accomplish. Here’s a first step in translating those general sentiments into more concrete elements.

1. Mozilla designs and implements new ways for people to participate in building a better and more open Internet. Its programs help people participate at all levels — from building software to making good choices after the software they use, to understanding their role in protecting themselves, to expecting to be able to see the underlying data, to expecting and participating in decision-making for a range of Internet activities. The programs allow people to do these things without requiring that they get involved with a mass consumer product like Firefox. These program may relate to existing Mozilla projects, they may be in new areas. In short, we develop programs that encourage individual people to have a relationship with the Internet that is deeper than simply consuming what others choose to provide.

2. Mozilla continues to move the industry towards a more open Internet. This is brutally hard, but we consistently show that we are up to the challenge. This success is based on some fundamental accomplishments:

  • Firefox is the browser of choice for at least 200 million people and for web developers. Our userbase, marketshare, mindshare and distribution of the underlying Mozilla platform technologies are all stronger.
  • The Mozilla platform technologies showcase what the Internet can be. They demonstrate why developers should eschew closed commercial “platforms” and development environments.
  • We demonstrate that this focus on the platform technologies and Firefox is not a misguided focus; we demonstrate that it is the path for promoting the Internet itself as the development platform. And we’ve shown that this is an astonishingly effective way to move the Internet towards the goals of the Mozilla Manifesto.
  • “MailCo” has established itself as a good steward of Mozilla Thunderbird and a location for creative thinking in the Internet mail and communications space.

3. Mozilla is inserting openness and transparency to industry activities beyond the software we ship. We’re using the voice that Firefox gives us to show how information, standards, software, data, security, organizations and online life in general can be more open, more understandable and more influenced by individual action.

Mozilla Aspirations 2008

November 19th, 2007

A few weeks ago John Lilly got me to thinking — how would I describe my aspirations for Mozilla for 2008? I don’t mean how I would describe goals, or tasks, or specific things that need to be done. I mean aspirations — high level, overarching concepts that describe why we do things and what is ultimately important to accomplish.

Here’s the result — let me know what you think.

In 2008 we demonstrate to the world all the things that makes Firefox, Mozilla and the Open Web important. We tell the big picture Mozilla story effectively — what Mozilla is, what our products are, what our product and technology roadmaps are, what “open” is, how these traits result in a better Web, how people can participate, and why it matters.

We find new ways to give people greater control over their online lives — access to data, control of data, greater ability to participate beyond increased consumption. We demonstrate these characteristics through our products. We inspire others to create these characteristics. We show consumers what they should expect.

We make a compelling public case that this approach is practical, effective and innovative. We do this with Firefox 3, a great product that people love. We do it with other initiatives (not necessarily product releases) that show that Fx3 is a building block for even better things.

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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