Mozilla

Posts Tagged with “people”

Brief Update — CEO Search

July 27th, 2010

A while back we announced that we were starting to look for a new CEO for the Mozilla Corporation as John Lilly moves to Greylock Partners sometime later this year. Here’s an update of what’s going on.

First, there are a lot of exceptional people interested in Mozilla. Mozilla is in an exciting and challenging place. There’s a lot to do, the opportunities in front of us are immense, and the need for excellent leadership and execution is as great as it has ever been. Firefox on the desktop is strong and effective, we’re moving into the mobile space (Firefox Home for iPhone release this month, Firefox browser on Android phones coming later this year), Sync in Firefox 4 and related services in development. The Internet environment is changing, and Mozilla has a unique role.

Second, we know that a great CEO needs a combination of a bunch of different characteristics, such as:

  • great executive skills — able to cause us to get things done, to get the right things done, and to get them done effectively and efficiently
  • able to lead in a complex strategic environment
  • collaborative, good at making others better
  • great technology sense
  • and of course, phenomenally attuned to the nature of Mozilla — who we are, why we do things, the centrality of the mission and the community building it

We decided to start by getting to know people across a wide range of backgrounds skill sets. We’re fortunate that we have flexibility and aren’t pushed into making a hasty decision so we can do this. This means that our recruiters are talking to people with software backgrounds, Internet backgrounds, consumer backgrounds, open source backgrounds, platform backgrounds, engineering, strategy, start-up, big company and community backgrounds. The recruiters and John also spend a lot of time working together, and John has talked to a broad set of people as well.

A few people have been surprised that John is so central to this process. I think that’s because it’s a bit rare to let the world know what’s happening at this stage. Often the first hint is the announcement of a new CEO, or that the old CEO is gone. In our case John is still here, still deeply engaged day-to-day and still our CEO in fact as well as name. He’s also the person closest to the CEO role and so a really good source for the candidates and recruiters.

The next step in the transition process is to bring a much smaller number of people in to meet members of the MoCo Steering Committee — the management and leadership and strategy group for our product efforts, and if that goes well, to expand the number of people a candidate meets from there. We’re still in the very early stages of this part of the process. Members of the Steering Committee have met a handful of people and we expect to meet more in the coming weeks. So far this step has helped us figure out that a few candidates don’t fit, and some we’re quite eager to talk to more. It’s hard to predict what the right set of traits will turn out to be; the search is highly individualistic. John is fond of saying that he wouldn’t have looked like a particularly good candidate on paper either. That’s in part why we want to meet a wide variety of people.

Planned Leadership Transition

May 11th, 2010

When John Lilly joined Mozilla, he told me he expected to contribute as an employee for two years. At the time John had originally been planning to join the investing world as a venture capitalist. That was five years ago.

Sometime this year John will step down from his role as CEO at Mozilla to join the venture firm Greylock Partners, returning to his original plan of investing. John will remain on the Board of the Mozilla Corporation. And he will also remain at Mozilla during the transition. The timing of this announcement — just as we begin a formal search for a new CEO — is to make this process more open than is generally the case and is a reflection of the uniqueness of Mozilla as a public benefit organization dedicated to openness and participation in Internet life.

It’s been a pleasure to work with John in building an organization that marries our public benefit mission with extraordinary reach and excellence in execution. Mozilla is now on a path to reaching half a billion people (400 million so far) around the world in more than 78 languages, Firefox on mobile is coming to life — and Mozilla‚Äôs global community and organization is bringing individual empowerment to more people and more areas of Internet life than ever before.

As we work through this transition, we have confidence that the Mozilla community will continue working to advance our core purpose — building openness and individual empowerment into the fabric of the Internet.

Eyeballs with Wallets

July 21st, 2009

Here’s the business approach of the then-current CEO of a very well-known Internet company. (He’s gone now.)

  • get eyeballs looking at my site
  • find or create content that keeps them at my site as long as possible
  • monetize them as much as possible while they’re there

There are times when each of us will be happy to be a pair of eyeballs with a wallet attached, to be a “monitizable unit.” In our physical lives this is a little like going to the mall. I may “window-shop” and I may enjoy a comfortable environment. But there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that the point of the mall is to for people to purchase things.

There are times, however, when being a wallet attached to eyeballs is not enough. The possibilities available to us online should be broader, just as they are in the physical world. Sometimes we choose to skip the mall and go to the library, or the town square or the park or the museum or the playground or the school. Sometimes we choose activities that are not about consumption, but are about learning and creation and improving the environment around us.

We have public spaces for these activities in our physical lives. We have public assets, and the idea of building some part of our infrastructure for public benefit as a necessary complement to private economic activity.

Mozilla strives to bring this public aspect, this sense of compete human beings, the goal of enriching the full range of human activities to the Internet. We envision a world where the Internet is built to support these varied aspects of the human experience; a world where robust economic activity lives alongside vibrant social, civic and individual enrichment.

We’re building this world so that we can all live in it.

I Am Not A Number

July 13th, 2009

What’s the most interesting thing about the Internet today? To me, it’s not an application, it’s not a technology, it’s not a characteristic like “social.” The most interesting thing about the Internet is me. My experiences. And you. And your experiences.

I can name a set of applications that are important to me today. Tomorrow and next month and next year that set will be different. The things I want to do will be different. The types of information I want to access and share will vary. I will want to integrate some information across all the applications and sites I access. I will want to maintain some information under my control and share subsets of it selectively with Web applications. I’ll want to be able to access a website or its information with a very precise and rich identity, so the site delivers a highly personalized response. Other times I’ll want a general identity or anonymity so I see information which I can filter for myself.

In other words, I don’t want to be the invisible part of my life. Not in my physical life and not in my online life. I want to have a presence that is me. That presence won’t be a pre-existing Web application. It won’t be a number or an identity managed by a Web application. That presence will be an odd collection of information and approaches and unexpected connections that is the online manifestation of who I am. It will be idiosyncratic, it will be flawed, but it will be me.

Mozilla’s New Focus on Thunderbird and Internet Communications

September 17th, 2007

Mozilla has been investing in email since the Foundation was created. We have a good, solid client in Thunderbird, and we have aspirations to do more. We’ve spent the last few months working on how to meet those aspirations. Many thanks to everyone who participated in the discussions.

The result is that Mozilla is launching a new effort to improve email and internet communications. We will increase our investment and focus on our current email client — Thunderbird — and on innovations in the email and communications areas. We are doing so by creating a new organization with this as its sole focus and committing resources to this organization. The new organization doesn’t have a name yet, so I’ll call it MailCo here. MailCo will be part of the Mozilla Foundation and will serve the public benefit mission of the Mozilla Foundation. (Technically, it will be a wholly owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation, just like the Mozilla Corporation.)

David Ascher is joining Mozilla to lead MailCo. David has been an active participant in the Mozilla project for many years, both in his role as CTO of ActiveState and personally through participation in our governance discussions. In fact it was one if David’s comments on an early draft of the Mozilla Manifesto that helped crystallize its structure. David also has deep experience in the open source world and is a member of the board of directors of the Python Foundation. David also brings familiarity with Mozilla technology and the Mozilla community through years of using Mozilla technology to build ActiveState products, including the new Open Komodo project. We are very fortunate to have David join us to lead this effort.

Mozilla will provide an initial $3 million dollars in seed funding to launch MailCo. This is expected to be spent mostly on building a small team of people who are passionate about email and Internet communications. As MailCo develops it and the Mozilla Foundation will evaluate what’s the best model for long-term sustainability. Mozilla may well invest additional funds; we also hope that there are other paths for sustainability.

We’ll be setting up MailCo in the coming weeks. Part of this is forming the team of people, part is developing a transition plan to move Thunderbird into MailCo gracefully while supporting the Thunderbird users. That will take some time. We’re on the path now though and that’s a great thing.

The goals for the new company are:

  • Take care of Thunderbird users
  • Move Thunderbird forward to provide better, deeper email solutions
  • Create a better user experience for a range of Internet communications — how does / should email work with IM, RSS, VoIP, SMS, site-specific email, etc?
  • Spark the types of community involvement and innovation that we’ve seen around web “browsing” and Firefox.

One of the things I find most exciting about the Firefox work is the way people use Firefox to dream up what the web could be, and then go out and so something to make it happen.We can spark the same kind of excitement and energy level and innovation in the email/communications space. And when we do, Internet life will get much, much better and much more interesting.

Help us make it happen.

Skip past the sidebar