Posts Tagged with “Summit”

Follow the Data

November 27th, 2006

An interesting theme has come out of the Firefox Summit. It’s a new focus on data. It’s not classic “browsing” in that what people want is not necessarily a web page. Instead it’s a set of specified data from a web page. Often what we want is more like “data-browsing.” It’s actually not necessarily browsing at all, since sometimes people want very specific information. Maybe it’s “unbrowsing” 🙂

We’ve talked about this in the mobile space, we’ve talked about this as a way of making it easier for people to assemble the information they care about, we’ve talked about it in the context of user — generated mash-ups, and as part of a general improved web experience.

I’m not sure where this will go, but I suspect something very interesting will develop.

Engineering for People

November 20th, 2006

Something very interesting has been happening with this Firefox Summit. It’s something that started at the FOO camps as well. The first FOO camp or two were very focused on technology nuts and bolts — lots of languages issues, lots of programming tips and brainstorming. There were some non-programming sessions, but they were distinctly different from the engineering focused sessions -– licensing, let’s go disassemble a Prius, here’s my system for mentoring. Then things changed. There were still the hard core engineering sessions and the “other” sessions. But there was something new.

The “product” discussions and the “technology” discussions had a much greater social aspect. The rise of “social networking,” use of a “folksonomy” (decentralized cataloging capabilities based on individual actions) and collaborative tools (e.g., wikis) led to a new type of discussion. A large number of the product and technology discussions began to have a very strong focus on human beings.

This has happened at the Firefox Summit this year. We still have a large amount of deep technical discussions. We still have a set of different discussions -– integrating our international websites into a consistent whole, supporting and building community. But we’ve also had this new type of discussions. We had a series of product and technology discussions focused on what people might do with the Internet, and not at all focused on technical implementation.

This sounds simple, but I think it’s a big deal. People are doing –- and trying to do — all sorts of new things on the Internet. Bringing a focus on these attempted activities deep into engineering discussions is an important step in figuring out where our products should go. It’s important to figuring out what needs to happen to promote an open Internet. And it avoids an artificial distinction between “engineering” and “product/project managers.”

Many engineering — based organizations struggle to take this step. We’ve always had a very strong focus on how to make our technology the most useful for individual people. Now I’m also seeing the ability to think about people’s activities first, and technology second. We’re not in danger of losing our focus on effective technology — that’s deep in our DNA. Adding another perspective is a big step.

It’s great to see that this is happening in the Mozilla world.

Putting names to faces

November 16th, 2006

This is the week of our second annual Firefox Summit, where we gather a set of the people who make Firefox possible to plan what comes next. It’s an exciting time, especially since this is our opportunity to meet people face to face after long online collaboration.

Yesterday I arrived at Mozilla just as the bus arrived bringing people from the hotel. It’s an odd moment. My first reaction was, “Hmm, there’s a giant bus parked in front of the office.” Then people started to get out, and I realized “Ah, that’s the Firefox Summit bus.” And there’s Tristan, there’s polvi, there’s three, four, no, five people I don’t even recognize yet. Sometimes when we’re introduced I don’t recognize the name, and we have to get to the email name or IRC or IM name to recognize each other.

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