Engagement vs. Marketing?

Marketing, so the dictionary says, is: “… the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising”.  But to Engage means to: “attract or involve, cause someone to be involved in, participate, establish a meaningful contact or connection…”.

Which one sounds right for Mozilla?    Doesn’t take too much thought, right?

Engage is what we’ve always done. Together as a global community we have and continue to, attract millions of Firefox users, welcome participation and collaboration, build strong relationships, and carve a place in people’s hearts and minds. A non-profit attracting 400M+ Firefox users across the world, isn’t able to do that without people who quintessentially care about the Internet and People.

So what else can we do?
We think its important to further expand engagement, and especially with our users. Over the coming weeks and months we’re going to be examining and expanding the ways we connect with our Firefox users; increasing the ways people can connect, find product know-how and get to know the organization. At the same time, we want to create more, easy ways for people to get involved and participate in Mozilla. The project is already expanding to artists, film-makers, teachers and more, via the Drumbeat initiative. These are exciting times to involve as many people as possible in building a healthy Internet (and have fun!).

What can you do?

We would love your thoughts and input. Many of you reading this have been demonstrative in the building of the Mozilla movement this far, you are some of the most experienced people out there who know how to widen participation in the project and spread Firefox.

We’ve started a wiki page, and added some of the details about projects which we’ve started, there will and should be more. Please do reach out to myself, and others mentioned on the wiki if you would like to help, or find out more. We’ll all be posting more details soon, and would love to hear from you anytime for comments, ideas and help.


I’ve had the great privilege to work at Mozilla for about 2.5 years now, and time after time there are some things which always stand out:

  • Distributed nature is our strength
  • Passionate people make great things happen
  • We are global, yet think, and do what’s right at the locale level
  • We are deliberate

People will tell you with no surprise, this is the kind of backbone and success of open and decentralized organizations. But I will tell you, unless you’ve experienced the possibilities in action, and worked with such a team to truly create, its hard to appreciate what this kind of dedication and commitment is all about.

A current example is Mozilla’s Open to Choice campaign, whereby scores of people are coming together from across Europe intent on informing and educating people about the importance of the Web browser, and why that informed choice matters. The campaign sets out to help tens of millions of Europeans who are currently experiencing the Microsoft Browser Choice screen, an initiative from Microsoft which gives Internet Explorer users the opportunity to choose their own Web browser. So far together Mozilla has –

Our campaign is on going, but at this stage I would like to call out some heartfelt thanks to the Mozilla teams, and our ever present wider community including: Members of the Mozilla Marketing community who have already done so much to share and spread browser choice in Europe. Our design community who helped create web site and campaign assets. And a special thanks goes to *all* the l10n teams who worked tirelessly, burning much midnight oil to get the campaign site live in 15 locales. Plus, to many friends and partners of Mozilla who are also making this campaign possible, a heartfelt thanks to you.

Patrick Finch also has a blog post thanking everyone who worked on the Browser Choice screen for Mozilla.

I’ve said this at least 50 times in the last few weeks, but I’ll say it again here – working on a project such Open to Choice, which has so much importance, to so many people, created by so many committed individuals — is a true inspiration. There’s no doubt in my mind that informing millions of people about the importance of browser, and Web choice is exactly the right thing to do. And that’s what we’ll keep doing!

Carnegie apparently said, “Take away my people, but leave my factories and soon grass will grow on the factory floors……Take away my factories, but leave my people and soon we will have a new and better factory.” Taken fom Seth Godin’s post – Losing Andrew Carnegie

For me this is also a great quote for open source and hybrid organizations, where brilliant, distributed people make a difference – no matter the project or interest.

And as long as there’s great work to be done – folks will always build and achieve great things together.

There’s certainly plenty of great work to do at Mozilla, and great people to go with it!

Photo credit:The Library of Congress

In the tech space right now you can’t have missed the news about the EC and Microsoft’s landmark settlement, and the Browser Choice screen. Its a historic first step in placing choice directly in the hands of the user. But it is just that, a “first step”.

Creating choice, and advocating for it has been integral to the Mozilla mission since its inception (you will recall going back to a time when there wasn’t another solid browser choice to IE). But choice is nothing if you haven’t been able to learn about the options, and therefore ultimately make a decision that’s right for you.

Last week in association with YouGov in the UK, Mozilla commissioned a survey which concluded 77% of Britons did not know the Browser Choice screen was coming, and that they would soon be asked to choose their browser. So what’s the good of choice if (i) no-one knows there is one and (ii) what’s the right choice for them?

If you’re reading my blog via the Mozilla planet blog, it goes without saying that you understand the implications of the choices you make online, and I bet you’ve been bent on helping those around you understand this for many years. You’re tech savvy and web smart — but how does that lady in the next town from you learn more about why choice matters online? How will she learn why her browser is so important to her online experience, and how will she then make the right choice for herself when the times comes?

Its clear much, much more needs to be done to help citizens understand the online choices which are available, and their implications for the individual and the Web. Everyone should have the right to make an informed choice which is best for them.

I’m proud to be part of Mozilla, who has chosen a path to educate people about the Browser Choice Screen. We started our campaign with an Open Letter from John Lilly (Mozilla CEO) and Mitchell Baker (Mozilla Chair), calling for wider discussion around Web choice and in particular the Browser Choice screen.

I believe we all – as individual custodians of the Web, (and just darn nice people!) that it’s our obligation to make sure more people know how best to choose for themselves. In the case of the Browser Choice screen, it doesn’t matter to me which browser is chosen, or if a decision is made not to make a choice. But it is important to know how a choice of browser affects one’s experience online, and that its important a decision to based on a person’s individual needs, and belief.

What can you do?

  • If you’re a journalist – I urge you to write about the browser choice screen, and help your readers make an informed choice. Provide the facts and raise awareness, you have their ears.
  • If you are a blogger and Internet commentator, also please inform your fans and readers. Everything you can do to help people educate themselves, will ultimately better serve the Web.
  • If you’re an individual who has already made your browser choice,  please help educate someone in your school, office and family to make theirs.

opentochoice.org has been started by Mozilla as a place to learn and discuss online choice. Browser choice is simply the beginning, much more needs to happen to ensure Web users are fully in control of their online lives, and can make choices which best serve their needs. Join us there.

For those of you who have followed my blog in the past… you’ll know that I’ve been remiss in writing for nigh on 5 months. No excuses — but moving my family and life to the United States last Autumn took a lot of time and energy. New surroundings, home, and job all created a completely new life style for Pascal and I. One that I’m so happy that we decided to embrace, its been a roller coaster. I’m learning more about people, and myself than I thought in the great US of A. And have to admit — I really do *love* it.

So for now, I’m now ready to dust of the keyboard, and penn some thoughts.

** Photo credit to 3fold via flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/3fold/

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I think most of you know its Mozilla Service Week this week. We’ve been featuring stories and opportunities on the Mozilla Service Week blog, and as you know here on my blog –I usually like to try to find ways that everyone can get involved in making the Web better, no matter how technically advanced you are! Everyone can help make a difference.

One way I’ve been getting involved this week is to help bookshare.org. Bookshare are a non-profit org who are committed to helping people with visual impairments, physical disabilities and/or learning disabilities by dramatically increasing the quantity and timely availability of books and newspapers in accessible formats.

What does that mean? Its means for example if you are blind, you want to be able to have access to books (and the latest bestseller books) just like everybody else. bookshare.org is helping people enjoy the beauty of reading.

They already make more than 50,000 books available to folks who need them in accessible formats for people of all ages and disabilites – who have different tastes.

People in the world love to read and those of us who read everyday take that completely for granted. One of the small ways you could help bookshare is by writing a review of your favourite book and sending it to them. We all want to have recommendations before we start reading a book, so please help by sharing your opinions with others.

Its easy to get involved, simply…

1. Visit http://bookshare.org/ and use the search field to check for the book you have in mind.

2. If its there, write a brief or detailed review (your choice!)

3. Email it to volunteer@bookshare.org – and they will upload it onto the site for you.

Its amazingly rewarding and so easy to do. Why not make a point of doing it every time you finish reading a book! 🙂

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For folks in the Mozilla community volunteering is a way of life. Its what drives them and what has created one of the most wildly used and translated pieces of software in the world…

… Today we kicked off Mozilla Service Week – which has brought a new element to what volunteering at Mozilla means. Over the past months we’ve been encourgaing people to step up and make a difference in their area by directly offering technology related help. That’s more than sitting behind a monitor and coding, and more than submitting a bug — its about meeting face to face, offering advice, and helping someone enjoy this really wonderful thing we call the Web.

As someone involved in Marketing and who is not a coder, web designer, and doesn’t have anything like the amazing skills most of you have — I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to get involved and help make a difference. Well, I can tell you that it doesn’t matter what skill level you have — you can always help someone else have a better experience on the Web. Advocate why you love it, share how you use it, make sure people know why we need to protect it. There’s so much we can do.

Please go to mozillaservice.org, sign up and help us make the Web a better place this week, and for always.

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There are some things in life you need to learn … such as learning to walk, to read and knowing that pie is ‘off’ in your fridge (though all of that is hopefully instinctive)

And there are also some things in life in worth learning well … such as speaking French, having patience, and making great brownies!

Then there are those things in life which by learning, you just know are going to make your life a whole lot better! Learning about Firefox is one of those, and for the last few weeks, we’ve been working on a new fun learning destination for Firefox – called the “School of Firefox”. We’ll soon be able to take you through lessons, tips and videos on all you need to know about using Firefox.

Its going to help new Firefox users get set up and familiar with Firefox features fast, and for those of us who think we already know the deal, we hope there’s lots more besides to learn about your fox!

We’ll be sharing more about the site in the next couple of weeks. So get your pencil’s pencils sharpened – a new fun way to learn Firefox is coming soon!

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Marketing is funny at Mozilla. Whenever, I’m asked what do I do, I’ll very often say “marketing” — and that always feels strange when it tumbles out of my mouth. The next question is usually “… so what is marketing at Mozilla then?” … and further questions about “If you do all that, how big is the team?”

Let me try to answer…

What is marketing at Mozilla?
Well, this would be a very long answer if I went into even half the detail. But let me say in short – our job is all about…
– Sharing and advocating for a more open and better Web
– Spreading Firefox, and having people enjoy a modern browsing experience
– Help build and work together with Mozilla communities, and other open source communities to make great software

and we do this in so many ways which are not typical to marketing. We …

– Work together in the open to craft, build and run campaigns
– Empower and encourage communities to hold their own events and campaigns
– Share results in public, and talk about both our achievements and findings to take on board in future

– and much, much more…

How big is the Team in Europe?
In Europe there are 4 people including myself who help do the above. But actually, our team is much bigger than this. In each country there are scores of Firefox and Mozilla fans, and community members who each day advocate and share the importance of the open Web. Our wider team reaches in the hundreds, and that’s the way we like it!  Anyone can join, and anyone can get involved regardless of skill. The only requirement is a passion for open source and a desire to make the Web better.

** New Open Community Marketing position **
So if you got this far in my post — I’d say you are interested in marketing and community at Mozilla. And we are very lucky to have an open full time job opportunity available for a European Community Marketing Manager. The position is based in Paris. Here’s a quick round up of the job spec:

European Community Marketing Manager
Primary responsibilities include development of new programs to engage community and activism, as well as promote Firefox mindshare throughout Europe. Defining and implementing regional community campaigns and activities, market research, and day-to-day efforts in order to support community marketing, growth and effectiveness.

The ideal candidate will be highly organized and self-motivated, a strong communicator with experience managing marketing programs and campaigns.

** Primary Responsibilities:
* Lead, develop and implement new community grassroots  initiatives and marketing campaigns
* Support and initiate activities for Mozilla Campus reps program in Europe
* Contribute to overall community marketing programs with “real-world” components (eg. Meetups, Campus events, launch parties, etc)
* Conduct and assist with regular community surveys
* Review, share, participate and provide information on Spreadfirefox, forums, marketing mailing lists, IRC and blogs
* Communicate across a diverse community of project contributors and volunteers
* Assist with other marketing related activities and where needed, participate at key trade shows and events
* Provide support for Mozilla Mission-focused community initiatives

So, if you want to be a part of this amazing movement. Read more about the job and apply here.

** Photo courtesy of homardpayette on Saturday February 7th 2009 at FOSDEM ’09

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Gerv, Pascal and I got together last night with some London Firefox and Mozilla fans to help celebrate the launch of Firefox 3.5 last Tuesday.

About 25 of us enjoyed a few beers and snacks, there were several familiar faces who joined us last year for the Firefox 3 launch. Gerv demoed some neat 3.5 new features – Location Aware Browsing, Open Video, Downloadable fonts and Performance. Pascal talked about the cool dev stuff which is going on at Mozilla Labs.

Some interesting people were there from:

Ubervue – A group of Romanian super smart guys who have built the next gen social media conversation tracker. They now have opened up their API for anyone to hack on. Check it out!

Open Rights Group – a campaigning organization aiming to raise awareness of digital rights and civil liberties issues.  They need your help and support in the UK!

Influence Crowd – Philip Sheldrake the guy behind this is one of the smartest and highest energy folks around in Social Media analytics – there’s nothing he doesn’t know! He’s working on some cool new stuff in social media and measuring true success and accountability:

Fun moments:
– We watched live on screen Firefox 3.5 downloads pass 16M – we are now at 17.5M – see where we are now here: http://downloadstats.mozilla.com/
– Gerv ran the original Firefox code on loop – apparently it takes 25 mins to cycle through and it was shown at the first release party. All pretty cool stuff.

T-shirt & Cause moment:
We actually had some t-shirts to share, and was delighted to see people donate. In a beer glass we raised 75 pounds (125 US$) for the Mozilla Foundation — helping to keep the openness of the Web. A big thank you to all who donated.

A great night was had by all. It was wonderful to join with people who deeply care about the future of the Web, and are so supportive of the Mozilla community and cause.

More pictures here — unfortunately they are a bit grainy, the light wasn’t so good.


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