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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

Key to the open door

Seth Godin (of which you know I’m a fan of from time to time) blogged yesterday about how the term “open source” is being over-used. In fact it was the buzz word of 2008, and seems to be continuing to right into 2009. Its used with regard to anything and everything, and can be confusing to say the least… and both frustrating and enlightening if you actually work in open source. 😉 Seth & Michal Migurski produced a list of the most common ‘open’ terms to try and set folks on the straight and narrow – its worth taking a look.

In some respects its delightful to see the term open source be used in so many ways… we have entered a new age where we see more companies, and organizations being more transparent, and working in the open to gain customer feedback. We have a cacophony of user shared experiences, photos, videos, all open for us to dually consume and add to. There are more opportunities to get involved with your favorite *whatever it might be*, information (or your identity) can be passed from one place to another often seamlessly.

So – its not stretch to say, we are living in the most open environment we have ever seen (unfortunately, I am only able to refer to the developed world here). We have come along way!

But… its important not to forget, whilst we make these huge advances forward in being open, there is much more work to be done, and still much more work to maintain these levels of openness. Terms are one thing, but making sure open, stays open is quite another. And its easy to take this for granted, especially when it comes to the Web.

Open means different things to different people, and Seth’s list surely demonstrates this in today’s world (also see a bunch of dictionary terms below**). But one thing is certain, what ever open means to you – you will want to preserve it!

**The dictionary entry for the term ‘open’ (taken from the

1 allowing access, passage, or a view through an empty space; not closed or blocked up

2 [ attrib. ] exposed to the air or to view; not covered

3 [ predic. ] (of a store, place of entertainment, etc.) officially admitting customers or visitors; available for business

4 (of a person) frank and communicative; not given to deception or concealment

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picture-12Over the weekend I read Seth Godin‘s new book – Tribes. It’s a great read if you are involved in a movement like Mozilla, and pulls together much of the why and the how, of how we have been operating all together as a ‘tribe’ for years.

And if you are not yet involved in a project or tribe, this book is certainly an empowering read to go out there and make a difference to your workplace, your hometown, and even the World. Godin makes claim, with all the technology out there, and more than 1 billion people connected via the wonderful thing that is the Web – we should all be able to follow our beliefs and make change happen. I’d like to second that!

Some noteworthy points:

‘The movement happens when people talk to one another, when ideas spread within the community, and most of all, when peer support leads people to do what they always knew was the right thing.’

‘Tribes are bored of yesterday, and demand tomorrow’

‘With enough leverage, you can change your company, your industry, and the World.’

As we move into 2009 – I’m excited to see what our Mozilla community is going to accomplish together as a tribe. We have already come so far, and are a tremendous example to the World of just what can be achieved when people come together and want change to happen.

Parting thought: Godin quotes Flynn Berry who claims that when people talk about opportunity, we should substitute the word opportunity with ‘obligation’. I like this idea very much, and think we all have an obligation ‘…to change the rules, to raise the bar, to play a different game, and play it better than anyone has the right to believe is possible’. Do something good for the world in whatever manifestation this may take.

So – whether that’s encouraging more people to get involved with the Mozilla project, joining a tribe which speaks to you, or leading others to follow your passion and belief – make it happen today. There’s no time to waste – go tell your story! 🙂

Download the Tribes Q&A ebook

Seth Godin has a post today on – ‘The high cost of now’

He questions is it really worth having that snippet of information *right now*, be that the latest stock market news, or pulling your email, or whatever it might be – or are we caught in an addiction loop destined to only waste time (and money)? Of course some industries/folks need information as fast as possible to make decisions and act wisely, but there’s a whole lot of us out there dependent on having something immediately in our hands, just because we can.

How much time do we loose by being at the beck and call of this information? How much does it prevent us from doing the real task at hand? It was a bit of a wake up call for me. I think I am, like many others addicted to email for starters.

The post is worth reading, if nothing else to help spark any pointless needs of information you might have, and should cut off the supply! 🙂


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