Re-evaluating Spread Firefox

19 Apr

As both Jane Finette and myself shared last year, we’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how we can amplify participation around Firefox and empower our Firefox users.   In particular, looking at how we can lower the barrier of entry for anyone to declare their support for Firefox and Mozilla, or take small, quick actions to make a difference.  As part of this, Jane and team launched the nascent Join Us program and mainstream newsletter, and I worked with folks last year to create a participation page that was linked to Firefox product pages and easier to discover.

As we’ve gone through the process of evaluating our participation channels, naturally we’ve had to examine Spread Firefox. While the model we put in place in 2004 was truly innovative – essentially, a social network and breeding ground for grassroots marketing – it’s now ailing.  There are several technical challenges around the site and we’ve seen participation decrease dramatically over the years.

For instance, we’ve seen the advent and huge success of Facebook and other social media channels.  Privacy issues aside, Facebook has become a powerful platform for advocacy and communication.  Over four million people “like” Mozilla Firefox on Facebook and countless community pages have popped up to share news and communicate with regional fans.  Overall, Firefox advocacy has grown, but become decentralized.

At the same time, the competitive landscape has changed substantially since 2004.  While we still relish, support and celebrate grassroots marketing activities, Mozillians have been collaborating to create an extended marketing team that spans paid and volunteer staff.  The team grew to over 300 around the Firefox 4 for desktop and mobile launches and has the heft of a major commercial software marketing organization.

In response to all of these factors, we’re taking Spread Firefox offline to further explore what makes sense in terms of volunteer engagement.  Affiliate buttons have moved to the Get Involved page for now.  If you’d like to help out in the near term, please help us track pages or content that should be saved and note sites that direct to Spread Firefox here.  Feedback and ideas can also be added in the comments below.

To be clear – this doesn’t mean we’re minimizing our focus on community marketing, but growing it. In line with our pioneering spirit, we’re looking to open up new programs and venues for engaging people globally and to empower them as Mozilla and Firefox supporters.  Please keep an eye on the contributor engagement wiki for more info.

Who’s ready for another launch? Catch Mobile on Air Mozilla!

29 Mar

I’m still reeling from the awesomeness that was and is the Firefox 4 for desktop launch last week.  Don’t get me wrong, setting a world record was pretty amazing — more than 8 million people mobilized to download Firefox in 24 hours.  What sets Firefox 4 apart for me is that the community of Mozillians is even more vibrant and diverse, and we’ve gained even more momentum past the first 24 hours.  It’s been a huge team effort and I’ve been lucky to work with so many bright, funny, thoughtful and passionate people.  If you missed the launch, here is an uncut snapshot.  [Editor’s note:  a shortened, open video-friendly version coming shortly.]

And, did I mention we get to do it all again tomorrow with Mobile?  You can catch the fun on Air Mozilla starting at 6:45 a.m. PDT on March 29th [check the timezone converter if needed].   See what goes on in our first wide-scale mobile launch and have your questions answered by the mobile team.  Join #airmozilla on to post questions or tweet them to @firefox with the hashtag #airmoz.

In addition to Q&A, we’ll interview a host of Mozillians again!

Special thanks to Guillermo Huerta, Spencer Hui, Hilary Hall, Eljon Balangue, Julius Berry, Henry Langi, Matthew Claypotch and Eljon Balangue for making this happen, as well as all of our speakers and participants.

Note: We’re unable to use the HTML5 video tag in this particular case — the technology to support a high-volume live stream using open codecs simply doesn’t exist yet. Because we wanted to make the launch as inclusive as possible we made the decision to use the same video solution as the one used for We’ll ensure that the archived videos are available in open video formats.

Catch the Firefox 4 launch live!

22 Mar

Calling all Mozillians and Firefox fans!  Firefox 4 has been an incredible team effort and it’s your browser so we wanted everyone to have the opportunity to experience launch HQ activities.  We’ll broadcast from Air Mozilla starting at 6:30 a.m. PDT/2:30 p.m. CET/1:30 p.m. UTC on March 22nd.  Curious as to what actually happens during a launch?  Find out and get your questions answered live.  Join #airmozilla on to post questions or tweet them to @firefox with the hashtag #airmoz.

In addition to Q&A, we’ll interview a host of Mozillians from around the world, including Kenya, Argentina, Slovenia, The Philippines, Indonesia and more.  We even have a few surprises in store…

Ok…so maybe not an Oprah giveaway, but I guarantee fun.

Special thanks to Guillermo Huerta, Spencer Hui, Hilary Hall, Matthew Zeier, Michael Morgan, William Reynolds, Henry Langi and Eljon Balangue for pulling this together on such late notice!  As well as all of our speakers and participants.

Note: We’re unable to use the HTML5 video tag in this particular case — the technology to support a high-volume live stream using open codecs simply doesn’t exist yet. Because we wanted to make the launch as inclusive as possible we made the decision to use the same video solution as the one used for We’ll ensure that the archived videos are available in open video formats.

The hacker that could’ve been…

9 Feb

This coming Saturday Mozilla will be taking part in the Dare2BDigital conference in Mountain View aimed at getting young girls exposed to technology. Lukas Blakk is creating a pretty awesome video workshop that will show off both HTML5 and Universal Subtitles. She’ll be joined by Marcia Knous, William Reynolds and Rainer Cvillink.

I’m pretty bummed I can no longer make it – had to extend a work trip.  To make this come together we need another volunteer on-site for the workshop and people to help translate subtitles online (sign up)!  If you don’t know about Universal Subtitles you should — it allows people to easily add translations to videos and was recently used to hack Obama’s State of the Union address.  It’s a powerful example of how technology can make the Web more participatory and give more people “access” to content online.

So why do I care?  It’s not just that I am a woman, but I’m still struck by how few women there are in Open Source and in technology overall.  A recent NYT story reports that only 15% of Wikipedia’s contributors are women.  (Side note: I’ve been meaning to jump into Wikipedia for years and looks like it’s time to stop dragging my feet).  It’s more about how fulfilling and stimulating technology has been for me and I’d like to see more women enjoy it.

And, I think about how impressionable I was as a young’un and the influences that shaped me. My elementary school in particular had some incredible programs – Getty Art that ensured extensive arts classes with Bonnie Wallace, a supplementary creative program with Judy Hein (writing, videography and more!)  and an amazing library that included a club and extensive readings by Mrs. Rice.  This firmly set me on the path of liberal arts, a love for creating things and ultimately, a study in art history.

Could we have been hackers?

I often think what would’ve happened if I were more exposed to technology — playing endless rounds of “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” doesn’t count.  Although it did spur an obsession with travel and hats.  I don’t think it’s too late for me…there is a hacker lurking somewhere inside.  The constant exposure to all the amazing creation that goes on the Web could change this yet.

If you have a little time this weekend please help make a hacker and show girls how awesome the Web is — especially if you’re multilingual!  Sign up here.

Calling all Mozillians in No. & So. America: Let’s talk today!

3 Feb

We’ll be moving forward with our first “town hall” meeting today at 3:00 PM PST/11:00 PM UTC. Here’s how to join:

  • Video: You can join via Air Mozilla (note: We’ll use the general channel – not the marketing one)
  • IRC:  Join us in #mozillians on
  • Dial-in Info: +1.650.903.0800, followed by 92# and then 7391# Or you can use our toll-free number: +1.800.707.2533, followed by 369# and then 7391#. If you’re outside the US, use Skype to call in with our toll-free number.

We’ll share slides shortly, but you can submit questions now here.

We have two more coming up to help accommodate everyone’s timezones! Gen Kanai is planning one for Asia and William Quiviger one for Europe and Africa.

Looking forward to it 🙂

Contributor Engagement Town Hall

29 Jan

As promised in last week’s news about the new contributor engagement team, we’re going to host a few “Town Hall” sessions to share out early plans, get feedback and brainstorm. We’d like to make this a regular happening.  To start we’ll host these initial calls over the next two weeks and in different timezones to accommodate as many people as possible.  Rough line up:

  • Week of Jan 31:  North/South America with Mary Colvig, Amie Tyrrel,  David Boswell and Juan Becerra (Juan will help with Spanish and am looking for someone to help with PT-BR)
  • TBD: Asia with Gen Kanai
  • TBD: Europe & Africa with William Quiviger

For next week’s call I’d like to find a time that works best around work and school hours for community in No. and So. America.  If you’re in these regions and contribute to Mozilla, please note the times that work best for you on this “Doodle.”  They are:

Wednesday, Feb 2nd:

  • 12:30 PST/8:30 PM UTC
  • 2:30 PST/10:30 PM UTC
  • 3:30 PST/11:30 PM UTC

Thursday, Feb 3rd:

  • 12:00 PST/8:00 PM UTC
  • 1:00 PST/9:00 PM UTC
  • 2:00 PST/10:00 PM UTC
  • 3:00 PST/11:00 PM UTC

Please spread the word about this call — an RSVP will go out as soon as we settle on a time. William and Gen will be following up to set up the Europe, Africa and Asia timezone-friendly calls soon!

2011: Getting off to a great start!

20 Jan

I’m pretty giddy about starting off the year with a new job role and team at Mozilla: Contributor Engagement.  We’ll be focused on further empowering and supporting Mozillians – individuals that passionately support, champion and contribute to the Mozilla project.  This isn’t a new area for Mozilla, by any means — but I’m now part of a team that is 100% dedicated to Mozillians.  My comrades to start are David BoswellGen Kanai, Amie Tyrrel and William Quiviger.

Getting this new role is like finding out I don’t have to eat my vegetables to get my dessert.  I get it all the time now!  (Not sure that’s the right analogy, but hope you get what I mean.) Our community — it’s zaniness, talent, passion and diversity — has always been my favorite part of Mozilla. Frankly, it’s been my day-to-day interactions with volunteers that have kept me afloat in some transitional times and brightened a bad day here and there.  No one is part of Mozilla because they have to be — they are here and engaged because they care — hard not to let that rub off on you.  It’s only fitting that we’ve “code named” ourselves Team Baked Goods!

Photo courtesy of Gen Kanai

Enough about dessert.  What will we do everyday?

  • Provide new opportunities and “on ramps” for participation in Mozilla.
  • Make it easier for us to to find and communicate with each other.
  • Work across teams (both expertise and regions) to help bring even more people into the Mozilla community and foster them.
  • Create and update shared resources to make contributing to Mozilla even better. Examples: a  web-based community directory for Mozillians; the about:mozilla newsletter; ways to measure and reward participation; toolkits and content to help new and existing Mozillians get up to speed quickly.
  • And, more!

There’s a whole lot to do — especially setting up some foundational basics — but I’m looking forward to some AWESOMENESS this year.  I’ll be posting ways to get involved and help shape contributor engagement shortly. In the meantime, if you have any ideas, feedback or questions please let us know here:

Participation is as easy as 1-2-3

11 Oct

As both Jane Finette and I have shared we’ve been looking at how we can engage with even more of our 400 million users and in meaningful ways.  The first step was to open a line of communication with our users via a mainstream newsletter and to assess our main participation channels.

Next up is to lower the barrier for participation and make it easier for people to find ways to help without having to hunt around.  If you’ve walked through a setup on a social application such as TripIt or Facebook lately you’ll know that one of the first things you’re asked to do is ask people to join.  While this does truly enhance your experience with the product and create your social graph (did I say that?!), it also spreads the word, conveniently.

Without going that far, we thought about how challenging it is for people to find ways to pitch in and spread Firefox outside of simply telling their friends.  This is nothing to sniff at — Firefox has reaped the benefits of word of mouth over the years.  However, we wanted to make it super easy for people who like Firefox to get involved and have just rolled out a new participation page. This even impacted the name.  We steered away from “Get Involved” which often implies volunteering or more time commitment.

The concept is to highlight three super easy calls-to-action and offer a sharing capability.  We’re using Facebook and Twitter off the bat.  In terms of immediate next steps, we’re working to get this integrated more with and the product experience.  For instance, we’re working on a snippet for the Firefox start page, and the first run and what’s new pages.  I’d also like to see it in different languages and it would be interesting to develop a tool that would surface opportunities based on your interests, time and skill.


Our calls-to-action


In addition to the participation page, we’ve rolled out our new Army of Awesome.  Every day, thousands of people tweet their Firefox questions. We wanted to set up a lightweight way for them to get answers right away from fellow Firefox users.  So working with our awesome Support team we kicked off a program to encourage people to respond to others on Twitter.  My intrepid colleague William Reynolds has a great write up on our thinking.

Want to help?  Please share any ideas you might have for the participation page below, share it around and of course, join the Army of Awesome!

Help improve our participation channels!

28 Sep

As Jane Finette wrote earlier this summer, Mozilla has never had a traditional marketing program.  In fact, we’ve been focused on engaging our users for years — offering ways to get involved via organic marketing efforts and participatory campaigns.  We’re exploring even more ways to expand this involvement and connect with our 400 million Firefox users.

Firefox Download Day: Does it get any more participatory?!

As part of this exploration, it’s important to take a look at our current participation channels to assess how we’re doing and what we can do to improve.  It’s only natural to look outward and hear directly from participants.   Therefore, we’ve rolled out surveys to folks participating in our Facebook, Twitter, Student Reps and Affiliates (site badges) channels.

If you have a minute please take one (or all!) of our quick surveys to share your ideas and help improve these programs!

I appreciate your feedback and am looking forward to growing our participation programs!


4 Aug

I got her done – my first ultramarathon, the Skyline 50K!  I wouldn’t call it a lifelong dream.  In fact, I scoffed at athletic endeavors until well into my twenties.  Just ask my college roommates about my Cheeto-Nutella-sloth days.  But for the last couple of years I’ve been dreaming about giving ultras a try.  And while a 50K is the Olympic distance of ultras or really the sprint, I’m pretty content to have laid down those miles 🙂

Pre-race. How hot are the compression sleeves?!

I’m not gonna to lie – I was freaking nervous.  I trained with Team-in-Training and while the team, training and cause were phenomenal, I didn’t have the most consistent program due to injury.  I was seriously worried about making the cutoff times and getting yanked from the course.

Just three weeks before the race a close family friend – Sheila Amos – passed away from AML and I decided to do the race in her honor in addition to Craig.  Her friends and my family rallied around my race, buying Team Sheila shirts.  Paul Reiser of Mad About You fame even sent a donation in her honor and a note wishing me luck on my “walk”.  I’m hoping that was his humor at play.

Running in memory of Sheila Amos!

All of a sudden the stakes became pretty high – I had a huge remote support team. Race morning came along and I was a bit of a wreck.  After a fitful night of sleep, I had some stomach issues to put it lightly and couldn’t figure out if my chills + shaking were from nerves or the fog at Lake Chabot.  Coach Mama Lisa (who I love, love, love!) talked some sense into me at the start line.  In a nutshell:  Mary, I’m not worried about your nerves.  In fact, it’s great.  You’ll channel it and not go overboard out the gate.  You’ll be consistent and get the job done. Just what I needed to hear.  The hugs from the whole team didn’t hurt either 😉

And with a kiss from Craig, I was off.  The first 20 miles were not my finest hours, but gorgeous scenery and camaraderie on the trails kept me going.  I never went to what I call the “dark place” mentally and just accepted I felt like cra*p and planted one foot in front of the other and focused on making it to various visual points.

At last I was at mile 14.5 at the Skyline gate and this meant my “drop” bag – hello, goodies!  The team was also there en force and I had a chance to change my socks.  This was my poor attempt at a Jedi mind trick to convince my very tired and already blistered feet that we were starting out fresh.  Note to self:  Don’t rock brand new shoes 5 days before the race!

From there I headed out with Mama Lisa and my teammates Shaleni and Glenda.  I fell back into pace with a new friend named Ramesh. Ramesh, also an ultra rookie, had chosen an unusual mantra that he grunted out-loud for hours on end: “Oh f*ck! Oh f*ck! Oh f*ck! Oh f*ck!  I remembered Mama Lisa’s words cautioning about picking up other people’s vibes and did my best to keep him at a distance.  Unfortunately, we literally had the same pace so I just decided to engage him and try to change the “topic” if you will.  Luckily, he opted to belt out Hindi pop songs from mile 18 and on.

At the 20 mile mark Craig joined me on his bike and we started a steep climb.  My race turned around dramatically at this point.  The Tums, Imodium and his encouragement really kicked in and I just got into the zone.  I went from trudging to running.  These miles were really a blur – I was so focused.  The best part was getting back to where the lake was in view at the last water stop – just 3 miles from the end.  The water stop crew there congratulated me on how close I was to graduating from my rookie status.

With some hoots and hollers I started down the last decent (have I mentioned how not fun downhills become at this point?!) to the relatively flat path that ran around the lake.  Things were going grand until I reached the pavement.  Asphalt is just not enjoyable after running 28 miles.  After a moment of self-pity I collected myself and enjoyed all the random stares I was getting (families out walking, dudes out fishing and drinking, etc.).  About an 1/8 of a mile from the finish Coach Mark appeared and radio’d into his daughter that I was coming in.

All I could think at that point was “HOLY F*CK – this is actually happening!” (Sorry for the language, just being transparent here)  And, next thing you know I’m across the line and met by Craig, TNT and the rest of Team Sheila.  It was awesome – there is nothing like tackling a “first” like that.  I’ve never been athletically inclined so knocking something out like this is truly sweet.

Team Sheila!

Now my mind is racing about the next ultra and this isn’t helped by Mama Lisa’s email on “recovery” and gearing up for a 50 miler 🙂  We’ll see about that…but I do want to thank all my friends, family and colleagues, as well as Sheila’s circle for also the amazing support.  I ended up raising over $4,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and proud we’re all doing a part to help the Sheilas and Craigs of the world.