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Mozilla Foundation Report for 2008 Week 52

This is Zak Greant's weekly report on his activities for the Mozilla Foundation from December 22nd to 28th, 2008.

Overview

During the last week of 2008, most of my Mozilla colleagues were enjoying (and being distracted by) the holidays. With fewer available collaborators, I focused on 2009 program development and engagement.

The program development work was in the form of brainstorming, planning and research for upcoming 2009 Mozilla activities. I also used holiday gatherings to test ideas for and theories about 2009 plans on unsuspecting friend and local peers. :-)

The engagement work focused on participating in the Mozilla blogorama. I kept up with Planet Mozilla, commented on blog posts I found interesting and made a series of lightweight blog posts meant to help me get back into blogging while introducing me to Mozillions who I've never really connected with.

More details on both activities follow:

Program Development

The last weekly status call that the Foundation team had before we started our Christmas holidays left me feeling a bit uncertain. The board hadn't really strongly endorsed any of our proposed programs or provided alternate guidance.

After reflecting on the uncertainty, I spent some time revisiting what we had planned: were these the right areas to work in, what areas were most likely to lead to the changes we want and so on?

I arrived at a few simple conclusions:

  • we need to continue our work in accessibility, community support and education - these are important activities
  • research is not the right project for us
  • the Mozilla as Social Movement idea holds the greatest potential
  • we need to spend more effort in doing distributed, public innovation
  • we need to get much better at engaging the community
  • we need clarity on what kinds of results we expect to have for our work. Our board needs to be onside with this as well
  • we need to lower the barrier to participation in the programs we develop

I roughed out a series of project ideas related to these ideas (thought they didn't have these names at the time):

  • An active engagement program - We actively work to publicly recognize and collaborate with our peers, inside (and beside) Mozilla. This means that we highlight and editorialize good research and programs, invite smart and good people to share the Mozilla soapbox and look for soapboxes to borrow.
  • Net Worth - Short, compelling, personal and true community-generated video statements of why the Net matters. e.g. Doctor appears: I saved 42 lives
  • A People's History of the Net - Longer, compelling, personal and true essays about how people found the Net, how it changed their life and what they hope for the future of the Net
  • Mozilla Net Lifestyle Survey - A comprehensive study of how people use the Net, how it affects their lives and what values they have related to the Net
  • Mozilla Social Venture Model Archive - A collection of models for basing social ventures (and socially-responsible businesses) around.
  • Mozilla Social Interpreneurship Program - An Ashoka-like program for social entrepreneur who have a strong online focus.
  • Mozilla Social Venture Advisory - Tailored advice for third parties on what social ventures to support.
  • Studies around the effect of Mozilla - A series of studies on the economic, social, political, etc. effect of Mozilla communities and products. Would need to be done by third parties.
  • Mozilla Participation Certification - Issue assertions of participation and skill to Mozilla community participants. Use as incentive, reward and to increase the value of skills gained in a Mozilla community of practice. e.g. A certificate (backed with an online assertion and supported with relevant info) to validate that XYZ was release manager for the n.x build of Camino.
  • A Community of Micro-participation - A series of projects centered around activities that can be distributed among many people (such as reviews, fact-checking and so on.) We already to this for things like AMO - we need to think about how we can do this to help ordinary Net users become long-term participants in the Net commons.

I also did some additional work on the Mozilla Manifesto Video contest idea, but no longer believe that it is an appropriate early project. We should undertake it once we have run other video projects that require less effort.

I also worked on the deliverable bits of my statement of work. Attempting to draft a statement of work without either clear direction from the board or a strong personal opinion was difficult. I reworked the SoW to reflect my opinions and shortened the duration.

Engagement

The blogging arc I planned was as follows:

  • Settling in for a Winter's Blog Fest - Setting the stage. Getting people's attention. (Written during this week.)
  • Back to the Beginning - Reflecting on the last few years and gearing up for 2009. (Written during this week.)
  • Hitchhiking the Information Superhighway - Talking about how I got started with the Net.
  • A Letter to Benjamin Webb - A post about what drives me and how this relates to Mozilla. As with the other posts, it will focus on my personal experiences - this time of how I became a participant on the Net through PHP and how this has changed my life. I'll also focus on the idea of paying forward and how the Net is architected for this.
  • Pillow Talk - A post debunking some of the current fear-mongering around the Net.
  • From Killer App to Mega-Platform Defender - A story about how Mozilla went from being a fugitive proprietary fork of Mosaic to being a defender of the global super-platform.

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