Extending the Product Metaphor

<– Part II: Grants, Gifts & Donations

Mozilla is an organization that builds and ships products. But our definition of ‘product’ extends beyond the piece of software or program – the widget – at its core.

Building a product involves delivering on a brand promise. It means achieving stability, consistency, and permanence. It involves shaping the entire ecosystem: dependable release cycles, a healthy contributor community, on ramps for new users, partnerships that bring value, and reference implementations that showcase potential. Perhaps most importantly, it means creating something that works: that achieves its expected and intended purpose.

Our Project Directors already function as Product Managers. They are responsible for driving for the utility, polish, and performance of the tools and programs they oversee. They are expected to gain market share, achieve performance metrics, and meet targets. And because we’re social enterprise – a group of people in pursuit of a mission – our Project Directors are expected to build things that empower you to help shape the Web.

Our fundraising strategy will extend this product model to include funding and revenue generation. Along with the tools, content, and community that comprise our products, our project teams will ‘ship’ the funding narrative needed for their next stage of development.

  • Grants: How is what we want to build going to help foundations and governments deliver on their priorities?
  • Gifts: Now that we’re starting to gain traction, what’s the big dream that will excite investors to help us scale?
  • Donations & Revenue: And now that we’ve built something useful, why will people pay or give to keep it going?

Having to deliver a funding narrative will add scope to an already complex task. But (despite our best efforts) money continues to be a thing we need. If we don’t think about funding from the start we ensure that, when we do get around to it, we won’t have the relationships, value proposition, or narrative in place to be successful. Much better – and easier – to bake it into what we already do.


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: