The Day After: Thoughtful, angry, and hopeful posts about Mozilla

The order they’re listed isn’t relevant. The posts are nuanced; I’ve just captured a small part. I encourage you to read them all and will keep adding throughout the day. And you can find more on Planet Mozilla.

“We fully support Mozilla, their mission, and trying to build back up the bridges that got torn down. We know many people are going to be upset by Eich stepping down, and some of them might send out a lot of hate. This has been a traumatic time for us, and we hope to never have to post anything about this again. We are software developers and we’d much rather spend our time building great software and helping people than being involved in a horrible mess like this.” – Hampton Catlin

“Our biggest problem is that the world does not know the story of Mozilla. Especially as a progressive at Mozilla, it was hard to watch as people who should know better pulled out the Chick-Fil-A playbook.” – Ben Moskowitz

“One of the parts that is hard about this situation for Mozilla is that we don’t know where to draw the line now. People are worried that this is now a slippery slope, or that anyone could be pushed out because of outside views. I think as a community we need to accept the truth that Brendan wasn’t a viable CEO and figure out where this leaves the lines.” – Kensie

“I’m a supporter of traditional marriage, and I work for Mozilla. … Many people who agree with me on this issue are very upset about what happened to Brendan Eich, our co-founder and, for two weeks, CEO of the Mozilla Corporation. … I am assured by sources I trust that Brendan decided to leave of his own accord – he was not forced out. My understanding is that the senior management of Mozilla (many of whom disagree with him on this issue) worked very hard to support him, even if I would not agree with all the actions they took in doing so. However, he eventually felt that it was impossible for him to focus on leading if he was spending all of his time dealing with the continued, relentless news and social media storm surrounding the donation he made. In other words, he wasn’t forced out from the inside – he was dragged out from the outside.” – Gervase Markham

“Brendan’s choice of what propositions and political parties to support do not match my personal choices and I’m sad when any restrictions affect only one group of people. But at the same time, in a democracy, people must be able to support and express their values. And hopefully, in the best of worlds, that leads to a good discussion and greater understanding.” – Robert Nyman

“Instead of addressing the issues at hand, he very clearly dodged them. I’m really not sure why and I’m at a loss to even speculate. Every one of my friends said that while they didn’t agree with his position, if he just apologized it could have been the end of it.” – TofuMatt

“On one hand, I disagree with Brendan’s personal views and think that his choice to step down is going to be ultimately good for us. … On the other hand, Brendan has always been a strong, (seemingly) just technical leader at Mozilla and I can’t help but feel that he was railroaded out, which isn’t right and also goes against what Mozilla stands for, in my eyes.” – Lizzilla

“Supporting Prop 8 is beyond the pale. But I don’t fully agree with the tactics that some of my friends have used in order to make that point. IMHO, rather than spending our energy attacking Brendan Eich and Firefox (which affected the entire Mozilla community) we should have devoted ourselves to supporting our friends within the Mozilla community as they grappled (many of them publicly) with the biggest crisis they’d ever encountered.” – Josh Levy

“Even as Brendan announced his departure, he provided next steps to advancing the mission by reaffirming Mozilla’s focus on users. The direction he provided could put the non-profit Mozilla as a users union leader to push back the bullying aspects of the Internet that prey on individuals (think of privacy policies or terms of services) and instead flip that around to be pro-user.” – edilee

“Wanted: New CEO for Mozilla. Qualifications: No history of being wrong, ever.” – Brandon Savage

“If we have to learn anything from the past 10 days, it is that we can only survive as a community if we interpret this mission only in its most narrow scope, where can and should find common ground. Attempting to read the Manifesto in the widest possible manner and presuming to find that all of our fellow Mozillians have done so in the same way is the road to failure as a group and a community. Our cultural differences are immense and things which we find self-evident can be unimaginable to other. We should group among the narrow set of goals that unites us, not among what divides us.” – Garf

What has Brendan done? Many things intrinsic to the open web; he helped shape technologies used by countless numbers of users, including to write and read this very post. Also, a hurtful and divisive thing based on a conviction now at odds with the law of the land, and at odds with my own conviction…” – aruner

“[Eich] did not understand that in order to be a CEO of a company, you have to renounce your heresy! There is only one permissible opinion at Mozilla, and all dissidents must be purged! Yep, that’s left-liberal tolerance in a nut-shell.” – Andrew Sullivan

“As a volunteer moderating the Facebook page, it was evident that we had many users complaining and very little supporters. Now that Brendan has resigned, everybody has all of a sudden come out from a shadow. Unexpectedly to say at the least, is that we’ve got users telling us that we were no longer protecting Freedom of speech and that rights are taken away. Where have these people been hiding?” – Andrew Truong

“It takes courage to face adversity in society, and that’s not a virtue I possess much of. Though I’ve come to value difference. Though at the same time, its important not to see valuing difference vs. valuing similarity as a dichotomy where you have to choose only one. We’re all similar in so many ways and sometimes, the difference is small.” – Chris Crews

“…what happened during the last days seems to be a negation of democracy. One should be able to express legal opinions without having to face a witch-hunt-like repression.” – Daniel Glazman

“Brendan Eich is one of the most inspiring humans that I have ever met. He is a true hero for many of us. He invented a programming language that is the heart and soul of the most open communications system the world has ever known… It’s important to remember that all heroes are also human. They struggle. And they often have flaws. Brendan’s biggest flaw, IMHO, was his inability to connect and empathize with people.” – Mark Surman

“If you tried, I don’t think you could engineer a situation that could throw the Mozilla community so thoroughly off-center. A lot of folks at Mozilla work here because we want to do what’s right. Doing the right thing can be hard, but overall we’re comfortable with taking on hardship to do the right thing.” – Dave Camp

“Follow the Mozilla mission on your own terms, because you know it’s the right thing to do. Do the right thing because it is the right thing.” – Ben Adida

“When the outrage was how a person with a different belief and – to me – very doubtful political action got made CEO people ganged up on Mozilla, my colleagues and friends and me how that could happen and how we can allow that. This was unfair.” – Christian Heilmann

“When suddenly the life my wife and I have built together seemed under any kind of threat, the monument of our public commitment to each other was the main thing to hold on to. Very often, critics of the notion of same-sex marriage seem to feel it can be reduced to something empty, as though symbolism carries no weight.  As though legal constructs around civil partnerships, common law marriages, tax codes, inheritance rights and so forth suffice.  All of that misses what’s important.” – Patrick Finch

“Because bringing diverse people with opposing views together, and asking them to fight for just what they agree on while looking past what they don’t, is how movements are built, and how they succeed. Period. Not how some of them succeed, it’s how all of them succeed.” – Ryan Merkley

“Soon, we were in the midst of a crisis, with the voices of reason so overwhelmed by outright nonsense that they couldn’t be heard. Several of us tried. We failed. Brendan, overwhelmed by the waves of negative press and outright hate mail he was getting, gave up and resigned. The mob won, and Mozilla lost its founding father.” – Sheppy

“One of the things that is most painful to me about this is the sheer volume of misinformation out there. We all know that people are wrong on the internet all the time. It is probably hopeless to fight that, but for the record, these are the facts as I understand them, along with my interpretation of those facts.” – David Flanagan


What’s Happening Inside Mozilla

Is not a conversation about inclusion. That was settled long ago. And Mozilla, unlike many organizations, treats our mission and our guidelines as sacred texts.

It’s also not a conversation about quality of life and the culture of the workplace. I’ll let my colleagues speak for themselves.

So if it’s not about the applied and the tangible, it’s about the symbolic and the intangible.

Our conversation is about rights.

Specifically, two rights: Equality and Free Speech. And which one this is.

The free speech argument is that we have no right to force anyone to think anything. We have no right to prevent people from pursuing their lives based on their beliefs. That what matters is their actions. And as long as they act in the best interests of the mission, as long as they don’t impose their beliefs on those around them, they are welcome.

The equality argument is that this isn’t a matter of speech. That believing that 1/n of us aren’t entitled to the same rights as the rest of us isn’t a ‘belief’. That the right to speech is only truly universal if everyone is equal, first.

Both sides are well represented inside Mozilla. Often by the same, conflicted people.

Our current situation is forcing us to choose between them.

And that sucks more than most of us can express in words. And we’re desperately trying to find a path forward that doesn’t wreck this beautiful thing we’ve built.


How I Interpret the Holocaust Memorial

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe remains one of my favourite (if that word can be applied to such a thing) parts of Berlin. I find it particularly powerful.

This directly contrasts with the experience of most everyone else, who can be placed in two groups. The first are the puzzled tourists who mutter “This is it?” to each other. The second are the classicists who see it as insultingly inadequate, painfully vague, or, at best, underwhelming.

It is, without question, non-traditional. It doesn’t have any of the architectural trappings usually associated with memorials. It’s relative blandness is made even more stark by its proximity to the Brandenburg Gate.

But to focus on its physical appearance is to miss the point. It is an experiential memorial that provides the participant with the briefest (and, by limits of representation, inadequate) glimpse into what it might have been like to be near or involved in the actual event.

First and most importantly, there is the obvious symbolism of the stacked coffins – that you are surrounded and overpowered by death. But that’s just the beginning.

You don’t know what it is. Walking by, you can’t help but notice it, but there are no signs explaining it or indicating its importance. It’s just there, defying explanation.

People disappear into it. If you stand across the street and watch, you’ll see groups of people slowly sink from view as they walk between the pillars. They don’t reemerge.

Its true scale and depth are imperceptible, till you’re already consumed within it. The pillars in the middle stand 12 to 15 feet high. You don’t realize how ‘tall’ the coffins are stacked when you’re on the outside looking in.

Similarly, you can’t tell how many people are inside it till you’re also inside. From the street it looks empty. Once inside, you realize there can be upwards of 100 people trapped in its maze.

Enter and you quickly get separated from your group. Take one unexpected turn and you lose contact with your friends and family who entered just a few steps behind you. It takes considerable effort to find them again.

Which means you’re on your own. Isolated. It’s you vs. the memorial.

People flit in and out of view. As you walk through the memorial, other people quickly cross your path and disappear. Brief, fleeting glimpses of strangers you’ll never see again.

The close confines force you into unexpected confrontations with strangers. You can easily run into people also trying to find their way through.

It is aggressively and unforgivingly regimented. It is organized. And it is unimaginative in its organization. It’s banal. (Which, in my mind, is one of the true horrors of the holocaust.)

And finally, despite the regimented layout, there are enough incongruencies – like the occasional leaning pillar threatening to fall over, or the undulating ground throwing you off your stride – to ensure you never gain total confidence.

It is impossible to convey the scale, misery, and horror of the Holocaust. But I find the memorial significantly more evocative and moving for its lack of pretension.


Mozilla Foundation’s CRM Plans

During our planning for 2014, a need that came up over and over again was for better data tracking across the board. This included managing our contributor targets, engagement funnels, campaigns, partners, etc.

We decided we needed a CRM. And ‘CRM’ quickly became a dumping ground for a huge wish list of features and unmet needs.

Since then, a small group has been working to figure out what we actually need, whether it’s the same thing that other Mozilla teams need, and which of us is going to do the work to put those systems in place.

Adam Lofting, Andrea Wood, and I have come up with a framework we’re going to pursue. It splits ‘CRM’ into three functions and proposes a path forward on each. We feel this represents the best use of our resources, lets us hit our priorities, and ensures that we continue to work under a ‘One Mozilla’ model.

1.) Partner Management

  • What this means: Traditional CRM features such as shared contact lists, joint documents, status updates, and communications management.
  • How we’d use it: To manage our relationships with Webmaker partners, BadgeKit adopters, and institutional funders.
  • The plan: Mozilla’s IT department is leading a CRM implementation to manage deal flow and other relationships behind the FFOS Marketplace and emerging content partners. The Foundation will adopt whatever system is put in place from that process. This is based on the assumptions that (i) ‘partner management’ is a fairly standardized process, (ii) the Foundation’s needs can be mapped onto whichever tool IT selects, and (iii) there are benefits to be had from working within the same framework as our colleagues in business development.

2.) Campaign Management

  • What this means: E-mail, small dollar fundraising, activism, standalone campaign web sites, event registration, and other outreach and engagement activities.
  • How we’d use it: To promote our events and programs, to manage registration for events, to run activism campaigns, and to anchor our small dollar fundraising.
  • The plan: The Foundation and Corporation engagement teams are working to combine budgets, gather requirements, and launch an RfP process to select a platform to run both programs. We already work together on the design and implementation of campaigns, and a shared technology platform will make that collaboration more efficient and avoid current, user-impacting issues resulting from multiple tools managing multiple e-mail lists.

3.) Contributor Management

  • What this means: Outreach, engagement, metrics, and recognition behind the Grow Mozilla goal of reaching 1 million contributors to our project.
  • How we’d use it: Metrics and analytics on engagement ladders, measuring contribution numbers, and rewarding and recognizing our contributors.
  • The plan: This is the area where we will probably have to build our own, Mozilla-wide solution. The People, Engagement, Business Intelligence, Foundation, and Open Badges teams are currently working together to figure out what that will entail. The solution will most likely involve some combination of program-specific engagement funnels, metrics and analysis through Project Baloo, and reward and recognition through Open Badges. More as it unfolds.

Does this sound right? Are there things missing? Please ask in the comments.

Mozilla, Pitch Geek

Infographic: Our 2013 Fundraising Success

2013 was Mozilla’s most successful fundraising year ever. We grew our core operating grants and more than doubled the size of our donations campaign.

This is a shared, project-wide accomplishment. More than 40 Mozillians from across the foundation, corporation, and community pulled together to make it happen. And I’m proud of what we accomplished.

We still have a long way to go. We’re overly dependent on a few key funders and there’s a big gap between our current revenue and our goal of matching Wikimedia’s fundraising program.

But 2013 was an indication that we’re on the right path, with the right team, and a mission our community loves.

Click to enlarge


Mozilla, Pitch Geek

Why do you need my donation when you have all that Google cash?

This post is designed to help you answer the question:

“Why do you need my money when you have all that Google cash?”

We’ve provided 5 different ways to answer the question, listed in order of how well they usually satisfy the person posing it. In terms of soliciting support, (1), (2), and (3) all work in decreasing efficacy. If you find yourself answering with (4) or (5), you’ve already lost.

(4) is the one most people inside of Mozilla will tell you. But it won’t inspire anyone to make a donation, won’t inspire anyone about the mission, and demeans the potential upside of what fundraising does for Mozilla both in terms of bringing new resources to the mission and growing our community. (5) is tricky and brings up all sorts of other questions, so use at your own risk.

None of the answers are prescriptive or written as scripts. Just suggestions. You can also make up your own answer: why you feel fundraising is important to Mozilla.

When answering the question, the most important thing is to be confident; you don’t need to excuse anything. More than 120,000 people gave to Mozilla in 2013. Our community understands that we’re different, that we’re tackling a huge challenge, that that challenge matters, and that we need all the expertise, time, and money we can get if we’re to win.

You can also point them to this post on why fundraising matters to Mozilla.

1.) Turn around, look up the hill.
The main thing that works is contextualizing $300M in terms of the scale of the challenge. It’s a lot of cash by itself. It’s nothing compared to what we need to do. Don’t look down the hill at the scale of other non-profits. Look up the hill at the scale of each of our competitors, much less their combined strength. Follow this up by talking about the outsized impact that Mozilla wields. How $10 in our hands goes much further because of our community, our leverage, and our reputation. Look at what Firefox did to Internet Explorer.

Strength: Fact-based and usually obvious, once pointed out.
Weakness: Risks making $10 feel inconsequential.

2.) Product vs. Program
The $300M Firefox makes is spent making Firefox. The Google revenue pays for the main pieces of software we build. There’s barely any left once that’s done. But there’s still a lot we need to do to pursue the mission. That’s where the donations and grants come in. They drive our education work. Our activism. Our protection of privacy. Our research and development. They help us teach kids to code. To get governments to respect our rights to privacy. To address the parts of our mission that Firefox can’t solve by itself.

Strength: Makes it clear where the donations go and why $300M isn’t enough.
Weakness: Most people know and like us because of Firefox. This argument underlines that their donations are not directly connected to keeping Firefox around.

3.) Money is more than money.
Money is a means of contributing. Of expressing support. Of making partnerships real. Of feeling you belong. Of getting us into rooms. It lets us build relationships with funders that help us direct and influence how billions of charitable and public dollars are spent each year. Money brings much needed resources to our organization, but it also grows our community, builds our momentum, helps us solidify key partnerships, and generally gain the energy, access, and reach we need to win.

Strength: Lots of rhetoric and poetry. You can hear the music swelling.
Weakness: Nothing but rhetoric and poetry. Easily deflated.

4.) Being a non-profit matters. And non-profits need to raise money.
Being mission-driven isn’t enough. Mozilla’s founders decided they couldn’t pursue our mission as a software company that maintains a value set. They decided that we actually need to be a non-profit. That’s the anchor that does more than just guide our decision-making, it guarantees we make the right call. And non-profits in the United States have to fundraise. It’s part of what lets you stay a non-profit.

Strength: Fact-based and a one or zero problem set. We don’t fundraise, we can’t stay a non-profit.
Weakness: Completely uninspiring. If you get here you’ve usually already lost, as it’s the least interesting and motivational.

5.) Fundraising is part of our efforts to diversify our revenue.
Saying this is risky, because the size of our fundraising program is nowhere near the scale of our Google deal. However, our fundraising has almost doubled year-over-year since 2009 to reach $12M in 2013. Wikimedia, our closest analog, makes $30M a year, which is real revenue. We’re working to match that. Large charities – hospitals, universities, big health – routinely combine large earned income programs with equally large (if not bigger) fundraising programs measured in 100s of millions a year. This is many  years away for us, but it’s a perfectly viable form of long-term revenue.

Strength: Diversification is an obvious good to most people.
Weakness: Fundraising is not a meaningful replacement for the Google deal (yet). Also highlights the dependency on the Google deal.