Last week I went to Barcelona to attend Mobile World Congress for the first time. It was incredible for several reasons, most importantly how all of our products came together to tell one unified story: the Web is the platform. You can’t talk about one of the products without it leading directly to the others: Boot2Gecko and Open Web Devices, Marketplace and apps, Persona, and Firefox. I’m excited about it, the conference was excited about it, the industry is excited about it, and Mozilla rocked the show despite it being our first time there.

MWC photos: mine | Mozilla’s

Mozilla’s booths were in the App Planet exhibition hall along with many platform, commerce, and other software companies. There was a good vibe, especially compared to some of the other halls entirely dominated by hardware giants with multi-million dollar booths the size of a city block. I spent most of my time in Mozilla’s main booth giving demos of our HTML5 apps platform and answering questions about the Mozilla Marketplace.

At first, I wasn’t sure what to expect from 6-8 hours a day of talking and demoing, and was concerned that I wouldn’t have time to visit other booths I was interested in to learn about their products and how they might help our Marketplace. Booth duty turned out to be the best use of my time, as I learned a lot about the crowd’s perception of Mozilla’s offerings and HTML5 apps, and got to meet so many people with relevant ideas. By the time the last day rolled around and I had some time to stop and talk to other booths, all the companies I was interested in had already come to see me. (Though there was still reason to visit one.)

Here’s some of what I learned from my own observations and from talking with hundreds of people:

I started flying regularly when I got involved with Mozilla in 2006, and back then I couldn’t stand flight turbulence. Every little bump or dip would startle me; I’d grab the armrests and wish for it go away.

After a few flights like this, I decided that it was something I should be able to overcome mentally. I knew I was flying 600 miles an hour 30,000 feet in the air, but if I felt the same bumps riding in a car, I wouldn’t even think about them.

The trick I came up with was to pretend I was on a roller coaster or another ride at a theme park. At first, this was a very conscious and literal process, where I’d actually picture different Disney World rides in my head. Sometimes, the turbulence would even turn fun. Gradually, I was able to calm myself with just the reminder of a roller coaster.

The last couple years, I’ve apparently convinced myself that planes are so safe that turbulence no longer bothers me at all, even when it gets pretty bad. I don’t even have to think of roller coasters any more; I just continue doing things as if nothing’s happening.

We’re going to have to do our pre-landing safety check on the honor system, so look at your neighbors and if their seatbacks and tray tables aren’t up, give them the stink eye.— Flight attendant on a very turbulent flight last week

I’ve mentioned method this to a few people and it seems to have helped them as well, so if you have issues with turbulence, you might try thinking of theme park rides and realizing it’s something you can get over mentally.

As the Mozilla Marketplace project has begun to take off, we want to make sure there’s a dedicated place for discussion of planning, features, policies, and other topics. has been around for a couple months, but due to a bug with content not being synced to Google Groups, we were holding off using it. We can’t wait any longer, and this week I’ll be starting a bunch of discussions there about our roadmap, payments, and other topics as we start to build and launch our Marketplace.

So, I invite you to subscribe through either the mailing list or in your email client if you’d like to participate. (Note that this newsgroup is specific to the Marketplace, and that discussions of our web apps platform go to instead.)

This weekend we said goodbye to an action-packed year, and I thought it’d be fun to think back on all we accomplished in Add-ons in 2011.

Firefox 4 Shipped

A critical release for many reasons, Firefox 4 introduced a completely rewritten and redesigned Add-ons Manager, including the interactive discovery pane (“Get Add-ons”), automatic add-on updates, and addressed the single biggest complaint for years with add-ons: installation without restarting. Firefox 4 also allowed us to see how many users actually use add-ons, how many non-hosted add-ons are out there, and gather real-world performance data — all things for which we had no insights before Firefox 4.

The discovery pane was viewed more than 5 million times in the 24 hours after release, and is currently viewed between 2.7 and 2.9 million times each day. It’s responsible for 40,000 add-on downloads every day, plus the 300,000 downloads that come from the Add-ons Manager search. 33% of new add-ons submitted to AMO each month are restartless.

New Developer Tools, Editor Tools, and Review Process

It seems like this happened much more than a year ago, but it was in early 2011 that we launched our brand new Developer Tools on AMO — in my opinion, the best management tools for add-ons, apps, or anything like it on the web. In 2010 we made the decision to rearchitect our review process to require all add-ons to be reviewed and get rid of the sandbox with 7,000 unreviewed add-ons in it. We launched that new process in 2011 by introducing preliminary reviews and direct links while waiting for review. And we made a number of awesome improvements to our Editor tools and statistics dashboard.

It’s beginning to look a lot like a new blog theme.

I have a good feeling about this theme and hope it will last at least a year before I start to dislike it
— me, less than a year ago

Actually, it only lasted a few days before I started to dislike my previous gradient-tastic theme. 8 posts and 11 months later, I’ve finally replaced it with something very different.

I wanted to step out of my comfort zone with this one, so I did two things I never do: you won’t find a single rounded corner, and I used a background pattern — a realistic one at that.

I also got rid of my About page in favor of an profile and threw in a subtle CSS animation because I’m hip like that.

What do you think?