posts tagged with “mozilla”

Mozilla Roomba Users Group

I was never a fan of extracurricular activities in high school or college, so I surprised even myself when I recently formed the Mozilla Roomba Users Group – a club of home-cleaning-robot enthusiasts. The idea was that interested Roomba owners and spectators at Mozilla would get together and participate in events testing the various skills of the robots. Our first RUG meeting was today, with three of the four members in attendance: myself, osunick, and dolske.

The first event was “function properly”, in which all participating robots were placed on a conference room table and released from slumber to interact with each other. Sadly, osunick’s roomba did not function properly, and had to be disqualified from subsequent events. fligtar and dolske tied for winning the first event, as both of their roombas functioned properly.

The second event was a timed race from one end of the table to the other, knocking a styrofoam section completely off the table. Both robots started off with a straight path, tying at 12 seconds each. The meeting was heating up, with both dolske and fligtar tied with 2 events won.

The last event of this meeting was a synchronized demo race. The first roomba to pass others by more than a second in the recorded demo would emerge victorious. fligtar’s roomba was able to pull ahead of dolske’s midway through the demo to clinch the event and meeting, with 3 events won to dolske’s 2.

Since moving to California, I’ve found myself listening to the radio a lot more than in previous years. I think this is largely because my favorite station here plays a lot more of the music I like and has a lot of new artists and songs that I haven’t heard before. Music and Firefox add-ons have a lot in common. Both are ways of expressing yourself and customizing your lifestyle. Both are made by professionals, but also by students, hobbyists, and anyone with a passion for their idea. Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a way for me to discover relevant new add-ons as easily as I discover new music?

In November, we launched Fashion Your Firefox, which was a collection of add-ons that we felt were great for a novice user just getting started with customizing their browser. Now, we’d like to take it a step further and let anyone create their own collection of add-ons that can be shared with their friends, posted on blogs, and featured on the Firefox Add-ons website.

Just as a DJ selects which songs to play and comment on, we want to let anyone create a list of add-ons on any topic — whether it’s “Justin’s Must-have Firefox Extensions”, “David’s Favorite Travel Add-ons”, or “Nicole’s St. Patrick’s Day Themes”. These user-created collections would appear in a directory alongside collections created by Mozilla. We’re interested in what sorts of collections people would create, and what collections you’d like to see in the directory. Please share your ideas with us in the comments.

Fast movie downloads.

We’re very excited about this idea and hope that it will improve add-on discovery, increase user involvement with add-ons, improve the stickiness of the add-ons website, and make add-ons more social. If you’re interested in learning more about the project, you can visit our project wiki.

My friends from across the parking lot David and Ken have begun a blog debate on whether a Firefox Super Bowl Ad is a good idea. I’ve been chatting with Ken about this recently and agree that it’s a great idea. So, to back up Ken, I’d like to respond to a number of David’s points.

Does a Super Bowl ad “feel” Mozilla, even with community involvement? Unlike Download Day or the NY Times Ad, appearing on the Super Bowl just doesn’t seem to fit our DNA.

Yes. I think the community coming together to plan and organize something makes anything feel Mozilla, whether it’s sending a laptop to space to claim 100% of the non-Earth market share, sponsoring every Red Panda exhibit in the world, or running a historic Super Bowl ad.

In fact, Firefox is growing even faster overseas. Which makes advertising on the Super Bowl curious. As a very US-centric event, there’s little reason to spend nearly an entire year’s marketing budget on something that so few current and potential new Firefox users will see.

Firefox’s amazing growth overseas is certainly great, but I see it as even more of a reason to make sure our growth in the US stays strong. I disagree that there will be “so few current and potential new Firefox users” watching the Super Bowl — I think it’s the perfect opportunity to get exposure in front of the non-technical audience that’s hardest for us to reach. And, who isn’t a potential new Firefox user, anyway?

It seems that over the last few years, the only way to generate press from your Super Bowl Ad is to show scantily clad women or do something incredibly controversial. … Simply running user-generated or community sponsored commercials is unoriginal and likely wouldn’t provide any additional press.

I’ve never really been one to fit in, but I have to think there are others like me who remember well-done ads long before they can remember a sexual or controversial ad. All we have to do is peak someone’s interest enough to get them to do a search for “firefox” a week later when they see “web browser” mentioned on a website and never thought twice about it before.

NBC used to use the slogan “If you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you” to promote re-runs. Any Firefox community member who sees a Super Bowl ad would get goosebumps. Any Firefox user who sees a Super Bowl ad would be proud. And I really don’t see a non-Firefox user or reporter who sees a Super Bowl ad saying “community-backed commercials are so unoriginal” and refusing to pay it any attention. I think it’s much more likely that when the Firefox logo appears, one of the people at a Super Bowl party says “Hey, I use Firefox! It’s great!” and the other people at that party remember what he said next time IE crashes.

Retention marketing is indeed a challenge. However, the linkages between Firefox and improved retention by spending an entire year’s marketing budget on 60 30 seconds of TV is misguided. To retain a user (or buyer), an organization needs to consistently engage with them over time.

For existing Firefox users, this isn’t going to come and go in 30 seconds. Before the commercial, getting support and funding for this will be a monumental task, and will involve Firefox users talking to their friends and keeping them involved. After the commercial, when a coworker walks up and sees you using Firefox and says “hey, didn’t I see an ad for them last month?”, you can proudly tell them that they did and why you love it.

The effects of the crop circle, Download Day, and the New York Times ad weren’t constrained to the first-hand witnesses of the events. They had effects on Firefox users and non-Firefox users alike who heard about them and wondered (or already knew) what was so great about a web browser that made people do these things. That’s engaging with users over time brought to a whole new level.

I think the idea is worthy of further discussion and look forward to reading additional points of view. And by the way, I haven’t watched the Super Bowl in years.

As Nick mentioned on the Add-ons Blog yesterday, we’ll be giving a presentation tomorrow on what’s in store for in 2009. You can tune in to Air Mozilla Thursday at 12:30pm Pacific time to watch the presentation and ask any questions you might have.

I hope to see you there!

Yesterday, despite the best efforts of a snowstorm in the South, I made it to the first ever Add-on-Con hosted at the Computer History Museum about a minute or two away from Mozilla’s office. The event exceeded my expectations and was a great experience.

It was a weird, great feeling being around so many people that spend their time working on add-ons and care about them as much as I do. Some of my thoughts about the sessions:

  • In the opening keynote panel on add-on business models, it was great to hear that our compatibility outreach with Firefox is helping developers and that being featured on AMO has such a positive impact on extensions.
  • Brian King gave a great talk on the state of the Mozilla Add-ons universe, covering the history of extensions in Mozilla, AMO, Mozdev, and a number of other topics.
  • I was unexpectedly part of the Add-on Distribution Strategies session panel, along with Rey Bango (Mozilla), Pat Buckley (WebMynd), and Alec Jeong (Cooliris). It was interesting to hear and talk about the journeys add-ons go through for better distribution and exposure, and reminded me how important metrics and statistics are to making those decisions. I have some follow-up notes on this and will be blogging about this more in the future.
  • The closing keynote was a browser vendor panel of Microsoft, Mozilla, and Google. I was very glad that the questions were all add-on related rather than a generic browser panel seen at other conferences.

One of the things that struck me about yesterday was that “AMO” was mentioned in every talk I went to without ever being defined. I usually always define it the first time I use it, but everyone at the conference seemed to know what AMO is, which was a very strange feeling.

Overall, the conference was a really great thing for both business folks and technical folks, and people on the add-on development side as well as people on the browser vendor / distribution channel side, especially for being its first year. I can’t wait until next year.