Mozilla as a Media Organization

As stated in my previous two posts, my focus for the year 2012 is to bring a product I call a Web Weaver into existence. The organization best positioned to steward the process of creating this technology as well as mitigating the inherent risk for societal disruptions is the Mozilla Foundation.

For this reason, I intend to work with Mozilla in a full time capacity for the duration of 2012 in some capacity.

My initial plan is to apply for a full-time position at some point in the near future. Failing that, I’ll be seeking sponsorship and/or employment with a closely aligned for-profit organization. (Wish me luck!)

That being said, the Web Weaver idea is still nascent and there’s plenty of work to do all around to make sure Mozilla and society as a whole are prepared to take advantage of its implications. This work starts now.

So, I’d like to discuss Mozilla’s movement toward becoming a “media organization”!

In the past, Mozilla stewarded the production and distribution of a piece of software called a Web Browser, and it was good. Other products came to play along and to the world Mozilla was a software company. (A non-profit software company!)

Now, Mozilla is in the midst of a radical transformation. They are poised to tackle the exponentially growing global literacy gap by building a generation of WebMakers. Now they are doing things that look less like software and more like an education focused nonprofit foundation. (Yay!)

It just so happens however that Mozilla is at the center of every dialogue regarding the future of humanity, its institutions and how we choose to spend our time upon this world. (No pressure Moz! No pressure..)

In my opinion, Mozilla’s WebMaker initiative is the most exciting thing they’ve taken on to date. In fact, it may prove to be one of the most important things ever. EVER! (I think it could end up fixing the global economy right up in fact.. but that’s just me.)

At the same time a bazillian sub projects are taking off, Mozilla is also consolidating its various sub-brands together and slashing others entirely. This doesn’t come without growing pains (as Google is learning right now) but definitely shows that the organization is committed to this new strategic direction.

So, what does this have to do with Mozilla being a “media organization”? Well, everything! First of all, Mozilla is at the forefront media innovation. Any media organization not paying attention to Mozilla product roadmap documents isn’t doing their due diligence. Soon, every person and organization will have an app store. Soon, video will be a fully remixable web technology. Not enough? Soon, the barrier to developing web technology will be so low that ‘creative consumption’ will be the new consumption. That’s a lot of media, folks.

In the midst of all these trends and initiatives, there are ongoing discussions about how Mozilla should conduct public outreach, internal communications, collaborations that bridge internal projects with external

Mozilla doesn’t need an ambitious project like the a Web Weaver to bring all of its activities together into a cohesive strategic whole. All it has to do is start by copying what everyone else is doing!

Apple has iTunes and the App store. Google has Google Play and Youtube. Amazon has.. Amazon.

And Mozilla has the Mozilla Marketplace.

Currently, Mozilla Marketplace’s current trajectory is that of an App store. Fantastic start! This is a perfect distribution mechanism for all the tools Mozillian WebMakers will ever need.

Through the WebMaker program Mozilla is creating a global environment in which the tools of hypermedia creation are available to everyone. The Mozilla Marketplace is fantastic foundational support infrastructure to fuel this initiative.

But what happens after everypony produces all this hypermedia? Easy! All this hypermedia content finds its way to the most natural of distribution channels: the Mozilla Marketplace!

I propose the following:

  • In the medium to long term, the Mozilla Marketplace should follow the Google Play example and offer not only Apps, but all forms of hypermedia. How far should this go? Mozilla Marketplace could very well become an open data market in the style of Windows Azure Marketplace and Infochimps.
  • Note: We need open publish/subscribe infrastructure (free and paid) built into the Mozilla Marketplace STAT!
  • By owning its own cutting edge (and standards based!) hypermedia distribution mechanism, Mozilla is in a prime position to utilize this asset as its primary communications channel both internal and external to the organization.
  • Rather than relying solely on internal capacity for media creation, curation, distribution, etc, Mozilla should make use of new and existing strategic partnerships to essentially take the media world by storm over the next two years. TV? Radio? Newspapers? Smoke signals? Mozilla is everywhere because everyone will want to be a part of the action. (I want to see Firefoxes getting fed on cable TV by the beginning of 2013.. followed by tech news and Bill Nye the Mozilla guy.)
  • Mozilla’s internal communication, collaboration and storytelling initiatives should also be planned with this trajectory in mind. Mozilla is building enterprise scale infrastructure (because every individual needs enterprise scale infrastructure these days) so it only makes sense that Mozilla as an enterprise should dogfood their platform.
  • In the short term, Mozilla should consolidate its internal communications/storytelling initiatives (Planet Mozilla, the temporary oneMozilla etc) into channels that share both creation and distribution infrastructure with its other major programs (WebMaker, WebFwd, etc). This will set the stage for seamless experiential migration from old-school ways of doing stuff (like using iMovie and posting to Youtube) to the new open sexyness that’s currently in Mozilla’s pipeline (like using Popcorn Maker and posting to.. everywhere!)

In future posts I will go into more detail regarding short term development opportunities toward the global Mozilla Media Empire.