As we approach our June 5 deadline to apply for our next class (aka WebFWD IV), our Scouts are getting the word out around the world! We’ve even welcomed some new ones to the Cause! Below is a brief profile on our newest Scouts as well as recaps of some of our team’s recent activities. We are so grateful for them!
Of course, you needn’t be a Scout to spread the word about what we’re doing. If you know of developers, entrepreneurs and startups that:
….please encourage them to consider WebFWD. Teams can be located anywhere, as participation is remote and with the exception of the San Francisco Bay Area for Orientation (July 2013) and Graduation (November 2013).
To the web!
We were introduced to Telemachus last year by the amazing team at Hackers and Founders. Telemachus is a big supporter of H/F and their accelerator, Co-op. He’s also a founder of Nephoscale, an Infrastructure-as-a-Service provider which became a WebFWD partner after we met.
Since then, Tele has gone on to attend our orientations, our graduations, and even coach our teams on their pitching! That’s because - in addition to being a husband, dad and startup founder (phew) he also happens to be an angel investor. But he still has taken countless hours out for our teams at these events and on our team call. The best part? He’s the nicest guy you will ever meet. Promise.
Thank you Telemachus for all you are for us!
This note is from one of our newest Scouts, Saverio Romeo. Saverio is based out of the UK, is an analyst with Frost & Sullivan by day and a steadfast, passionate supporter of Mozilla and open innovation 24X7. Enjoy!
Talking about WebFWD – Real Cases Are the Key for Raising Interest
“On the 19th of April at Birkbeck College, University of London, Mozilla WebFWD alumnus and Synbiota CTO Mason Edwards shared about open source: what it is, how powerful it can be for innovation, how it can attract significant financial interest, and (not least), how WebFWD played an important role in his entrepreneurship story.
As a scout I was there, listening to him and saying to myself: “I should learn from these guys. There are the best channel to tell people how open source is valuable and how WebFWD can help creative people in web and mobile web technologies.” I thought that I should have a pool of WebFWD alumni to take with me to workshops and events and say to people: “Look, it is not just me being passionate about it and not really coding. Here you have real entrepreneurs from WebFWD cohort doing great, really great!”
Of course, I know that I cannot have these people with me all the time. However, it is important to support our presentations and talks on WebFWD with real cases. Those are the ones that will switch the attention of the audience you have in front. At my next presentation, unfortunately, I will not have Mason with me, but I will use videos (and we will have more :). Hopefully, Internet access will be benevolent with me avoiding embarrassing pauses waiting for the video to load! At the event, it happened. But, at the end, we transformed the odd moment in pure interest for WebFWD.”
This week our teams had the privilege to ask our alumni, Fred Dixon, questions about selling. Fred, after all, is the brains behind our sales module (knowledge and skills honed after years of blood, sweat, tears and progress!). He is also one of our esteemed menschen. So it’s no surprise he was on the call.
That said, some rather interesting (and dare we say surprising) points came of our discussion. Specifically:
We encourage you to check out Fred’s module, where he provides invaluable lessons and principles for generating sales. Like most worthwhile endeavors, the work can be hard, but the fruit is there!
We love Fred just as much as we love revenues!
As a community-powered program, WebFWD has lots of ways or you to engage with our exciting teams who are building the future of the web. First of all, you can meet them! Our 3rd class of teams are graduating on June 5! Be sure to RSVP to attend live or via the livestream here.
In addition,there are many ways for you to help us build the future of the web with us! First and foremost, we’d love it if you can refer good teams to us for our next class. We are accepting applications online for our next class until June 5. As a reminder, we are looking for teams that:
Also, if you are keen to get involved and help our future teams out, here are some options:
Spring break is over and our teams are back at it. This week Mary Colvig, who heads up contributor engagement at Mozilla, took them through some tasty recipes for building a vibrant, engaged community among your users and customers.
During our debrief, our teams had the privilege to share ideas and ask questions of Digital Strategist Michaela Thayer, a recent and very valuable addition to Mozilla. Michaela’s experience driving behavior changes such as healthy habits in her previous roles at PR firms such as Ogilvy & Mather positioned her well to field our teams questions around best practices, tools and strategies to both expand and engage their user communities.
Michaela shared a lot of nuggets today:
In sum, a community of users, contributors, partners and developers holds fantastic potential for you. Successful companies are the ones who give thought and effort into building and nurturing it!
Happy Spring! Our third WebFWD class is currently winding down its “spring break” — basically, taking a one-week breather after 5 weeks of intense strategy, positioning, user research, design and marketing work. They’ve also been refining their pitches and working with our stellar mentors. Which means we’re already setting our sights on graduation.
This means it’s time to mark your calendars! On Wednesday, June 5 our teams will be back in Mountain View at Mozilla HQ (with live streaming :) to pitch to you! The main ceremony is at 6pm PST and we’ll have a teaser at noon for those who cannot come that evening. Please RSVP for the 6pm PST event here - and if you’d like to attend the noon event, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Until then, here are some fun developments from our current and alumni teams:
- J Herskowitz of Tomahawk (WebFWD I) spoke at the Wireless Industry Partnership (and Mozilla-sponsored) Jam at Mobile World Congress in February. Tomahawk recently passed the 500K download milestone. Got a playlist you want to share? Get Tomahawk!
- The unstoppable team at codebender have redesigned their website, enlisted more hardware partners and are touring hackerspaces and universities to educate about the power of the maker movement. Curious? Check ‘em out and invite them to share the various ways you and your students can start making.
If you haven’t heard about our Scouts, this will change. It’s because our Scouts are getting more resourceful, aggressive and engaged by the week!
First a brief recap. We launched our Scouts program in 2011 because our program is global. We want to support innovators wherever they are because Mozilla supports a universal, accessible web. This means we want entrepreneurs building the web with a variety of perspectives and skills. The good news? We now have many Scouts telling our story and recruiting new teams (to date, we’ve had 5 teams learn about us directly through our Scouts!
In fact, in the last month alone we’ve welcomed Srikar Ananthula of Hyderbad, India; Justin Crawford of Denver, CO; Vasilis Georgitzikis of Patras, Greece (and a member of our WebFWD II Cohort ;); Vikash Agrawal from Uttar Pradesh, India; Lawrz Libo-on from Manila, Philippines; Shahid Ali Farooqi from Allahabad, India; Saverio Romeo from London, UK: and Alex Wafula from Nairobi, Kenya to the team. And a few more came in after the time of this writing!
A few highlights on some recent awesomeness of our Scouts:
Monique Almario learned about WebFWD this past November during Didem’s tour to the Philippines. She promptly signed on to be our first Philippino Scout and was off and running; within her first month, she shared about WebFWD at a Women Entrepreneurs event, and joined other Mozillians on a campus tour. If you are following us on Facebook, you will see her active engagement with us there too :)
Monique shares at one of her very first events…now one of many ;)
Also in the Philipppines (where you can see we have quite the Scout representation :), Jonathan Richie Yap spoke about WebFWD in the WebGeek Meetup: Startup Community Edition. Alvin Chan and Monique Almario were there to help out too! Details on the event are here.
This quarter Shahid Farooqui joined us from Allahabad, India. Shahid learned about WebFWD at our MozCamp in Singapore last year, where he attended as a Mozilla Rep. He joined us last month and quickly proved that he is not only a technologist and an academic (studying computer science and serving as a campus ambassador as an alumni of IIT), but an enterprising one at that, quickly incorporating us into a Mozilla 15-year anniversary celebration held in his town of Allahabad. He also knows sugar wins hearts.
Shahid knows that chocolate andMozilla are great tools to draw interest to WebFWD
Saverio Romeo is also out of the gate, organizing a panel featuring our alumni Mason Edwards at Birkbeck College in London later this month, along with many more speaking engagements in both the UK and his native Italy. When he’s not advocating for WebFWD, Saverio works as an analyst for leading industry market research firm Frost & Sullivan.
Our more seasoned Scouts are continuing to do fabulous work for us. Fauzan Alfi, whom Diane met on her trip to Indonesia in November 2011, recently shared how excited he was to present to over 200 students (and another WebFWD Scout, Viking ;) at the IT-Preneur event at Padjadjaran University in Badung. Fauzan observed that while open source startups have not had many roots in Indonesia, this may change with the advent of Firefox OS and the promise it has for web developers and entrepreneurs. So look forward to more from Indonesia!
Fauzan rocks the students in Bandung. Again.
Benny Chandra, another one of our Indonesian Scouts, spoke about WebFWD at Wikufest 2013 in Malang, Indonesia. And we need to note that Benny is responsible for recruiting the first application from an Indonesian team. Go Benny! And Gauthamraj Elango promoted WebFWD at Unboxfestival in Delhi, India.
Moving on to Romania: Tiberiu Turbureanu gave a talk about WebFWD at the Firefox 18 launch party in Iași, Romania, one of Romania’s Top Computer Science centers. And Vlad Maniac attended conferences and promoted WebFWD in December and initiated a WebFWD-focused GeekMeet in April at Cluj Cowork.
We even have some U.S. Scouts! Justin is planning on shaking things up at Boulder Startup Week next month, and Nick Grossman will most certainly make trouble for us around the MIT Media Lab (given one of his titles is “Chief Advocate” :).
And many of our scouts attended the Firefox OS App Days in their respective cities: Gauthamraj and Thej GN in Bangalore; the ever-intrepid Eleftherios in Athens; Joseph in Berlin; Viking, Benny, and Fauzan in Jakarta; Monique in Manila; Fabio in Sao Paulo; and Tibi in Bucharest.
There are many more stories of our Scouts - some posted here, some shared on Facebook…we will try to capture them and invite you to join us for the ride of making the web better through entrepreneurship!
How do you design your website and product in a way that ensures your visitors become customers? To do so, you need to answer three key questions:
Sound easy? Read on. Chrissie Brodigan, user experience designer and researcher at GitHub and popular teacher at General Assembly, has helped many of our teams optimize their conversions. So we were super excited when she offered to record a whole session on this for us.
And get ready: it is chock full of fabulous tidbits. Drawing off her rich experience at various startups and Mozilla, as well as industry examples from 37signals, Zerply, Netflix and more, Chrissie offers us a treasure trove of examples and tactics to help your new users become favorite customers.
Of course, you can’t improve what you can’t measure or understand, so Chrissie also helps us set baseline analytics, conduct effective A/B testing, and monitor conversion and dropoff rates. She also walks us through useful 1-question surveys, supporting metrics and UX research.
Email is another great tool to keep users who sign up interested before you launch. For users who have not done much with your site or service in a while, you can “reactivate” them with “nudge” emails (aka “nudgemails :)”
This is just a small taste of what Chrissie covers in her session. We hope to hear some of your success stories implementing her approaches, tools and techniques.
This introduction is from our current team craftyy, who will be continuing their participation in WebFWD as Commonly.cc. Enjoy the ride!
—The WebFWD Team
“We entered WebFWD with lots of ambition for our initial project, Craftyy, to become a platform of choice for game enthusiasts and hobbyists. We had a few successes, but had very little retention, and we had to constantly churn content to keep users engaged.
WebFWD’s first month’s curriculum and coaching made us take a good, hard look at our project. We realized we felt like we were spinning our wheels, because we lacked a core vision. There was no way to take Craftyy further, because there was no direction in which to go “further”. However, while brainstorming new ideas for Craftyy, we thought up of something we felt had world-changing potential.
We made a couple test prototypes, and tested them, separate from Craftyy. Our first test reached its goal of $50 in one day to release a few special effects. The second test reached its goal of $1000 in four days, to release a bundle of art & music from nine game developers. This success was far beyond our expectations! People loved the vision, the idea, and we helped nine creators earn a little money for freeing their works.
We’ve even been in touch with a few people from Creative Commons to seek their advice and are reaching out to other founders of open business models!
We are confident going forward in this brave new direction. Commonly.cc will be a platform for anyone to host their own public domain crowdfunders. And together, we will pave the way to a thriving public domain.”
Running WebFWD is hugely rewarding for so many reasons…but the primary one is working with fantastic entrepreneurs, partners and mentors. It’s the latter that compels us to honor this month’s Mensch of the Month award to our star mentor, Allen Wirfs-Brock!
So when Pascal invited him to help out, we jumped on the chance to invite him to mentor our teams. He jumped back, working with a number of teams in our last cohort and even flying down to San Francisco for just the day to coach our current teams during their Orientation pitch practicing. Now that’s serious commitment!
“He is an incredible sounding board and source of wisdom” says one of our teams. Another credits Allen’s insightful questioning as the reason behind their significant pivot — a shrewd choice to adapt early rather than drag out an unsuccessful path.
Please take some time to thank Allen with us for his amazing contributions to our teams.
Our teams are so lucky to have Allen!
This week is a big week for games! Game devs around the world are converging at GDC, Mozilla partnered with Epic to advance 3D gaming on the web, and our team at Gameleon provided Mozilla’s Developers with a closer look at the technology they built to create its game map editor. Have a peek yourself and test it out! If you really like what you see, you can also support them on Kickstarter.
—Your loving WebFWD Team
Yesterday our Mobozi team shared with the wide Mozilla developer community on MozHacks some of the steps they took to create their new API that allows for simple photo upload and serving across HTML5 apps. We encourage you to check out the post here to see how they planned, developed, designed, documented and marketed their new API. And test it out yourself!
Below is the final submission from our new teams from Appsembler. And be sure to check out their blog - we particularly loved their piece on “10 Things Every Open Source Project Should Have.” :) Enjoy!
“The barriers to adopting open source software are falling, but today it’s still too hard to find, try and buy open source. Appsembler knocks down these walls by empowering anyone to try out open source web apps with one click.
We started Appsembler with the mission to help open source software developers turn their web applications into SaaS products, and build sustainable businesses so they can work on what they love. We focused initially on the hosting and billing aspect since those are thorny problems to solve, but critical to make it easy for end-users to try and buy the software.
What we’ve discovered is that these problems are trivial when compared to the bigger problem of app discovery. Marketing, promoting and selling the software is infinitely more complex, especially for developers who are typically clueless about how to do this effectively. Appsembler will provide an end-to-end solution for developers to “SaaS-ify” their software and go to market quickly.
We’re excited to be a part of the WebFWD program because Mozilla’s mission is very much in line with our mission of being a catalyst for open source innovation. Mozilla is tackling some of the same problems with Marketplace and Persona and we hope to learn and leverage these technologies in our own offering.”— Nate Aune, Founder, Appsembler
This week our teams are immersing themselves in designing for users! We’ve got videos on user research with Diane Loviglio, responsive design from Matt Kelly and Jonathan Smiley of ZURB Design, and designing for conversion and new customers from Brian Dils and Chrissie Brodigan.
Even better: we have Chrissie and other UX pros giving our teams hands-on, individual advice. Today Carl Nelson gave our Mobozi and Nudge teams some hands-on guidance on scoping out their research and key tools to use to get the most learnings in a lean environment. And Chrissie, Jennifer Morrow (aka Boriss) and Aaron Druck will be working with our other teams to provide them with customized advice in the next few weeks.
We love lavishing our teams with the best user experience and design expertise in the market. Because it’s not about the code. It’s about the users.
Carl lays some truth with Nudge today.