Last year we had the privilege of hosting a few events with Black Founders, a fantastic organization doing great things for tech entrepreneurs. At one of the events we had the pleasure of meeting Chad Whitacre, chief promulgator of Gittip, a radically open organization seeking to change how value is exchanged. Gittip brought along their partner Balanced, a payments processing, escrow and payouts service.
Fast forward a few (or maybe 9) months or so and we all reconnected when Balanced came up with the idea of exploring how “open” extends not only to code, but to business practices. Balanced help us frame the topic with a quote from Eric Raymond, author of the classic work The Cathedral and the Bazaar:
“I expect the open-source movement to have essentially won its point about software within three to five years (that is, by 2003–2005). Once that is accomplished, and the results have been manifest for a while, they will become part of the background culture of non-programmers. At that point it will become more appropriate to try to leverage open-source insights in wider domains.”
There were 4 panelists:
In February, our steadfast Scout Joseph Somogyi had the opportunity to share a talk about WebFWD at one of our Firefox OS App Days. He shared some of his lessons with us, which we think are useful to those of you preparing your own talks on any subject. Enjoy!
“To start preparing, I used the slides Diane posted on Slideshare….but I still practiced 2 days!
My practice taught me some important things:
How did I do this?
At home I:
At the event, I paid close attention to other talks, noting:
So again I practiced in the venue, with the printed slides on the paper and my notes on them, in a quiet corner.
While I was actually presenting, I:
All of Joseph’s diligence and attention to detail are why we consider ourselves so lucky to have Scouts like him. Thank you Joseph for all that you do for WebFWD and Mozilla!
As you may know, our teams participate in WebFWD from all corners of the globe. So when we come together on our team calls every Tuesday & Thursday, we get down to business on their businesses. They share their victories, their questions and their struggles. And often we are joined by many industry veterans who can bring their own experiences into play to coach and guide our teams.
Today was a fantastic example of this. Our teams shared questions on their customer segments and messages with Jane Finette, who has led marketing for world-class brands such as Firefox and eBay and now coaches various teams at Astia and her own mentoring non-profit, Mentor For Good.
On our call, Jane helped field questions about when target segments overlap, how much a startup should prioritize current vs “aspirational” segments, whether a customer includes someone who does not pay for your service, what to do if your value proposition has changed, and more.
We culled out a few themes from Jane’s advice for our teams:
You can see Jane’s advice and work on these exercises yourself here. Happy segmenting!
The Anahita team believes many future web and mobile services will be built on social foundations where social interactions amongst the users will be inherent part of the services. Anahita provides such a foundation that is a powerful framework and platform specialized for developing social web and mobile services.
The Anahita team has identified the recurring patterns that exist in all social networks and developed them into reusable design patterns called the nodes-graphs-stories architecture. Anahita has been in development for the past 4 years and it is currently available as a stable release for public to download.
The Anahita co-founders have years of experience in developing custom iPhone, iPad and Android apps as well as social networking technologies.
Rastin and Ash are looking forward to get to know the innovators and experienced people in the Mozilla family and gain the necessary knowledge to position Anahita as a primary technology for sharing knowledge, online learning and communication amongst people and organizations around the world.
Nick Liow & Jason Church are a game-developer duo. Games have a wide reach, and encompass skills from art to design to code. We realized this meant games would be the best way to turn consumers into makers.
Craftyy is our project which aims to add a Remix button to every game. With it, we can enable players to customize, build upon, and share their work for future players to enjoy. A game that constantly evolves goes from being a mere time-waster, to being the core of a community.
After our successful Kickstarter campaign we started looking for support and mentorship. Given the “remixable” nature of Craftyy, we joined WebFWD knowing they can best address the unique challenges of that intersection between open innovation and business.
We look forward to WebFWD!
Our team of geeks got together two years ago with the mission of making a cutting-edge HTML5 game that rivaled the complexity of Triple-A games for desktop PCs. We had a mixed background, from business-to-business software solutions to architecture and concept art, but what we shared was our passion for gaming. We developed BugTopia, the game of tiny adventures on an epic scale, the tale clever insects who rule the world and struggle for resources in the mysterious Land of Harendar.
A year into development, we’d already created the prototype for Gameleon: it was the game editor we used to create and publish content for BugTopia. That’s when we realized we had an awesome product, so we focused all our efforts into polishing and refining the editor into something that can be used by anyone in the world to create their very own MMORPG’s for the web. We really wanted to democratize game-making - and here we are today!
We won the IXIA Innovation prize at How To Web and have received seed funding from Eleven Accelerator. The next logical step was applying to Mozilla’s WebFWD program, not only because it would have been an honor to participate, but because it would have been an acknowledgement that our idea had great potential. Together with Mozilla, we know we can bring about a big change in the web gaming world!
This month’s MoM has a special place in our heart. He became familiar with Mozilla well before WebFWD was a twinkle in its eye, as his wife was a marketing exec for Firefox back in 2009-10. As a long-time institutional investor, Didem and Pascal recruited him to be a mentor at the program’s kickoff and was off and running.
He mentored our teams (so much that he joined one of their advisory boards!), and hooked us up with world-renowned frog design to give quite an extraordinary talk to our teams (it’s pretty awesome, and if you watch it now you’ll see how prescient a talk that is!).
He even donned the makeup to appear in our 2nd promotional video (go to 1:31 on our home page today :)…and let’s not forget *he* recruited Diane, who worked with him back in the Web-a-saurus days of 1.0, to join the WebFWD team. Score for Diane!
Then he left the demanding world of investing for an even more demanding role as CEO of a leading mobile games company. Natch - he was still all over grilling our WebFWD II teams before they pitched on their graduation day last month.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, our February Mensch of the Month is Marco DeMiroz. Marco, you rock and we are so lucky to have you!
Good thing we snagged him before SAG did!
mist.io is an open source freemium service that helps you manage and monitor your virtual machines on multiple public and private clouds using your mobile phone, tablet or laptop.
We’ve been working together for several years and in 2009 we co-founded unweb.me, a software consultancy. We were researching existing tools to help us manage our cloud servers but none seemed up to the task so we built mist.io. As the project grew, two new members were added to the team: Stephane, an expert in front end development and mobile applications; and Yiannis, a talented designer, UI/UX specialist and creative coder.
Cloud computing makes our lives easier, but also makes it easy to forget where our data really lives and who has ultimate control. With mist.io we want to empower the cloud user instead of the provider. We’re terrified to witness cloud providers abusing their control over their clients’ infrastructure for political ends (e.g. Amazon vs Wikileaks). Interoperability, open standards and open source software are essential to the information society, so we are working with Mozilla and WebFWD to contribute towards a more open Internet.
Mobile devices have become huge media creation tools, however very little of this sharing is done through the mobile web. Mobozi is building a mobile web platform for creating, collecting, and managing user generated media. We are utilizing HTML5 to make dealing with media over the web just as easy and enjoyable as through a native app.
Raj and Nick met on AngelList and founded Mobozi in Septermber 2012. Before that, Nick worked for a consulting firm in Japan and an interactive agency in Dallas. Raj spent the last 10 years leading application development for several federal agencies and large enterprises.
Nick and Raj are both fascinated by the proliferation of personal media creation that mobile devices have enabled, but prefer developing on the web rather than proprietary mobile frameworks. It was their love of the Open Web that led them to found Mobozi and eventually join Mozilla’s WebFWD.
Nudge is a better way to build websites. Our web-based platform lets individuals and teams design, develop, and manage projects in one place, on a single stack.
A bit more on us:
Breck: I am from Brockton, MA. I attended Duke University and have spent the last five years as a software engineer. I am currently a cofounder, CEO, and developer for Nudge.
Ben: I am from Seattle. I split time in college between Amherst and Georgetown. I moved to San Francisco in 2008 to work for Google. I am currently a cofounder, designer, and front-end developer for Nudge.
We are excited to be joining Mozilla WebFWD. We admire Mozilla’s commitment to open source and hope to join Mozilla’s efforts in creating a more open and democratic web. The WebFWD program offers us access to an amazing developer community and a team of experts that can help us tackle the technical challenges of building a web-based platform.
Vizme is an HTML5 app development platform that simplifies and accelerates the creation, storage, testing, and hosting of fully cross-platform (desktop and mobile) web and hybrid apps and sites. By integrating over 1,300 open-source and public libraries into one coherent platform and automating over 500 development tasks, Vizme makes it much easier for web developers to create remarkable HTML5 apps and sites.
Our team members include:
We were attracted to WebFWD and Mozilla because their mission to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the web aligns well with our goal of making HTML5 web app development easier.
We’re back at it again! After a successful graduation of our last cohort, we’ve already recruited our next class! They’ll be assembling at Mozilla’s HQ and San Francisco offices next week for a series of pitching and meetings with our community.
We’ll do individual blog posts with more details on each team here in the next few weeks; until then, here’s the First Look at these amazing teams, representing Athens, Boston, Bucharest, San Francisco, Vancouver, and Eugene, Oregon!
Our alums at wercker are releasing their public beta this quarter. As you may recall, wercker was among our January graduates and finished our cohort with an announcement of funding by Greylock, Shamrock Ventures and Vitulum Ventures.
A brief video overview is below and you can read more about the team’s vision in today’s MozHacks!
Fairly early on in our development of WebFWD program we launched our Scouts program. As our eyes and ears (and mouths) on the ground in various centers of tech activity, our Scouts have proved to be a critical element in our success. They’ve driven awareness by appearing at many meetups and industry events, spreading the word about the resources we have to offer innovative web startups. We can proudly point to 3 of our teams who have been referred to us by our Scouts!
We hope you join us in welcoming our newest WebFWD Scouts!
You can read more about their backgrounds on the scouts page here.
All of our new Scouts have jumped in, taking quick initiative in spreading word for WebFWD all around the world. Here is just a taste of some recent activities from them and our other Scouts:
Now that’s a global team for a global web!
Monique gets ramped up in the Philippines!
Last month we unveiled our Mensch of the Month Award (aka “MoM”). In short, it’s for people who go above and beyond the expected. Who serve others without hope of getting something back. The people who go out of their way to help others with no hope of payback. They pay it forward.
Often this involves behind the scenes stuff. Doing things that aren’t recognized. When our teams graduated last week, they were featured in some gorgeous glossy programs that the 80 or so attendees used for Tweet instructions and general information on our teams.
Just so purdy
Of course, we didn’t “outsource” these programs in the traditional sense. Instead, we went to the professional we knew would do a fantastic job based on his work for our first class. Jesse von Doom: an accomplished graphic artist, WebFWD alum and yes, total mensch, produced these programs for our 2nd graduation (as well as the 1st, we might add).
Not only did Jesse do a fabulous job, but he did it in the same way he participated in our program: with an insanely positive attitude and energy, coming up with ways to serve and go beyond what is expected. Dubbing Jesse MoM represents his overall modus operandi of constantly excelling and striving to help others.
People like Jesse make what we do a joy, not a job. Thank you Jesse!