Blog

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:

  • Are building products / services that make the web (including the mobile web) better and more open;
  • Have open source products (at least, a component) or are leveraging the power of HTML5;
  • Have built at minimum a working prototype

….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!

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.”

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 :)

image

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.

image

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!

image

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!

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:

  • Do lots of research into your topic so you have confidence when you speak; and
  • Choose your words carefully to make just the right points.
  • Know our talking points for each slide (especially the ones not written out on the slide!)
  • Keep practicing until you can meet your time limit. I kept going to 7 minutes even though I had 5!

How did I do this?

At home I:

  • Printed the slides and wrote notes on the paper and practiced to talk I went back to the slides without notes and practiced again.
  • Mixed the rhythm of the talk, alternating between complexity and abstraction, joke and seriousness, etc.
  • Took time for short naps to help me prioritize my thoughts. Naps also help the brain to settle the new stuff in the long-term memory (which is what I needed to do!).

At the event, I paid close attention to other talks, noting:

  • Whether the speakers were reading or speaking from memory.
  • Where the speakers made eye contact, and what was most effective.
  • What kind of jokes they made, how they dealt with mistakes and how their body language worked; and
  • How many finished their talk within the given timeframe.

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:

  • Was relatively relaxed so I could concentrate on what I was saying and how I delivered it;
  • Could say everything what I wanted and provide additional information as needed;
  • Could even focus on the people in the audience and speak with them later!”

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!

image

Our Two Newest Scouts

Sep 25, 2012
scouts 

As a global program, we are indebted to the passion and commitment of our friends far and wide to share about WebFWD in their respective networks. Those that want to make a specific commitment to doing so can join the ranks of our esteemed Scouts. We’ve recently added 2 more to our ranks, covering Gaza and New York City, respectively. We’re excited to have both of them as a part of our WebFWD community!

Fadel Waheed is a Mozilla contributor who just simply loves open source. He brings his technical and marketing skills to web lovers in the Gaza Strip, and is already scheduled to present on WebFWD in Egypt and Gaza this month!

Vanessa Hurst is a self-described data-focused technologist, Girl Scout, and lover of open web and open culture. She is the founder of Developers for Good & co-founder of Girl Develop It. She’s already shared some neat ideas with our team and we’re excited to have her on board to share about WebFWD in the New York City area.

The following is a report from WebFWD Scout Thomas Bassetto, on the ground in Paris.

"This week the 4th edition of ‘Pas Sage En Seine (PSES)' took place in Paris. PSES is a mix of conferences and workshops, free and open to anyone. The topics are more or less technical but the purpose of the event is to popularize all subjects, from Hacking and IT to the economy through art, electronics and media.

The Sunday I had the chance to give an introduction about WebFWD - my first that wasn’t a lightning talk. To start, I asked the public who knew of WebFWD, which turned out to be 3 out of 50 people. That was expected as I know I still have a lot of work to do :). I then briefly talked about the first year of WebFWD and the new 12-week program. Finally I presented the portfolio. At the end, I was asked two questions:

  1. What are business models for Open Source startups?
  2. Once enrolled, is it possible to get support from employee in the Paris office (underlying this was the question as to whether the program is English-only)?

Let’s use the blog post to publicly answer these two questions.

(1) Business model examples for open source companies:

The two best known are:

  • Integration and support (example: RedHat)
  • Services and hosting (example: WordPress)

Of course, other less common models exist (such as Mozilla in its partnership with search providers) - this is something WebFWD seeks to grow.

(2) WebFWD support for global teams.

The program calls, courses and coaching are delivered remotely via BigBlueButton, Skype, IRC and other channels as our teams are located all over the world. It is all in English. If your team is located near a MozSpace, you can certainly work there.”

A final note on the portfolio.

There were some questions as to whether teams needed to be 100% open source to be in the portfolio. WebFWD’s answer is no: the main criteria is that teams are aligned with Mozilla’s mission; how you do your code is important, but even more important is is the ability to build a sustainable business model around companies that disrupt closed markets to keep the web open.”

Though February may be the shortest month, WebFWD Scouts have filled it with outreach and activity around the world. The month closes with some big announcements from Mozilla at Mobile Web Congress in Barcelona — covered by WebFWD Scout Tristan Nitot, on his new blog: The Web is the platform, and you can hold it in your hand.

February opened with a strong Mozilla presence in chilly Brussels for FOSDEM 2012. Developer evangelist and games programmer Rob Hawkes reported back with this roundup: FOSDEM 2012: Mozilla Labs Apps and The Future of HTML5 Games. And WebFWD Scout Brian King presented a WebFWD overview.

Here are some other links we gathered:

  • This John Battelle post was circulating on one of the Mozilla mailing lists a few weeks back: It’s Not Whether Google’s Threatened. It’s Asking Ourselves: What Commons Do We Wish For?. Battelle certainly knows how to write an SEO-optimized title/headline. He also captures the shifting equilibrium and fragmentation that’s happening online as the Web becomes increasingly mobile and app-driven.
  • SaaS Fatigue | By Sacha Greif is a rant from a Paris-based developer about the new trend where more and more apps want to charge you monthly or yearly. Is there also an opportunity here?
  • Rise of the Independents: Venture capitalist Bryce Roberts envisions a web of independent operators. Enabled by “democratized digital distribution and the rise of crowdfunding sources of capital, many companies will be in a position to stay independent and play by their own rules,” he writes. Great food for WebFWD thought!

And a collection from Europe. (Thanks Brian King!)

Joseph Somogyi introduced WebFWD to a Lean Startup Meetup in Berlin last week and fielded questions from participants about project readiness for applying to the WebFWD program.

Noted Ubuntu guy and FOSS contributor Benjamin Kerensa posted Mozilla WebFWD: I’m in, about why he’s excited to become a WebFWD Scout. Welcome Benjamin and all the other new Scouts. Can’t wait to read about your activities in the months ahead!

Collected by Havi Hoffman
Photo credit: binoculars 4 by Jo Bourne

Like the rest of the Mozilla project, WebFWD is deeply committed to building a global presence and cultivating a global community, while doing the most we can with a small team and a lean approach.

That’s what inspired us to recruit a network of Scouts, to serve as eyes and ears on the ground, identifying skilled developers and entrepreneurial open source projects around the world. Our Scouts are based in Indonesia, Singapore, India, Kenya, Greece, France, Germany, the UK, the US, Canada and beyond. They’re active participants in the WebFWD community and in their local tech communities - introducing WebFWD at conferences and events in their locales and in their online lives. We thought it’d be fun to share some of their activities as well resources and links they’ve curated.

Here’s our first roundup of Scout sightings:

Prolific tweeter Fauzan Alfi (@fauzanalfi) reports on a great event about to happen in Bandung, Java, Indonesia: In March 2012, Yohan Totting (@tyohan) and FOWAB (@fowab) will hold Geekfest 2012, a homegrown event similar to SXSW. It’s an opportunity for us to talk and share about WebFWD to all geeks there.

From Paris, Thomas Bassetto (@tbassetto) recommends: Obvious to you. Amazing to others. From the always amazing Derek Sivers: “Do not be afraid to share something obvious to you, because everyone has to learn some time. And anything which helps people realise something true is worth repeating from time to time.”

Finally, here’s a short list of interesting links from Brian King (@brianking) an Irishman who lives in Slovenia:

WebFWD scouts Brian King and Tristan Nitot, mentor Curt Smolar, and fellow Patrick Santana (of the OpenPhoto Project) will all be at FOSDEM in Brussels, Belgium, February 4-5. Look for Brian King’s WebFWD talk on Saturday afternoon in the Mozilla Devroom. And in Berlin, our newest Scout, Joseph Somogyi recently introduced WebFWD to the Chaos Computer Club, and will speak about WebFWD at various open source events in the coming months. Stay tuned for details.

Thanks everyone for your efforts and outreach. More sightings in the year ahead!

Photo credit: Binoculars portrait by gerlos

Do You Want A Better Web? Become a WebFWD Scout!
WebFWD, Mozilla’s accelerator and incubator program, is looking for awesome scouts around the world to help us find the most amazing open source projects. WebFWD Scouts are our eyes and ears on the ground, pointing us to entrepreneurs and developers with the skills and ideas to make the world a better place. As a scout, you become a key participant in the wider WebFWD team and community.

Intrigued?
Here’s the low-down: We’re looking for people on all seven continents (well - six, as Antarctica might be a stretch) who are well-connected in their communities, active in tech events and meetups, and know people who know people… In a word, you are a connector. You see interesting stuff all the time and other people seek you out for your opinion. And perhaps most importantly, you are driven by a desire to make the Web a better place.

As a WebFWD Scout, you’ll seek out projects which align with the WebFWD framework: Open Source, Open Web, Social Entrepreneurship. At Mozilla, we have a strong current focus on apps that enable a personalized web experience with the user in control, and we are actively seeking projects with a penchant for mobile first.

When you find something you believe is a great fit, you simply get in touch with us. Together, we’ll review the prospective project in more detail.

Ready to sign up?
Sign up here and let’s get to work scouting the world for the best WebFWD projects!