I had the great fortune to work with a remarkable community manager for a few years, Jim Grisanzio currently of Tokyo. Jim has a knack of maintaining a constructive attitude, giving credibility to a project and bringing people together. If you’ve attended a Linux or OpenSolaris User Group in Tokyo in the last 4 years, I think there’s every chance you’ve met Jim. One of the things I learned from him was that you should not be afraid to invent and reinvent different community structures. Communities change in size, interest and focus all the time. If the bonds are meaningful, they will withstand the friction of a new mailing list, a new bookmark, a new IRC channel.
So, starting today, I’d like to announce the Mozilla Market Insights community list. This list is for anyone with an interest in tracing market developments in Internet software, and especially the web browser market, for sharing of both qualitative and quantitative data, and for getting access to the expertise of others in those activities. In scope for discussion: demographics, market shares, product comparisons, methodologies for all of the above, and how they relate to Mozilla and open web projects. Not in scope: marketing campaigns and events, changes to Mozilla (and especially Firefox) product road-map.
Why another list?
18 months ago, we dusted off the Marketing List which I think has become quite vibrant. At the same time, “marketing” is a rather broad term, from campaigns to product information to newsletters to events. And while I think there is some level of interest in discuss market insights within the marketing list, I think we are at a a volume of traffic now where not all threads are getting followed up on.
A couple of folks, Bob Chao and Majken Connor both expressed concerns about creating a new list, concerns which I want to acknowledge. Bob’s point (at least, my paraphrasing, which Bob can correct if needed) was that my motivations of creating a “quieter” place for this kind of work might reduce participation and that we should, essentially, be loud and proud in everything we do. He has an excellent point, but I still maintain that a specific list will increase participation amongst a few interested parties. I think that Majken’s shared some of these concerns and was also bothered about potential fragmentation. So, I think that sets the bar quite well – I’d like to get this list up and assess it by the end of the year. If we feel that participation has declined or that we feel fragmented as a community, then I’ll happily kill the list and revert to the old state. Of course, I will do whatever I can to make sure that doesn’t happen.
So, if you enjoy numbers that have been crunched, or have some of your own to crunch, if you have a view on just how many web-capable devices there are per person (and what it was 2 years ago and what it will be in 2 years’ time), or if you have an idea just how many browsers there are for Android right now, please join the list. Right now, I’m putting together a forecast for adoption of Firefox 4, and I’ll be delighted to share and hear other perspectives. So, if this is appealing to you, please sign up here Mozilla Market Insights community list or firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you on the Internet…