April Mozilla Board Slides: Q1 Review

April 22, 2013 § 2 Comments

At last week’s Mozilla Foundation board meeting, we looked at what we’ve done so far in 2013 and what we need to do next. Key messages from the discussion: We’re making good progress on Webmaker. We we shipped better Popcorn and Badges tools. We added a ‘teach’ section to webmaker.org. We undertook experiments with new kinds of remixable content.

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However, we still need to roll all this into a Webmaker v2 that will excite and provide value to makers. Also, we need to recognize that we’re doing more than just Webmaker this year: Open Badges is growing even more rapidly than expected. I’ve posted slides from the board meeting here and summarized the content below

As a reminder: our overarching goal for 2013 is to turn Webmaker in a popular way to both make and learn on the web. We set these more specific goals:

  • Goal #1: make Webmaker into popular way to make and remix web content (target = 250k makers)
  • Goal #2: build better ways to level up skills, craft and code as you make (target = 1M badges)
  • Goal #3: grow our global community of mentors to power Webmaker (target = 10k mentors)

While we didn’t explicitly make it a top level goal, it’s clear that ‘make Open Badges successful’ and ‘respond to the demand we’re seeing for badges’ have also become major priorities for 2013.

We’ve made a solid start on all these goals in Q1: building the foundations for Webmaker v2 and growing the Open badges project significantly. Some highlights re: things we shipped and balls we moved:

  • PopcornMaker shipped ability to use multiple media files plus better social media sharing.
  • Open Badges / Badger shipped 1.0, now ready for Webmaker plus 700 other partner sites.
  • Webmaker.org added a ‘teach’ section to house hacktivity kits and other resources for mentors.
  • Using Hive and ReMo as a base, we’ve built a core cadre of Webmaker ‘super mentors’.
  • Maker Party 2013 is teed up as a major platform for Mozilla and 40+ partner orgs.

While this is solid progress, it’s important to recognize that we still need to roll all of this into a Webmaker v2 that will truly excite and provide value to makers, mentors and learners. Challenges we face include:

  • We’ve had a tough time finding right mix of making (goal #1) and learning (goal #2) in the remixable content we’ve been developing for Webmaker v2. We need to get better at adding elements designed to teach specific webmaking skills..
  • We started the year with a fragmented technical infrastructure: we’ve had to invest a lot of time in underlying technology like single sign on and a shared publishing system for all Webmaker content.
  • We still don’t have an approach to localization: this hard to nail down given the fact that our tools and site are going through rapid changes.

Another challenge is that the scope of our goals is shifting: Open Badges and Open News continue to grow as major initiatives above an beyond what we’re doing with Webmaker. We need to accept the fact that we’re still a multi product / project org and find a way to better support this growth.

The good news: we have a clear plans in place that aim directly at these challenges. The top three priorities as we move through Q2 are:

  • Priority #1: ship a v2 of webmaker.org that attracts makers and bakes in learning. (Lead: Brett, w/ Paula)
  • Priority #2: drive momentum with mentors and Maker Party 2013, act like a movement. (Lead: Chris, w/ Erica)
  • Priority #3: strong Open Badges proof point via Chicago Summer of Learning. (Lead: Erin)

Work on all three of these priorities is well underway and we are making good progress. As we do this work, there a three questions we should be actively discussing:

  • Do we have the right making and learning balance as Webmaker v2 ships?
  • Are we providing value to makers and mentors? Are they using the site? Running events?
  • How can we support Open Badges to respond to growing demand? (June board meeting)

We should all be keeping these things in mind as we build out Webmaker v2, Maker Party and Chicago Summer of Learning, especially the question: are we providing value?

It’s an interesting and intense time. Real traction on our big dreams is within sight: a Mozilla-backed movement where people champion creativity and making on the web; a new era of remixable, Legolike web content; a world of learning that works like the web. At the same time, we’re all heads down on the details of building tools, shipping web sites, making content, writing curriculum and recruiting partners. While it can be stressful, this its actually a very good, Mozilla-like place to be. Our hands are mucky shipping things while we are still aimed at and inspired by big dreams of making the web a better place.

Over the next few months, its going to be important to help each other keep this balance. Reach out to someone working on another part of the project to understand what they are working on. Pitch in as people test and irritate what they’re building. Offer advice to new community members as they show up for the first time (thats going to start happening slot). It may feel like we’re all working on different things: but everything we’re doing all points in the same direction of inspiring and empowering people using the web.

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