Webmaking, one year in

August 19, 2012 § 3 Comments

The Mozilla Webmaker idea has come a long way. This time last year, it was just that: an idea. The Mozilla Drumbeat team met late last July to discuss where to go next. While on vacation, I wrote up notes from that meeting and began a series of blog posts about what became Mozilla Webmaker.

During this year’s vacation, I took a look back at last year’s notes. Here is the summary section:

a. We set up Drumbeat to figure out how to extend our mission beyond Firefox (and beyond software).

b. What we found: Mozilla has an opportunity to build the next generation of web makers. This opportunity is huge.

c. At it’s core, this is about helping makers and creators understand, use and extend the building blocks that make up the web.

d. It’s also about creating a new kind of learning institution and new web tools that invite creativity, tinkering and invention.

e. We can — and should — do these things. They will help us keep the Mozilla spirit alive even as the web changes.

It felt good to look back at these notes. I’m proud of how we’ve focused and refined these ideas. We’ve really doubled down on this original thinking and brought it to life. In particular, I’m proud of where we’ve gone with the idea of ‘new web tools that invite creativity, tinkering and invention.’ Creativity apps for the web could become one of Mozilla’s biggest sweet spots over the coming years: Popcorn and Thimble have given us an early glimpse of this.

It does feel like we left one very important thing out of the bullets above: community and contribution. This really struck me as I re-read my notes. In our early work on the Mozilla Webmaker concept, we did good job of nailing the ‘why’ (create a web literate planet) and the ‘what’  (tools and learning programs the fuel creativity on the web), but we focused much less on the ‘how’ (by working with people around the world who share our vision).

Of course, a great community has sprung up around Mozilla Webmaker. Well over 1,000 of you helped shape our early thinking and ran events as part of our Summer Code Party. But this omission from our early framing does make me wonder: have we put enough emphasis on contribution and community?

My guess is ‘probably not’: we could be doing a better job of finding, supporting and providing value to people around the world who want to help create a web literate planet. Personally, figuring out how to up our game in this area this is my number one priority this fall. I’m going to post more as I dig into this. In the meantime, I’m very much open to suggestions and feedback on this front.

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