roughly edged ideas about building stuff

build your movement here

Posted by suneelgupta on November 5, 2008

At MozCamp Europe, where I met many members of the Firefox community, it became clear to me that Mozilla hasn’t just built a product…it has built a movement. I wonder if the next step is to help others build theirs.

LinkedIn recently created a suite of applications to enable its users to have a stronger professional web presence. The question is whether Mozilla should create a similar suite of applications to strengthen web capabilities for movements and if so, what kinds of tools should be included in the suite?


My sense is that developing a “Movement Suite” makes sense for three reasons. First, in recent weeks, we have started to think hard about how to engage a broader public.  One clear way to accomplish this is to support a long tail of missions that need to leverage the web to accomplish their goals. Second, Firefox-based movements would organically attract and retain new people to the user community. Third, making the web a better tool for social good aligns with Mozilla’s overall mission to make the web a healthier place.

If we agree that this makes sense, then let’s think about the type of tools a Movement Suite would include.  Atul Varma and I brainstormed about this for a bit and developed some initial thoughts:

1. A mass-mailing tool for email campaigns. For example, a Mail Chimp type tool to help movements design compelling emails and distribute them at scale.

2. A discussion tool to promote ideas and encourage discussion. Atul pointed out that of the 15 candidates that recently for the San Francisco Board of Education, only 7 of them set up websites, and only 1 of those 7 had a campaign blog.

3. A concept sharing tool to help collaborate on vision. For example, LinkedIn included Slide Share in their application suite and we could consider including a similar tool.

Those are just some initial thoughts and this list needs expansion. If you wanted to start a new movement today, what types of tools would you need to get it off the ground quickly?


5 Responses to “build your movement here”

  1. msurman said

    Mozilla as movement indeed. More of us are talking that way. As you know, my thing is that we need to dig a bit deeper to see what we mean here, and to figure out how the open web can trigger even more massive community engagement than Mozilla has seen to date. A movement of everyone who benefits from the open web and wants to keep it vibrant.

    In terms of *building* movement tools, it’d be interesting to think through where Mozilla can actually add value. There are already a ton of people in that space. Here is a starting point:

    My sense is that we’ve got more to offer with our convening power and conceptual tools than we do competing with folks like the ones listed on this page. We have the power to draw people building movement tech tools together (did someone say ‘Hybrid Org Summit’?). More importantly, we have a ton of experience organizing and growing real communities that produce real products that people love. Doing this is something we can *teach* others without having to write software to do it.

    Anyways, good to keep the movement meme going … if only to push our thinking on what ‘a broader community’ means. You’ll notice that Tristan Nitot dropped the M-word in a blog post today. You should hang with him while he is in Mountain View this week.

  2. […] gupta.think ideas about innovation and progress…collaborated. « build your movement here […]

  3. suneelgupta said

    Building my next post around your two sets of comments because they are both important. But two brief thoughts: 1) Mozilla’s value is its ability to ramp distribution quickly via its assets of traffic and trust, and 2) We’re in agreement that we have more to offer with our convening power, which is why a “suite of applications” would require no building internally, but rather would require us to a) determine which 8-10 of the over 6,000 add-ons submitted to would be most helpful in building or expanding a movement, b) package those add-ons into a suite (similar to Linked In), and c) promote the suite.

    Full post:

  4. […] talk on his new site Empower Thyself. Suneel Gupta’s been writing an excellent series of blog posts about how Mozilla can help give individuals the tools they need to start movements. The […]

  5. I’m very happy to uncover this web site. I need to to thank you for your time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every bit of it and I have you book-marked to check out new things in your blog.

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