Traveling for Mozilla is a humbling experience. It’s easy sometimes to look at the rise of Firefox as a market phenomenon, as a set of amazing numbers, as a set of graphs all trending up and to the right. And that’s true enough, of course — but the eye-popping numbers — the maybe 150,000,000 (we hit 50M daily users a couple of weeks ago, which roughly equates to 150M active) people around the world who use the technology — they’re gaudy enough that sometimes they obscure the more important story.
The story’s simple — it started 10 years ago in a way that not many people knew how to interpret at the time or since — but it’s always been a story of individuals deciding that the world can, and should, be better, and that the best way to make that happen is to jump in and get started.
That the best way to get a menu to look a certain way is to start writing code. That the best way to get a browser in a certain language is start translating strings. That the best way to help people understand the importance of the Internet is to start talking to everyone.
This trip, and every trip I’ve taken for Mozilla — 3 to Europe, 5 to Japan, and 3 to China so far — has been an object lesson in this theme. I got to spend time with Tristan and Peter, who decided some years ago that Mozilla in Europe was important enough to start with uncertain prospects — they’re amazing in their dedication and results. And with Pascal, who is so generative and productive that the running joke is that he’s going to have to get some sleep one of these years. And Anne-Julie and Jane, who’re bringing marketing skills to bear on the problem. This trip I also got to spend time with Zbigniew Braniecki (aka Gandalf), who’s a member (among many, many others, as he’ll attest) in our Polish community and is inspiring to talk with about any subject.
Anyway, last week reminded me yet again of how many people there are around the world who care incredibly deeply about keeping the web open — not just in Europe or Mountain View, but everywhere. Thanks to everyone for a great week.