#231 Interview with Mitchell Baker of Mozilla

In this exclusive interview (don’t they always call it “exclusive” to make it sound cool?) I talk to Mitchell Baker the Chairperson and Chief Lizard Wrangler of Mozilla about how you go from a failure to 24% market share using primarily volunteer labor across the world. Links from our discussion include Mitchell and John Lilly’s op-ed piece on Net Neutrality at the Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com and labs.mozilla.org and browser Market Share by Net Applications at marketshare.hitslink.com. Also Mitchell’s blog at blog.lizardwrangler.com.

Listen to the Podcast Once (45 min)

Mitchell BakerI have the great pleasure of introducing to you to  Mitchell Baker, the Chairperson of the Mozilla Foundation, the people who bring us the Firefox web browser and the Thunderbird email client.  Welcome to the show!

  • I know there’s the Mozilla Foundation which is not for profit, but there’s also the Mozilla Corporation which is for profit.  Can you explain how those two pieces fit together in the development of the tools we use?
  • Can you explain how a small non-profit organization creates a web browser that has stormed to 23.75% of the market (source: Market Share by Net Applications)?
  • Bart, my co-host has one question he really wanted me to ask.  FireFox has been developing at a rapid pace with a constant stream of new features, and we can tell we’re using a cutting edge product under rapid development.  The same doesn’t seem to be true of thunderbird – no new features, no evolution of the interface, only security patches. There’s a new beta out there but full release has been on the horizon for a long time.  Do you have anything to tell us about the future of Thunderbird?
    • You will see Thunderbird released before the end of the year, and it will be extension friendly with vastly improved search, and tabs (which Mitchell has been asking for)
    • Also look for Raindrop coming eventually – it’s about communications filling the need to manage things like chat and Twitter and Mail all together. Just started this idea
  • Why do they call you the Lizard Wrangler?
  • I have a bone to pick with you – they call my show the Nozillacast because of Mozilla!
  • Final Question:  do you have a favorite Firefox plugin?
    • Weave which is an experimental extension that allows you to sync your browser-related data, and StumbleUpon
  • If there’s anything in particular you’d like to promote?
    • We can’t disturb 330 million people now so we needed a place to test ideas out. “what would it look like if…” “what if tabs looked like this…”  We have a Usability Study going called Test Pilot (has a cool logo too) where you can test out our new ideas.
    • http://labs.mozilla.org
    • Also working on a new tool called Raindrop which is centered around communications – looking at how you manage mail, instant messaging, twitter. This one is still in early development.

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