02
Nov 10

Goodbye, Mozilla

Almost two weeks ago, I had an emotional last day at Mozilla, the best place I’ve ever had the honor of calling “employer.”  The 22 months I’ve spent at Mozilla have been the most rewarding and challenging of my career.  I joined at a time of transition and had the great honor of working with some of the smartest people I’ve ever met, on a mission that has fundamentally changed the internet for everyone, regardless of the browser they happen to use.  Mozilla has a reach and influence that is the envy of many organizations in tech, and they will continue to grow and advance the state of the art in some obvious and surprising ways.

I’ve always told people that Mozilla was the last job I would ever have, and there was only one thing that would get me to leave- the opportunity to start something new that has the potential to change the world.  Of course, like many asterisks and related clauses, this one was fated to happen to me, and when Joshua Schachter asked me to start a company with him, I said no.  I couldn’t leave Mozilla, and I felt that my participation was vital to the company and the very future of the internet.

It took a while for me to realize that there would never be the perfect time for a person to leave an organization where they feel like they’re making a difference.  It took an even longer while to crank my ego down to the point where I realized that no one is irreplaceable, and in fact, learning how to delegate and give others the opportunity to grow is also an honorable way to make an exit.  Upon some reflection, I came to realize, perhaps self-servingly, that being indispensable is not always the reflection of a person’s true value- because it means that responsibility, vision, and leadership are not being shared in any meaningful way.  Fligtar, Myk, and Jorge all know their own jobs better than I do and are more than capable of writing the future of add-ons for Mozilla.

So, we know how this story ends.  I did an Ione Skye to Joshua’s John Cusack, and now I’m the VP of Product at a joint called Tasty Labs, with Joshua and Paul Rademacher, who invented Web 2.0 and will be inventing the next version of the web with us, which we plan on calling “Web 6.” Right now, my days are unpredictable and exciting, and I’ll try my best to talk more to you, all twelve of you, about my startup adventure.  TTFN!


16
Jul 10

London Add-ons Workshop

Firefox has a ton of users, and a growing proportion of them are in Europe.  Since we have so many excited add-ons developers there, we held the Mozilla Add-ons Workshop in London this year.  It was, all in all, a fantastic time.  I gave a talk about Firefox Add-ons, and how our commitment to new ideas and browser customization allows us to provide a deeply personal experience for the myriad needs of hundreds of millions of internet users worldwide.  Five browsers make up over 98% of worldwide usage, and it seems like a foregone conclusion that there are more than 5 different kinds of users out there.

Continue reading →


13
Apr 10

Rocking your Firefox

AMO is a great site for finding and sharing your favorite Firefox add-ons, but as we like to say, one size definitely doesn’t fit all.  While we made meaningful improvements for the millions of loyal add-ons fanatics out there, it was clear that the tens of thousands of available add-ons were overwhelming for many users new to add-ons.  Enter Rock Your Firefox- a blog we launched last month that tells folks about the great add-ons out there.

Some of you may know Rock Your Firefox as a Facebook application, originaly created by Justin Scott to help add-ons users share their add-ons on Facebook.  While the original Rock Your Firefox has been retired with fond memories, we decided to resurrect and reinvigorate the brand for the new Rock Your Firefox- where we shine the spotlight on a single add-on while telling a compelling story about how an add-on can make your life better.  We’ve made an effort to try and make these stories fun as well; and we’re actively looking for new guest bloggers to help us tell the story of great add-ons.

If you’re reading this, chance are you’re a big add-ons fan, and some of you have wondered about the reason for a new site.  Rest assured that AMO will continue to evolve in useful and delightful ways, and Rock Your Firefox is intended to complement AMO by offering a low impact and easy way to discover add-ons, whether you’re a new user or a seasoned veteran.  Also- since it’s a catchy URL- we hope that you’ll tell interested strangers to check it out, we’ll do the rest with our witty prose and slickly produced videos. 🙂

Editor’s note: Patricia Clausnitzer has translated this post into Belorussian!


26
Aug 09

don’t be so jaded

For those of us in the business of making technology for the People of the Internet, it’s easy to get jaded by the mainstreaming of technology which we once found new and exciting.  Americans in particular seem to be a little guilty of this, particularly if they live near a coast.  While Twitter, Facebook and Firefox move further into the homes of our friends and parents, it’s good to see this as an opportunity and not a sign that the end has come.

I’ve had the good fortune of meeting fellow nerds from all over the world, and I’ve noticed the ones who don’t come from Silicon Valley remain enchanted by technology and its promise to make the world better.  They’re the ones hacking away on Twitter and Firefox and really pushing the envelope on the future for those products.  Many of  top Firefox add-on developers come from Europe and Asia, and Brazil’s wholesale adoption of open source and social software is a phenomenon to behold.  Korea’s obsession with Starcraft shows no signs of waning eleven years after that game’s release.

While our short attention spans compel us to keep creating and trying new things, does our eagerness to invent prevent us from honing our craft?  Does great software evolve through people who lose their otaku sense of wonder?  Seesmic relocated to San Francisco in an attempt to secure respect in the startup world, but I wonder if Silicon Valley, with its populace of short-attention-span inhabitants, will continue to be the epicenter of technology moving forward.

I’m not terribly worried about America- I still see that twinkle in the eyes of my friends and colleagues from other parts of the country, but I do think that we should get over ourselves and try to remember that technology that makes the lives of people better is something that we want in the hands of as many folks as possible.


10
Jun 09

The new AMO is live!

add-ons-for-firefox

Lots of late night coding, testing, pondering and pushing has resulted in the birth of a healthy baby-blue AMO!  Lots of people worked hard on this release and I’m incredibly proud of what we launched.

Beauty, in this case, is much more than skin deep as we’ve also released Collections, a new feature that allows our users to share their favorite add-ons with the entire Mozilla community- because you don’t have to be a developer to be a valuable part of our ecosystem.  Next up- add-on contributions and tagging.  This train isn’t stopping anywhere…

A big thanks to the AMO team (you know who you are) and the design team at Clearleft for their hard work!


11
May 09

The future of Add-ons

For the company all-hands, I made this presentation about the future of Add-ons for Mozilla.
View more presentations from osunick.

This was an fun presentation to create and give because I’m incredibly excited about the future of add-ons.  To me, add-ons are the ultimate form of user-generated content, created by a group of users who are more passionate, intelligent, and principled than any user communitv I’ve seen.  It’s an honor to help give them exposure to the massive Mozilla user base.

Many thanks to the entire team (credited in the presentation, and I’m sure I missed some people), and also to Jeff Bonforte, my Keynote muse, who blogs lots of useful and actionable advice on making non-sucky presentations.


01
Apr 09

Change-around your life for good!

I’m thrilled to announce that after testing 41 different synonyms for “Add-ons”, we’ve determined that “Change-Arounds” is the winner by an amazing margin of .006%.

WIth “Change” coming to Washington in 2009, we also felt that we could take advantage of the goodwill that this word generates in the hearts and minds of Firefox users everywhere.

So rejoice and Change Around your life on the internet with Firefox Change-Arounds!


09
Feb 09

AMO is a Renegade Craft Fair

Seriously.  Think about this- addons.mozilla.org has over 6,000 add-ons and add-on developers.  Our add-ons are created by large corporations as well as people with day jobs.  Our number 1 add-on was created by a hobbyist in his spare time and has been downloaded 40 million times.  Our add-ons can turn Firefox into a kid-friendly browser or a Twitter application.  Like the Renegade Craft Fair, we’ve got an amazing array of stuff but we fall short in one key way- we’re not as fun.  We want to change that- we want to replicate the excitement of finding the unexpected so that our visitors always something they want, even if it’s not something they expect.  We want to make “serendipitous discovery” the way most people interact with AMO.  Any ideas?


28
Jan 09

AMO in 2009

Tomorrow, the AMO team will be presenting our 2009 plan. It’s something that we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about and it’s time we shared with the community that has made us who we are today.

Come to air.mozilla.com tomorrow at 12:30 PM PST and watch it live.  You’ll also be able to ask questions live via the website.

AMO 2009

View more presentations or upload your own.

In a nutshell, our thesis is that AMO is an incubator for innovation, and our goal is to help developers on our platforms succeed. We can provide the audience, support, and data that can help users and developers get the best possible experience.

We have the technology, we can rebuild AMO.

Thoughts?

-Nick