Everyone knows about the Firefox browser, but fewer are aware of its creator, the Mozilla Foundation. In this episode of CXOTalk, we speak with Mozilla's Chief Marketing Officer, Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, about agile marketing, open source, and the empowered consumer. This is an important conversation for everyone who wants to learn about nurturing a community of engaged participants.

Previously, Jascha served as CMO for BitTorrent, CMO for Mindjet, was senior vice president of marketing and customer success at Involver, and headed Global Marketing for Webtrends.

Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, CMO, Mozilla: Empowering Community at Mozilla and Firefox

Michael:

(00:03) We all have heard of Firefox, but did you know that Firefox is created by an organization of 1000 people called Mozilla. And today on Episode number 136 of CXOTalk, I am thrilled to welcome an old friend, Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, who is the Chief Marketing Officer of Mozilla. I am Michael Krigsman and welcome to another episode of CXOTalk and Jascha, thank you so much for joining us today.

Jascha:

(00:45) Michael thank you very much for having me, I’m a big fan of your show and I am just tickled to be able to be a participant on so thank you for having me.

Michael:

(00:52) Well it’s great. So we’ve known each other for a number of years now and you have had a pretty broad career as a marketer. So just to set the context give us a brief sense of your professional background.

Jascha:            

(01:08) So I have been kind of in the world of technology and really kind of digital for about the last 20 years. About 15 years ago I would have considered myself to be a product person and kind of accidentally fell into the world of marketing. Over the course of the last 15 years as a product person in marketing, I’ve really tried to find ways to bring around the predictability and the customer engagement that we see in many product organizations, especially in the software world into the marketing space.

(01:37) Done that in some organizations that I have been really proud to be part of, Microsoft for many years. WeTrends, one of the early analytics companies and most recently BitTorrent prior to joining Mozilla and the organisation here, so a product guy on my way to marketing and really thinking about a lot of the product processes and how they relate to the marketing world.

Michael:

(01:57) Okay, so you’ve had this broad background, now tell us about Mozilla. I think everybody thinks of Mozilla as being synonymous with Firefox but in fact it’s a lot more than that.

Jascha:

(02:08) It is you know we would call Mozilla a global movement, and like that really our focus as a group. It’s really about having openness, innovation, and opportunity on the web, and we do that under this mission that has been really durable since the creation of the project in 1998.

(02:24) We believe that the Internet should be a free and public resources and it should be open, and we are focused on creating impact and globally that does just that. We show up in a lot of different ways, one of which that you mention in the intro, building Firefox and we do that in a unique way and you also highlighted in working very closely, not just for the people here the thousand people in the organisation but with tens of thousands of volunteers globally to help us build our product. But we have additional things that we do and let me walk you really quickly through all I would call the four areas of focus for us as a global organisation.

(02:57) So not in any particular order, so I’ll start first with product. We do create products, products that are out and available on the market, Firefox being a great example of that. In addition to Firefox we have been developing an open source mobile platform called Firefox OS, and that’s been on the market for the last few years and we’ve had some successes with international markets in particular outside of the US.

(03:18) In addition to building products we actually focus on on the key kind of guttural platforms from initiatives that support the open web. We built a core part of the infrastructure of the web for web rendering called Gecko and we work on new development languages. JavaScript was an early focus for the team here, and we have got some new initiatives in the development language side that we’re going to be pushing forward in the near future called Rust.

(03:44) In addition to platforms on the web, we focus on public policy. We’ve got a unique view into the way that we actually should be developing or actually working in the world of public policy, and that is do not take a traditional lobbying approach, but we have what we call an engineering centric approach by a group of people that are called policy hackers or policy engineers. They look at globally what public policy is being presented, and they try and find the highest leverage points to participate in public policy and discussions, so that we can ultimately create a public policy that supports an open web.

(04:18) A really great example of that is that the language that was actually introduced by the (US SCC or SCC?), around net neutrality, which was a pretty big discussion for several month was actually submitted by and fully accepted by the SCC from our team. So we’re pretty active in that kind of public policy world and we do it in places other than the US, and that just happens to be one of the highlights.

(04:41) The last area of focus for us is really around an area which we care deeply about, which is education on the web and web literacy. How do we allow for new entrance onto the web to understand the full power of the web, right. International countries and some developing markets, you may be familiar with some of the practices and some carriers and some big software companies, where if you get a phone they will also give you access to some of the applications that they choose to be the right ones. And so the introduction of the Internet may happen to be only through Facebook.

(05:12) We think that the web and the Internet should be bigger than just a set of applications that are selected by some individual companies. So we are focused on how do we educate the masses that the web is greater than just a handful of applications, and in fact can be an economic stabilizer or an economic opportunity for individuals, communities, and even for businesses in different countries. So it wide stance of activities in the organisation, but all focused around this mission that is maintaining a free and public open Internet.

Michael:

(05:41) So this is obviously much broader than merely creating the Firefox browser as a product company so to speak. You actually have a very clear social and can I say political mission.

Jascha:

(05:59) It is very much a social mission. We are a not for profit and actually many people don’t know that. When we compare browser size, so let’s say chrome or Safari or even Internet explorer or Edge, there is just an assumption because the market share that we have and we have had over time that we are the same size and the same kind of organisation. In fact we are massively different in the way that we operate.

(06:25) So yes, to your point we are different. We are more than just Firefox. We do that at the size of we are as a non-for-profit through a very unique set of activities that are very much rooted to the open source community. So that is something that we want to focus on making better awareness over time.

Michael:

(06:47) So I said political mission but it’s actually it’s a social mission that is underpinned by technology I guess that would be a way of saying it.

Jascha:

(07:00) That’s absolutely right, so we believe that through the development of technology we can create great leverage globally. Right, how can 1000 person or organisation plus the community that participants with others make legitimate impact globally. Technology is a great leveler, and so technology for loss is very important.

Michael:

(07:18) Okay, so you’re the Chief Marketing Officer and I think in an ordinary product company we have a clear sense of what that means, but in an organisation like Mozilla what does the CMO role entail, what do you do Jascha?

Jascha:

(07:38) So as a marketing organization we actually have a lot of commonalities to marketing organizations that I have been part of. That would mean maintaining brands, creative services, what’s called the (Crail?) Side of marketing. In addition to that we have the aspects of the way that we go to market. Working directly with communities, community marketing. We do content development of the marketing organisation, we actually maintain and grow what we call MDN, Mozilla Developer Network, which is a wonderful developer tool and we have the traditional marketing operations and communications.

(08:09) That being said structurally though we may look similarly operationally but I feel that we are quite different. Now being 4 ½ months through the organisation, there is a couple of things that I call out that I like to call out that are dramatically different here.

(08:22) The first is that there is a let’s call it a trend right now in the marketing world, that has been pushed along by a couple of hardware/software manufacturers that create product launches with a tremendous amount of secrecy behind them. The (Crystal Cathedral) are bringing a bunch of influencers and tech people. You show them that one thing that you want to show and they have no idea what it is just before you show up there. That kind of grand on fail while it’s somewhat popular right now professionally, it will never happen here at Mozilla.

(08:49) The first thing that I was really struck by is that absolutely everything that we do is completely transparently available. So if you wanted to find more detail around the development roadmap for the products that we are bringing at Mozilla there available for you. In fact, on the communication side we have to figure out how to work that way and still create leverage for the organisation. That’s one really really big difference that we always have our product roadmap out publicly and everybody knows exactly how were progressing.

(09:20) That creates a dynamic inside of marketing that really shows up in one very big way, and that is that communication looks very different here, and brand development looks very different here than in many other organizations. The participation in how we show up in communities globally, how the Mozilla brand and the Firefox brand and our product brands are represented a globally have to have a direct relationship to those communities that are going to help us, because we are not a gigantic company and we have to work with our communities to bring our stories to market.

(09:48) And on the communication side, we do not have a locked down and controlled methodology or philosophy here in the organisation. We are 100% in the opposite direction, so that allows for full participation and sharing from anybody in the organisation about really whatever is on their mind.

(10:04) In a traditional role as a CMO in another type of company, there may be a policy that I’d ask for all that would exist that would say, you’re not allowed to speak on behalf of the organisation unless you are in one of these roles. At Mozilla, everybody in the organisation, and anybody in the community is empowered to talk about us, how they feel about us, how we are working on things that are doing well and things that are not going well. And that is wildly different than nearly every marketing organisation that I have been part of and I imagine many other marketing organizations as well. So some the same, and few that are very different.

Michael:

(10:36) So this notion of transparency, openness, willingness and encouraging people to participate , this sense of this participatory community is crucially important for you.

Jascha:

(10:53) Yeah, it is and what I have been most excited about and impressed with is seeing how Mozilla operates from the inside. and as an organization, we’ve been around from a time in the late 90s as an open source Mozilla project. In 2004/5, Firefox was introduced on the market and we’ve been kind of growing from there.

(11:16) What’s really interesting and this has a relationship to marketing, but it’s really core to how the organization works is how we develop everything for participation. And participation ultimately leads to community and let me share with you in how I see this.

(11:31)So first and foremost we started in the open source community. Many of the principles that exist in the open source community, the transparency and the allowance for the encouragement of participation and the kind of best idea, winning, those all exist in this organization.

(11:43) But when you move from a small project into a mid-sized organization to a decent sized organization that we have today, the scale impacts the way that you think about this here, and we do somethings here that I find really interesting and I think important potentially less outside of Mozilla.

(12:01) the first is that when we develop products, our products are always developed first and foremost to allow for and encourage participation. And I say that because I think that it’s in juxtaposition for many of the ways that we talk about participation, and throughout the community outside an organization like Mozilla in my experience.

(12:24) Let me share with you how I think I talk about it externally and it’s different internally within Mozilla. So first I find outside Mozilla, participation and community involvement often is talk about in concert with organizations that we think about as being very successful, and I’ll name a couple that is close to us geographically here in San Francisco, one being Yelp and the other being AirBnB. Both Yelp and AirBnB are known for having these are really avid and participatory and communities.

(12:51) These avid and participatory and communities are really part of the marketing community there, and their actual development of their code into the product, I couldn’t tell you the depth of the sophistication there. But really community and participation is talked about as a domain of the marketing team is responsible for. And I think that misses the lessons that I have learnt here at Mozilla over the last four and half months, that participation has to be much more deeply rooted in the way that you work in the product that you actually develop.

(13:19) So for us as an example, Firefox exists today, not because there was several people inside of an organisation that said Firefox is going to be a perfect product, because it was built to allow for thousands of contributors to introduce code, make changes, open bugs, and help fix those bugs. And that community developing the product has stayed with us and continued to grow over time. When participation is rooted deeply in the way that you develop your products and have those products develop over time, the likelihood in my opinion of maintaining product market fit is much higher.

(13:54) And the additional benefit outside of that core responsibility of developing products and participation with developing those products, is that when you extend out into functions like marketing that same participatory community supporting development, has a community that they are possibly connected to of which may be interested in working with or contributing to our marketing effort.

(14:16) So marketing really becomes, and the community of marketing really becomes a byproduct of the design work participation that Mozilla was built behind, really at the product level. And that is critical, and a great lesson that I think can show up outside of Mozilla to other organizations.

Michael:

(14:31) So you drew this connection between participatory community and developing product market fit, and presumably the mechanism there is if you’re actually engaging with your users, with your customers are, then they will tell you what they care about by definition if that happens and you then execute you have product market fit.

Jascha:

(14:57) That’s right, that’s absolutely right and for us Firefox has maintained its product market fit, because it worked out of the gate as Firefox, and there is an absolute need for it and we’ve continued to push it forward with our community, with our participants. And it is because of that participation in my opinion, that has helped maintain that product market fit.

(15:20) When we introduced new products, Firefox lasts as an example, we’ll really look to design for participation first, and even if we don’t get it right out of the gate that continuing involvement with that community, with the participation of that community we believe will lead us to product market fit.

Michael:

(15:36) So participation with the community then is this mandate but not just for marketing purposes but rooted in the DNA, so obviously I’m sure you use it for marketing but it’s also a key part of product development and your product roadmap as well.

Jascha:

(15:54) That’s right, there is an unbelievably intelligent group of people that I hear that I am honored to be working with on a daily basis. There is a handful of people that have been around here for a very long time, one of which is our chairwoman, Mitchell Baker, who I have an immense amount of respect for. And she has a chairwoman shows up in the office every day and she is very participatory in the organisation, and what she brings from a leadership prospective is really the kind of reminder of in the case of for what ever reason we tend to get off of track and focus on some of the minutia that we work on a day-to-day basis, she brings the reminder that participation creates this competitive advantage over time, because it provides the diversity of insights or the diversity of perspectives into whatever processes that you are running. So we are about participation as an organisation from the very top, all the way through to everybody that’s in the organisation, and it is a wildly in powering mandate in my opinion.

Michael:

(16:55) So you know, everybody wants to have a community. Now, as you were saying in most cases for most brands for most companies, whether it’s a consumer brand or technology company, the reason they want that community is for marketing.  In your case it goes much deeper, but the question still remains, how can one develop and encourage a community to take place.

Jascha:

(17:26) So the way that I think about it here at Mozilla is that as an organisation, we’re first and foremost aligned with a mission that we believe is important and attractive to people outside of our organisation. The broader and lean community that choose to join, often times they joined because they believe that the mission that we’re operating against is meaningful.

(17:48) If you take that out of the non-for-profit world and you applied it into a full profit business, I think of it as the translation that the kind of user problems that you are trying to solve, the business category that you are in needs to have resonance with a group of people. The idea and the potential for product market fit needs to be there. In our case it is a meda-mission, and in other cases it probably is a bit more refined about category and our products kind of fit.

(18:18) The next step from there is really to design for the development of whatever you are creating either your product or your service, so in that community that is interested can be involved in a way that’s not superficial. And I would never say that marketing is superficial because I don’t believe that it needs to be, or it is in all cases. But only thinking about participation and community involvement at the marketing level really begs the question of if you actually have a community, that’s going to help you kind of adjust your business strategy or product strategy over time.

(18:50) Designing for participation at the product level is the key stepping stone in my opinion, to being able to develop healthy communities over time of which marketing can participate in.

Michael:

(19:01) So what does that mean, design for participation at the product level?

Jascha:

(19:06) For us it starts first with borrowing from the principles of being part of the open source community. It is about transparently making aware of all of the things that you are working on, allowing for building systems that actually facilitate interaction outside of the organisation.

(19:28) So let’s pause and talk about that for a second because I know you know the IT and corporate infrastructure world very well. When you set up for a large organisation, the first thing you do is set up for risk mitigation, it’s locking down systems, it’s thinking about permission. And it’s not to say that those aren’t important in an organisation that is designing for participation, but the questions that you are trying to solve. And the risk mitigation that you have to think about, is less about how do you keep 500 people and the information of those 500 people secure from the world and more about how do you make the systems empower people that don’t show up in the physical offices of your organisation every day.

(20:05) So the systems that we build for that supports interaction is a key part of how we share transparently what we’re working on, and facilitate that participation. These kind of system level changes at the organisation, or these system level differences at the organisation are new for me over the last 4 ½ months and I personally find wildly exciting.

Michael:

(20:32) So again, I just want to come back to this notion of how do you build a community, because say for an ordinary product company, what lessons can they take away from the Mozilla experience in terms of getting users to engage with them and feel that they’re getting a sufficient value so they would participate.  For anybody building a community, the worst this is you build it and they don’t come and that happens all the time.

Jascha:

(21:08) I think that is it right there what you said, that is the challenge that exists in most organizations and that is the lesson to be learned here. You do not build a community and expect a community to be there and show up. And really this is the key learning, really getting down to the product level, transparently expressing the product roadmap, allowing for participation. Participation meaning contributing to the product itself, and I think a learning that I see over the last few months is that it’s not just the allowing for participation, it’s actually making sure that the participation happens.

(21:44) So, if a group of people were interested in what you’re building, to contribute to you, they submit code, they give you ideas and you do nothing with it or it never sees the light of day. That creates an illegitimacy in that participation and community out of the gate. So it is not just transparency, not just the allowing for participation. But the next step is to make sure that participation sees the light of day. It is those steps that is the learning in my line. I’m looking at it from a fresh pair of eyes, 4 ½ months into the organisation and I’m trying to with our marketing organisation to make sure that we continue to follow these principles and ideas as we develop marketing campaigns. So it is designing for participation, it’s transparently allowing full access to what we’re working on. And it’s making sure that the participation isn’t just somebody saying, I think this is important or I’ve done this for you. It’s actually making sure that shows up on the market.

Michael:

(22:34) So you actually have to listen, you genuinely have to listen and take the feedback.

Jascha:

(22:40) It is one step past listening. It is listening and having actions take place because of that listen.

Michael:

(22:49) Okay, I buy that. Okay, so you have created this environment where you have encouraged people to participate and you tell them that you’re going to listen and then people start saying things you don’t like, you don’t want to hear, to disagree with. How do you manage contention at that point?

Jascha:

(23:17) So contention oftentimes comes from a dictatorial – and this is my opinion dictatorial perspective. If an organization has a leader hierarchal that says, this is the way we’re going, and we are going to allow participation to happen. When participation shows up in a way that questions, the path that you are on, or in fact it is outside the area that was directed that you were headed, that’s where the tension exists.

(23:43) So the commitment comes from a leadership level that says, when you go down a path, if you produce something and from a product perspective let’s say doesn’t have product market fit and you see that, and the community tells you that, you can’t blindly continue to move down that path. You have to be committed to being able to accept the feedback and make changes if necessary.

(24:04) That is a leadership commitment. It is very difficult to have that happen and have a ground swell in an organisation. The leadership group has to be acceptant that the feedback that they receive may change the direction. And that’s okay, but that’s very scary for many organizations.

Michael:

(24:22) Yes, it is very scary, I think your Mozilla is different because you are a mission based organization as opposed to a brand which is a profit based organization, and I think I have a feeling and I suspect there are strong cultural attributes of Mozilla that come out of that mission based approach.

Jascha:

(24:48) Very much so but again this is my 4½  months view of the kind of world of Mozilla and having experience outside of Mozilla. I believe that that kind of principle view on participation that we have, based much on our history and much on our perspective as a kind of for public good organization can apply outside of Mozilla and should in fact apply outside of Mozilla.

(25:12) So, I think that we see some of these trends happening already. Over the course of the last 15 years, we see a lot of what the open source community stood for, transparency, community involvement and showing up in more for-profit organizations. One of the last areas that I think is in the process of being disrupted is this idea that if you have a direction and a directive as an organization it has to be the path that you take. So have a confidence in leadership and a confidence in leadership not to just saying that you are developing corporate (dictation? 25:45) for the community, but actually take the participation and community as a directive for your directions and organizations are starting to show up more and more.

(25:53) I’m very hopeful and I am also, because I am here, I believe in our mission and want to talk about how we have success, so that other organizations that may be are not non-for-profit and not for the organizations (success? 26:06), so that would definitely be in the way that I would like us to show as an organization.

Michael:

(26:11) So you started to talk about success, so how do you measure success? The world of marketing is all about data these days, so how do you at Mozilla?

Jascha:

(26:22) Yeah, so let’s talk about marketing being about data first and foremost, and what I think has happened in the world and some of the ways that we think about it. And I also want to directly answer like how we think about success and impact as an organization, because I think they are very related. And actually, one of the opportunities or challenge areas that we have as a group.

(26:42) I’m going to make some basic statement about marketing in general. Data has become more and more so readily accessible. It’s become more and more so readily accessible because many technology companies have introduced that sells directly to marketers who collect data from end-users. So kind of user agency and the idea that me as an individual showing up on the web, going to different places and being confident that I know exactly what I’m sharing with them and what they are taking from me. That kind of user agency has been exploded in a negative way over the course of the last decade or so.

(27:14) Right now, when I show up as an individual on the web, marketers are taking information from me without me knowing about it. And they are collecting data from me, and they’re compiling it together. Their maintaining that data over longer ages of time and they’re adding more data to, and they are trying to find correlation or causation or things about me, that they should target that and sell more and get things in front of them.

(27:37) This kind of general behaviour of the marketing world shows up in the want for much more data. The want for lots more data has shown up in marketing as, there is data accessible, therefore you have to use data over time to prove your effectiveness as an organization.

(27:53) The last thing that I made, data has to help prove the impact of the marketing organisation that I believe to be true, but I think how we are getting at it as an industry in marketing is wrong right now.

(20:06) So, in Mozilla and part of what I love about how we are trying to do marketing right now is developing an idea and methodology of velocity and the technical infrastructure to do this that puts the user first. It is incredibly clear about what we are going to ask from the user. Make sure that there is an explicit understanding that that is the information that we are going to get from the user. And when we do get that user data, that we use it to actually improve their experience.

(20:34) If we do that explicitly state what we are asking for, explicitly state on how we are going to use that, and then explicitly improve the experience, I think the ability to measure impact and customer sentiment because of that impact is going to be greatly improved. Not just for us as an organization, but with the individuals that interact with this as a business.

(28:55) So for us as a group, we talk about or hear about, and before coming here we talked about the idea of big data. Just collect as much as you possibly can and figure out how to use it over time. The inverse to that is a methodology that works that we are experimenting with right now that we call Lean Data and it’s the idea that you only collect as much information as you’re going to use. And you’re only going to keep it for as long as you use it, and only if it benefits the end user.

(29:21) When we implement this and as we use this velocity over time, we will show our impact in the organisation and externally by doing two things. One, we have to as a marketing organisation just like any other marketing organisation, help our products grow. Create leverage for Firefox to last and introduce it to the audience and the people that it’s been developed for. Get it into their hands and make sure that engagement is strong and build that relationship over time.

(29:51) In addition to that as a marketing organisation, impactful for us is about growing our reputation. Reputation for me is a combination of the awareness of you started off in the introduction saying that Mozilla built Firefox and many know about Firefox but not all know about Mozilla. We have to introduce Mozilla as a brand more broadly. We have to express of what Mozilla stands for, so that it is better understood, and at the same time we have to do that for Firefox and for other product lines.

(30:20) The growth for loss is important and a measure of impact and reputation for us is a measure of impact as well. So some things the same, some things different but our philosophical approach on how we will have impact I think is demonstrably different than many organizations that look like ours.

Michael:

(30:38) So you have a highly principled approach that guides your thinking in terms of marketing data. So we have a question from Twitter, from Arsalan Khan who is wondering Mozilla teaches customer service reps from other organizations how to interact with customers and generate community and so forth. Do you have any type of education program or how can people learn from Mozilla in the things you were talking about?

Jascha:

(31:11)  So I can follow up that specifically and I can definitely respond on Twitter. I don’t know if we have customer support or user experience trainings that we offer. That being said, we have a very unique approach to the way that we’ve developed customer support globally. We call it Sumo, and Sumo set within the marketing organisation head up by a gentleman named David who has been with us for many years.

(31:35) And what David and the Sumo team have done is develop a small group of individuals here within Mozilla that are paid staff. And in addition to that paid staff, there are hundreds of volunteers that participate with us to actually help our end users, to solve some of the challenges that they have all the questions they may have. So some of the constructs of the conversations that we have, just a moment ago about community has a very strong relationship in the way we think about customer support.

(32:06) But I would have to follow up, because I’m not sure if we do offer any external courses that are publicly available courses that are top layer team.

Michael:

(32:12) Okay, so you have this highly principle thought through approach to data, and obviously you are thinking about innovation and you’re thinking about the role of data in marketing and the relationship of data and data collection to your community. So what about innovation? You’re a 1000 people, how do you innovate? How do you make sure that you keep pushing the ball forward in that way?

Jascha:

(32:41) Michael, you and I met when I worked for an organization called MindJet, and Mindjet builds a platform that helps very large organizations, create and maintain innovation programs. So you and I spent quite a bit of time talking about innovation back a few years ago. I’ve spent a good deal of time talking about it, thinking about it and when I left MindJet and went to BitTorrent we had a very unique flavor of innovation, a process that we ran internally and I would be happy to talk about that at a later time with you.

(33:12) But those experiences for me definitely had a pattern that I was looking for when I thought about innovation in an organization. And joining Mozilla over the past few month has opened my eyes up to some of the I think public challenges outside of organizations like ours, and some of the thing that we have to think as an organization as it relates to innovation.

(33:31) So some of the fundamental principles of the open source community really are rooted in the idea that there is a kind of meritocracy. There is the ability for anyone to participate, who that has the capabilities and through that participation they can submit an idea and the best idea should win right and should be pushed out publically.

(33:48) That’s innovation, right finding a group of people that can participate, find the best idea, and bring that idea on the market. And Mozilla started 14 odd years ago we were a small group, and when we started the Mozilla project there was a handful of contributed to it. Innovation was really in this tight community that has been growing over time.

(34:10) Some of the things that we think about today is how do we maintain that kind of ethos, that idea around innovation happening everywhere. Bottoms up which I think is part of the landscape that is used in a lot of the corporate world today, but how does innovation happen at the edges everywhere, at the scale that we are. So the exploration in the organisation is 1000 people, looks different than it would in a community project of a few hundred. And it’s very interesting to see it kind of work its way through in this organisation. We’re very much empowered right now at the individual level to develop new ideas that supports the mission that we have as an organisation.

(34:46) Part of what we are thinking about right now is how do we make sure that across 1000 people and 1000 contributors, the ideas that have great opportunity right now can find a way to like very quickly. I think that as you get the scale and the challenge that an organisation has to deal with is how do you make sure that you maintain a level field that ideas from anywhere can be bubbled up very quickly, and brought to market as fast as possible.

(35:09) So, I hasten to say that we’ve got everything figured out, but because we have this very principle view in the way that innovation should happen, it actually plays a part in our day-to-day activities. And I think over the next several months this will be a really interesting discussion for us as an organisation in how we think innovation happens in an organization, and may have application outside of our organization.

Michael:

(35:29) We have another question from Twitter, from Bob Rothman who asks a really good question, and it’s going back to community what we were talking about earlier. So he makes the comment, that obviously community is a strategic imperative for Mozilla, but he asks, how do you continuously nurture these communities, it’s a really good question.

Jascha:

(35:55) It’s a fantastic question and I’ll go back to this idea of participation. So nurturing a community isn’t about pushing communications to that community, do this, what do you think about this, what do you think about this, do this. We have to constantly make sure that we are asking for feedback, and bringing participation into whatever is that were working on, marketing, marketing communities, product, product communities. It is participation that I believe is fundamental to that maintenance and development of the community.

(36:27) So it isn’t just listening Michael as you said earlier, it’s not just listening and that is how you nurture in my opinion is to go out and ask for and facilitate actual participation. That is the kind of critical grooming feature – grooming is a horrible word, wrong word. It is a critical component that allows for I think helping communities to exist. It is constantly trying to ask for and bring in participation, not just feedback.

Michael:

(36:56) Okay, how do you get the respond, you ask for feedback. I’m playing the devil’s advocate here, because I think this is the fear that people will have when they are trying to build a community, right. You ask for feedback, please give us feedback, talk to us and get involved with us. And again you know, you say it and nobody shows up, what do you do?

Jascha:

(37:16) Asking for it is enough and this is the right devil’s advocate question, I think you have to have an organization that focusses on this, and our organization we happen to have a core participation group. It’s headed by a gentleman named George, who’s a fantastic person in this space of community participation.

(37:37) His organizational responsibility is to maintain the core group of contributors, connect into the different activities happening across our organization. So participation for us shows up in the organization with very specific responsibilities. To your point it cannot be just some sort of high level statement that asked for feedback. You actually have to focus your energy on developing participation, and for us it starts with a core contributor.

(38:05) We have organizational responsibilities, people’s time is focused on doing just that. So if we think about Bobs question, maybe in an organization that isn’t like ours, Mozilla where we are focused on a global mission and we are a principle organization and maybe you don’t operate just like we do. You have to think about the organizers of participation in the organization, not the drivers by direction in your communication in your community, but the organizers of actual participation, product development, product roadmap developments, feedback and the executive team and mission. You name it  you have to focus on participation and not just by directional communication in a community.

Michael:

(38:45) So action, activity, and intensity and commitment along with it.

Jascha:

(38:49) Yeah absolutely.

Michael:

(38:51) And for you it really is a strategic comparative, so you’ve got an entire team that’s devoted to this.

Jascha:

(38:55) Yes.

Michael:

(38:59) So we only have about five minutes left Jascha and so from your standpoint give us advice to other marketers, and especially to marketers who are who are hooked and it’s a lot of marketers who are hooked on the idea of let’s collect as much user data as we possibly can, let’s keep it as long as we possibly can and that user data if for our benefit alone.

Jascha:

(39:31) I’ll tell you this, as a marketer who has come from that world and knows that world very well. You have to make a personal decision and I would call it an ethical decision in how you would like to collect data over time as a business. There isn’t a lot of regulation here yet maybe there will be over time. But the first step is to understand that if you do the best on behalf of your users, you will ultimately benefit the relationship that you have with them. Like the development of trust with your users, with your customers should be more important than anything that you do as an organization.

(40:05) As a marketer you can immediately contribute to that by making commitment to your users and your customers that you’re not going to ask for, or take data from them that you’re not going to actually use to benefit them. That’s a decision I think you can make as a marketer.

(40:21) The core, core, core idea here Michael is that it’s unbelievably important for any organization to develop trust with its users, with its constituencies, with its communities and maintain that trust.

(40:34) So you have to judge your activities as a marketing organization under that lens. Is what you’re doing is contributing to trust and the maintenance of trust in the relationships that you have or is it not and it shouldn’t be a grey area.

Michael:

(40:51) So the reference, the mandate from marketing from what you’re saying is are we adding value in such a way that the user will trust us. Will this help the users trust us more?

Jascha:

(41:08) That’s right, you have to develop trust over time with your customers, with the users of your products with your organization. You have to. If you don’t have trust, you will not be successful long-term as an organization, as a business, or as a product.

Michael:

(41:26) We have only a couple of minutes left but we still have a few more questions coming in from Twitter. So let’s try quickly to get these, Constance Widson asks, do you offer other types of incentives to encourage community participation. Are you paying them off Jascha?

Jascha:

(41:48) No we don’t pay off the communiity. What I consider to be an unbelievably importantly mission as an organization, right. Maintaining the internet is a free and public open resource and being behind that mission oftentimes is enough for those that work in our community with us.

(42:08) That being said, that if we have to if we’re thinking about marketing and product also thinking about what we always giving back to that community. So it isn’t just come and help us execute this mission, we often need to make sure we’re maintaining that relationship over time. And some of that is, you know for us we think about a company meeting that takes place twice a year where everybody in the organisation comes together globally in one location. We also invite our community, some of our core contributors into our space as a paid staff.

(42:40) So not paying people, but absolutely bringing them in closer and having them participate in a way that the operation of the organization is one of the first places I would look and get if we were thinking about how do we incent participation, bring them closer.

Michael:

(42:55) We have a question from Bob Russelman who I have known for god, over 20 years. He used to work at Gateway Computer and I once visited Gateway in North Sioux City, South Dakota. So Bob Russelman asks what is the planning timeframe for Mozilla. Is it a month, a quarter, a year, or five years? What’s your planning horizon?

Jascha:

(43:36) So on the product side we develop typically on a six week (gig). On the marketing side, and this is part of the methodology that myself and the team are bringing to (Berry?) here right now we’re actually adjusting to how we work.

(43:50) We used to think about, let’s call it somewhat like a traditional marketing organization and like big campaigns that we can run and that planning cycle typically took sometimes four, five, sometimes six months

(44:00) Right now we’re instituting a kind of an agile methodology or bringing forward an agile methodology. For us, the kind of a time horizon that we plan in may shorten to three or four weeks.

(44:10) But generally speaking the behavior that we want to be at is as an organization, being able to be aware of impact at a frequency of time that’s less that several month, so think every few weeks, and then using that impact to measure as a driver for new activities. So we will be decreasing the amount of time. But on the product side and the marketing side we are looking at bringing the product cycles and the marketing cycles closer together.

Michael:

(44:40) Okay, and we just have about a minute left, so why don’t we close out give us a one minute sales pitch on Mozilla how’s that.

Jascha:

(44:50) I’ll do even better, I’ll do it even shorter. As an individual that uses the Internet, kind of for their own personal benefit, there are very few organizations around the world that are really trying to advocate on your behalf and are economically incentive to do so. As an organisation, Mozilla really is a movement first. We are about promoting openness, about innovation and opportunity on the web. And we do that through developing platforms, products, policy work and education to support a free and public open Internet. If you care about a free and public open Internet, you should know about all the work that Mozilla is doing, and by at to anybody who is interested is to enquire about how to participate better.

(45:36) If that’s us through the marketing organisation and because of this conversation, I would be happy to have that conversation individually with anybody that is interested. And if it’s broader and into the platforms that we’re working on, and we have that are already sat their, know what we do and because it’s important right now for all of us that care about the Internet and participate.

Michael:

(45:56) Okay, boy this has been a very very, very fast 45 minutes.

Jascha:

(46:03) It really has.

Michael:

(46:05) So we have been talking today on episode number 136 on CXOTalk with Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, who is the Chief Marketing Officer for Mozilla and I have sure learned a lot. Jascha thanks so much for taking the time in joining today.

Jascha:

(46:23) Thank you so much for having me it was an absolute pleasure.

Michael:

(46:26) And everybody come back next week we have another show and hope everybody has a good week and thank you so much. And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter, and also like us on Facebook. thank you everybody bye bye.

 

Companies mentioned in today’s show:

AirBnB:                       www.airbnb.com

BitTorrent:                 www.bittorrent.com

Microsoft:                  www.microsoft.com

Mozilla:                      www.mozilla.com

Twitter:                      www.twitter.com

webtrends:                www.webtrends.com

Yelp:                            www.yelp.com