Recently, Mark (Executive Director of Mozilla Foundation) asked me to do a bit of personal reflection on my time at Mozilla and answer a few questions. He then asked me to share my answers with our organization while at a retreat in Portland. I’ve read through these answers a few times already and thought they would be interesting to share what I’ve learned here.
a. What did you come here to build?
Three years ago we launched Summer Code Party which was the first time we gathered our community and asked them to come make and learn with us. At that time, we knew we had started something and we were ready to keep running with it. Fast forward to the next year and we launched Maker Party. We then realized we needed someone to run the campaign. That’s where I come in. I got hired mid-campaign last summer and was told to create an environment where thousands could come and make with us. I came here to build Maker Party and help spread the web literacy movement with people who felt passionate about learning, teaching and the web.
So what happened?
In 2012, the community ran 750 events. In 2013, the community ran 1700 events. In 2014, the community ran an astounding 2500 events. We almost doubled our success every year. We did this by building and expanding our network effect through Mozilla Reps, Hives, and the distributed collection of mentors we trained and empowered. People get Maker Party. It gives them a chance to celebrate the work they had been doing all year and connected them to others around the world who are also working hard to teach web and digital skills.
c. What progress have we made?
Over the years we’ve seen local mentor networks grow all over the world, in over 450 cities to be exact. Some starting to teach/learn for the first time, and some cities booming with individuals who not just understand our mission but embody it.
d. What should we be most proud of?
Being on the edge of a new movement is not easy. In our varied communities here at MoFo, we have dynamic, creative and diverse leaders who work with us from a place of passion and mission. These people have iterated, learned, taught and built with. These communities are still here helping our cause, and are more then just users and audience for that cause. They are empowered, knowledgeable and leaders in their community. This is something to take pride in, respect and not squander.
b. How has your thinking evolved?
When we began we told people ‘come and make with us’. We never put restrictions on what to do or had a set of activities they had to complete. We placed our tools and practices amongst an ecosystem of aligned options and people created numerous ways to help each other understand their digital world. As our community has evolved and grown, we’re starting to see the need for more structured offerings and ways to build skills. There are people looking to us for curriculum, best practices and accreditation on issues related to web literacy. And for those that are already teaching, we need to find ways to grow their abilities, expand their reach and increase the sophistication of the web. We need them to help spread the movement.
e. What do we need to do next?
We laid the groundwork. Maker Party is already a household name among the greater community, we need to move forward and become better, faster and bigger. This year, we’re not just going to tell people to come make anything with our tools and resources. We are going to hand them a package that provides instructions and curriculum for workshops they can run with friends, family, after-school programs, and the community to become web literate and become better leaders in their communities. These leaders teach and engage more people more effectively, and some even go on to start their own local Hive networks. We’re beta-testing it with key community members and partners this winter and go live by Maker Party 2015.
I’m most excited by all this because in 2015, we’re not chasing the masses. We’re giving our community the skills, tools and curriculum they need to take the movement forward and multiply themselves.