Head over to the ISPIM website and read the article online.
(This is a repost from my daily newsletter The Heretic. The message is important to me – thus it warrants repeating.)
We need you. We – that is the world. Yes, you read that right. The world needs you.
Let me explain: Spain’s youth unemployment rate is now close to 60%. Sixty percent. That is more than every second person under the age of 30 being unemployed. Italy’s youth unemployment rate recently smashed through the 40% mark. The same is true for many other countries all around the globe. We have more than 7 billion people inhabiting this planet with an annual growth rate of 1.3%. That means we double the population every 50 years. A friend recently told me that we need 600 million sustainable jobs by 2020.
I fundamentally believe that the only way to get there is through entrepreneurship. We need people like you who are building companies, solving some of the most pressing problems in the world and create jobs doing so.
These are pretty scary and incredibly exciting times. While there is revolutions and uprisings looming, we will also witness the world’s online population double in the next 5-10 or so years. Imagine what it will mean for the planet to have 2 billion more people with access to the web, Wikipedia and the global marketplace.
With that being said – we have our work cut out for us. Now is the time. Let’s get cranking.
Last week I had the privilege to present a short deck on “The importance of failure” at a conference for entrepreneurs and startups in Germany. The setup was fun – I was in Boulder, Colorado, working with the wonderful folks at the Unreasonable Institute for the week, had about 12 hours of total sleep for the whole week, presented via Google Hangout (i.e. no feedback from the audience for me) and the presentation required me to get up at 5am for a sound check.
It went pretty well (at least from what I can tell from my end – the participants might have a completely different experience) and I posted the slides after the talk on Speakerdeck. A few folks asked me for a voice over to get the full context – and as I am always up for stuff like that, here it is:
Take away the Apple propaganda. Take away the fact that Apple’s products are prohibitively expensive in a lot of these settings. Look at it purely from a vendor-unrelated perspective.
This is it. This is precisely the reason why I am in tech. And this is one of our greatest opportunity to change lives and make this world a better place. Through technology. Combine this with the notion of creating economic opportunity and (our) technology has the potential to become one of the most powerful change agents around.
Making a difference. One app at a time.
P.S. For those of you who read this in their RSS readers or can’t see the embedded video for other reasons – here’s the video on YouTube.
I believe one of the most exciting aspects of Firefox OS is its potential to create economic opportunity (and doing so in new and innovative ways). It also brings up some of the more interesting questions. Let me explain:
Apple announced today that they paid out 10 billion USD to their iOS developers both through direct app sales as well as in-app purchases. 5 billion USD of those were paid out just last year (which points to accelerated growth of the iOS ecosystem). According to Apple this represents 74% of the total market for mobile phone app purchases (with Android accounting for 20% and others for the remaining 6%).
Further take into account that mobile phones are not only creating direct economic opportunity through their app stores but also enable numerous other forms of generated revenue and you get an interesting picture (e.g. e-commerce which originates from a mobile phone; eBay reported 13 billion USD in gross merchandise sales going through their mobile app in 2012 alone).
Consider that Firefox OS plays a different game – both from a technical as well as a target market perspective (using the Web as the platform, thus being much more open and targeting emerging markets respectively) and the really fascinating question becomes: Outside of the obvious economic opportunities “direct on-device commerce through app stores” and mobile/e-commerce as well as content consumption (music, videos, books) – which other forms of economic opportunity can we enable and drive through the device? And in this context: What can we (Mozilla) do to foster and/or enable this?
We are already seeing interesting opportunities especially in emerging markets – from mobile banking for the previously unbanked (e.g. Safaricom’s and Vodafone’s M-Pesa) to market information systems for farmers (using SMS messaging - e.g. Intuit’s Fasal) and much more.
I strongly believe that “we (mostly) don’t know what we don’t know”. That this is likely one of the biggest opportunities we have with Firefox OS. And that it will mostly be the communities/entrepreneurs on the ground who will create and capture these opportunities.
The question remains: What can we, as Mozilla, do to inspire, enable, foster and grow these ventures? What is missing? What do we need to create to make this happen?
EDIT June 11th: Eric Tyler pointed out the following projects in addition to the ones I listed - The World Bank’s M2Work Competition, Wikipedia Zero, Souktel as well as the World Bank’s Maximizing Mobile report.
“We have come to build the most important thing in the world today, perhaps the most important thing ever. It connects us. It widens us. It deepens who we are. We don’t know what it is or what it will be in the future, but we do know it has made us better so far. Our dream is to enlarge it so that all people can join us and share the good in it while ameliorating the bad. This thing we are working on has no borders and – as far as we can see – no end. If everyone can join it, with equal access and no undue ownership, the world will be a much better place. That is why we are working here today.”
~ Kevin Kelly / WIRED 21.05
Mozilla is unique. Unique in it’s structure, in the way we organize ourselves, in the way we work, in the way we interact with others and in the work we’re doing.
Mozilla’s stated mission is “to promote openness, innovation & opportunity on the Web”. That’s it. Simple. And so incredibly important. Pretty much every other organization which is working “on the Web” is beholden to shareholders and their legitimate desire to increase their return on investment. Not Mozilla.
Mozilla impacts the world through our products, the communities we build around these products and the influence we gain through the combination of users and products. And we increasingly build communities around our values – communities which take our values and embed them into their own work.
In both areas we have the unique opportunity to significantly increase scale and scope and thus multiplying our impact on the world – in turn creating a better Web and thus a better world.
I find myself in the amazing position to poke around the organization and help us think “magnitudes bigger/better”. The one question which keeps me up at night (and incredibly excited) is: How can we increase our impact on the world by factor 10? Factor 50? Factor 100?
I’ve got a bunch of ideas – and know that I have huge blind spots. Opportunities I don’t see. Things I haven’t thought about. Ideas which are bubbling beneath the surface.
I would love to hear from you: What would you do to increase Mozilla’s impact in the world?
Leave a comment on this post or send me an email at p @ mozilla.com. And let’s invent the future together.
True story: I recently wanted to return an order from Zappos and found myself using their web-based online chat to sort out some details. Upon verifying my shipping address (which is ℅ Mozilla) the Zappos employee mentioned to me that she loves Mozilla, that she’s using Firefox essentially forever and that we just rule!
I thought it was a wonderful example of how Mozilla, through our technology and who we are, what we stand for and how we show up for your users, are truly unique in the world of technology.
On the Unreasonable at Sea voyage I had the great pleasure of working alongside a fellow mentor who happen to work for Microsoft Studios – heading up their skunk works projects.
He had the best business card ever – I just wish I would have thought about this when I ran Mozilla Labs: