Today, I’m joining Mozilla’s Board. What attracts me to Mozilla is its people, mission and values. I’ve long admired Mozilla’s noble mission to ensure the internet is free, open and accessible to all. That Mozilla has organized itself in a radically transparent, massively distributed and crucially equitable way is a living example of its values in action and a testament to the integrity with which Mozillians have pursued that mission. They walk the talk. Similarly, having had the privilege of knowing a number of the leaders at Mozilla, their sincerity, character and competence are self-evident.
The internet is the most powerful force for good ever invented. It is the democratic air half our planet breathes. It has put power into the hands of people that didn’t have it. Ensuring the internet continues to serve our humanity, while reaching all of humanity is vital to preserving and advancing the internet as a public good.
The combination of these things are why helping Mozilla maximize its impact is an act with profound meaning and a privilege for me.
Mozilla’s mission is bold, daring and simple, but not easy. Preserving the web as a force for good and ensuring the balance of power between all stakeholders – private, commercial, national and government interests – while preserving the rights of individuals, by its nature, is a never ending challenge. It is a deep study in choice, consequence and unintended consequences over the short, medium and long term. Understanding the complex, nuanced and dynamic forces at work so that we can skillfully and collaboratively architect a digital organism that’s in service to the greater public good is by its very nature complicated.
And then there’s the challenge all organizations face in today’s innovate or die world – how to stay agile, innovative, and relevant, while riding the waves of disruption. Not for the faint of heart, but incredibly worthwhile and consequential to securing the future of the internet.
I prescribe to the philosophy of servant leadership. When it comes to Board service, my emphasis is on the service part. First and foremost, being in service to the mission and to Mozillians, who are doing the heavy lifting on the front lines. I find that a mindset of radical empathy and humility is critical to doing this effectively. The invisible work of deep listening and effort to understand what it’s like to walk a mile in their shoes. As is creating a climate of trust and psychic safety so that tough strategic issues can be discussed with candor and efficiency. Similarly, cultivating a creative tension so diverse thoughts and ideas have the headroom to emerge in a way that’s constructive and collaborative. My continual focus is to listen, learn and be of service in the areas where my contribution can have the greatest impact.
Mozilla is among the pioneers of Open Source Software. Open Source Software is the foundation of an open internet and a pervasive building block in 95% of all applications. The net effect is a shared public good that accelerates innovation. That will continue. Open source philosophy and methodology are also moving into other realms like hardware and medicine. This will also continue. We tend to overestimate the short term impact of technology and underestimate its long term effect. I believe we’ve only begun catalyzing the potential of open source.
Harnessing the democratizing power of the internet to enable a more just, abundant and free world is the long running purpose that has driven my work. The companies I helped start and lead, the products I have helped build all sought to democratize access to information, communication, collaboration and capital on a mass scale. None of that would have been possible without the internet. This is why I passionately believe that the world needs Mozilla to succeed and thrive in fulfilling its mission.
Today, we are very pleased to announce the latest addition to the Mozilla Corporation Board of Directors – Julie Hanna. Julie is the Executive Chairman for Kiva and a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship and we couldn’t be more excited to have her joining our Board.
Throughout this year, we have been focused on board development for both the Mozilla Foundation and the Mozilla Corporation boards of directors. We envisioned a diverse group who embodied the same values and mission that Mozilla stands for. We want each person to contribute a unique point of view. After extensive conversations, it was clear to the Mozilla Corporation leadership team that Julie brings exactly the type of perspective and approach that we seek.
Born in Egypt, Julie has lived in various countries including Jordan and Lebanon before finally immigrating to the United States. Julie graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a B.S. in Computer Science. She currently serves as Executive Chairman at Kiva, a peer-peer lending pioneer and the world’s largest crowdlending marketplace for underserved entrepreneurs. During her tenure, Kiva has scaled its reach to 190+ countries and facilitated nearly $1 billion dollars in loans to 2 million people with a 97% repayment rate. U.S. President Barack Obama appointed Julie as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs. In that capacity, her signature initiative has delivered over $100M in capital to nearly 300,000 women and young entrepreneurs across 86 countries.
Julie is known as a serial entrepreneur with a focus on open source. She was a founder or founding executive at several innovative technology companies directly relevant to Mozilla’s world in browsers and open source. These include Scalix, a pioneering open source email/collaboration platform and developer of the most advanced AJAX application of its time, the first enterprise portal provider 2Bridge Software, and Portola Systems, which was acquired by Netscape Communications and become Netscape Mail.
She has also built a wealth of experience as an active investor and advisor to high-growth technology companies, including sharing economy pioneer Lyft, Lending Club and online retail innovator Bonobos. Julie also serves as an advisor to Idealab, Bill Gross’ highly regarded incubator which has launched dozens of IPO-destined companies.
Please join me in welcoming Julie Hanna to the Mozilla Board of Directors.
You can read Julie’s message about why she’s joining Mozilla here.
We just released our State of Mozilla annual report for 2015. This report highlights key activities for Mozilla in 2015 and includes detailed financial documents.
Mozilla is not your average company. We’re a different kind of organization – a nonprofit, global community with a mission to ensure that the internet is a global public resource, open and accessible to all.
I hope you enjoy reading and learning more about Mozilla and our developments in products, web technologies, policy, advocacy and internet health.
It’s that time of year! The excitement of Black Friday carries into today – CyberMonday – the juxtaposition of the analog age and the digital age. Both days are fueled by media and retailers alike and are about shopping. And both days are heavily reliant on the things that we want, that we need and what we think others want and need. And, all of it is powered by the data about us as consumers. So, today – the day of electronic shopping – is the perfect day to provoke some deep thinking on how our digital lives impact our privacy and online security. How do we do this?
One way is by launching “The Glass Room” – an art exhibition and educational space that teaches visitors about the relationship between technology, privacy and online security. The Glass Room will be open in downtown New York City for most of the holiday shopping season. Anyone can enter the “UnStore” for free to get a behind the scenes look at what happens to your privacy online. You’ll also get access to a crew of “InGeniouses” who can help you with online privacy and data tips and tricks. The Glass Room has 54 interactive works that show visitors the relationship between your personal data and the technology services and products you use.
This is no small task. Most of us don’t think about our online security and privacy every day. As with our personal health it is important but presumed. Still, when we don’t take preventative care of ourselves, we are at greater risk for getting sick.
The same is true online. We are impacted by security and privacy issues everyday without even realizing it. In the crush of our daily lives, few of us have the time to learn how to better protect ourselves and preserve our privacy online. We don’t always take enough time to get our checkups, eat healthily and stay active – but we would be healthier if we did. We are launching The Glass Room to allow you to think, enjoy and learn how to do a checkup of your online health.
We can buy just about anything we imagine on CyberMonday and have it immediately shipped to our door. We have to work a little harder to protect our priceless privacy and security online. As we collectively exercise our shopping muscles, I hope we can also think about the broader importance of our online behaviors to maintaining our online health.
If you are in New York City, please come down to The Glass Room and join the discussion. You can also check out all the projects, products and stories that The Glass Room will show you to look into your online life from different perspectives by visiting The Glass Room online.