Investing in communities with a clear focus

Cross-post from my blog.

At Mozilla’s Participation Team one of our main goals is to support local communities and unleash contributions that will contribute disproportionately Mozilla’s mission and goals.

Last year’s work showed that we increase our impact by focusing our energies on a limited amount of clearly defined areas. Concentrating our effort as a team has become a key strategy for bringing more value to Mozilla.

One area we’ve looked at is the “where” we have Mozilla communities. We have volunteer Mozillians spread literally all over the world — from Vancouver to Valladolid — and many have organized themselves into geographically-based communities that our team supports (expect a future blog post on what we see as the value of organizing geographically). We know that the dynamics, opportunities and challenges of each of these communities is a bit different, and the more time we spend with any particular community the better we understand this uniqueness, leading to higher quality support and guidance.

At the same time, our staff time is limited, and so we can only “go deep” with a limited number of geographically-based communities at any given time. (This brings up another point of finding a leveraged model for staff effort, which is what is being tested now with the Reps Leadership efforts)

The question then became where to go deep? Since Mozilla doesn’t presently have a regional strategy overall, we did a basic analysis as Participation Team using the following factors:

  • Web users and overall population.
  • Growth in web users.
  • How much the area influences markets/policies in other countries/areas — this could be regionally or globally.
  • Where Mozilla can win (because of Firefox penetration, market sentiment, or cultural alignment with our values).
  • Momentum and strength of existing community.

Looking at this, we decided to focus the Participation Team’s efforts on the following 10 countries that align with our analysis and the capacity we think we have as a team to “go deep” right now:

  • United States
  • Mexico
  • Brazil
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Philippines
  • Bangladesh
  • Indonesia

What does this mean for a focus country practically? Here is what is guiding our goals:

  • We will hold ourselves accountable for results/impact (customized to each country).
  • Go deep on staff support.
  • Initiate and deeply support regional gatherings and campaigns that will accelerate the development of these communities and the mobilizers/leaders in each one.

Of course, we recognize focus has a cost and that for the many Mozillians and communities not in these focus countries it can seem unfair and arbitrary — we’re definitely empathetic to that. Let me be clear that the Reps and regional staff team will keep supporting communities outside these focus countries, just not as deeply or proactively as compared with the 10 focus countries.

As always, we expect our work and strategies to evolve over time and with input from many Mozillians. So please send along your questions or feedback.


This would be great for us in Bangladesh. We’ve been one of the country with highest market share for Firefox, though it might not be an absolute scale to measure Mozilla Mission impact in our community. But this can be considered as one of the key metrics.

From 2009 until February this year, we’ve been in top position with Firefox. Unfortunately, since March of this year we’ve started loosing the championship.

We look forward to have awesome things happening in Bangladesh. We welcome Participation Team’s support for our Bangladesh Community.

What about countries like Nepal? Does mozilla have any priority in countries like Nepal at all? Or we volunteers are making a fool out of ourselves by spreading the mozilla mission, localizing products etc? Because it has been more than 4 years since the community was officially started in Nepal we (volunteers) have been doing so much but there has not been any official initiations from mozilla since then. Do we deserve any focus?

Hello Surit,

Currently we are empowering the new Reps Regional Coaches in your region to amply our efforts there. @Sayak and @shaguftamethwani will be contacting you and your community shortly to have a set of meetings to better understand your needs and bring alignment with the rest of the organization, including how we can better recognize the great work you have been doing there :slight_smile:

Hi Nukeador,

I did understand that @sayak and @shaguftamethwani will be empowering us as Reps Regional Coaches. I did understand that when you had cleary stated. “Let me be clear that the Reps and regional staff team will keep supporting communities outside these focus countries, just not as deeply or proactively as compared with the 10 focus countries.” But my query was why didn’t Nepal fall under the focus group? Why don’t we deserve a little care and support from mozilla?

I think we have very strong points if the participation team’s benchmark for choosing are these points

We had to take a decision, evaluating that list of factors and under our judgement that was the list of the top 10 countries that right now we have staff time to go deep.

That doesn’t mean we can’t adapt our focus strategy in the future or that other countries doesn’t deserve Mozilla’s love (everyone does!), it’s just a matter of priorities, resources, time and impact for this team.

It’s a known fact that each organization has their own goals to fulfill, for example to reach a certain market share or to make their product popular. As a fellow Mozillian and Firefox lover, I also want Firefox to gain certain momentum and become popular.

I hope that selecting 10 countries is focused towards fulfilling such organizational goals. However, Don’t you think that posting this to a community where there are hundreds of volunteers from all around the world will project a view of certain biasness towards communities?

A good approach, in my view, would have been to publish a detailed info about how the countries were selected and how exactly was the plan formulated to achieve the mentioned goals by shifting focus towards these countries (Not just pointing out the factors, but actually mentioning the numbers). That way, the approach would seem more transparent and all of us could understand why specific communities were not in focus. (Everyone would know why this was beneficial)

I’m mentioning this because selection of the countries and some of the factors mentioned tend to conflict each other. For example, if we were selecting focus groups based on geographics and Regional Influence, then India and Bangladesh seems to be an odd choice, since India seems to cover entire South Asia (combined with “population” factor too). (No any biasness towards either countries, I know both countries have great Mozilla Communities).

I don’t know the specifics on American and European Culture, but United States and Mexico also “looks” odd from (at least) my perspective (Wouldn’t US be a Regional/Global Influence in North America?). (Maybe a slot could be given to South American/African (I don’t seee one here) countries so that Mozilla’s growth could be increased?)

I would have loved to know how these selections happened so that I get better view at Mozilla Communities Internal Processes.

Wow. :smiley: :+1: