Correction: This post was updated to correct the time line of John Lilly's meeting with Jerry Yang.
I spent an hour Thursday with John Lilly, CEO of Mozilla, and Mike Schroepfer, Mozilla's vice president of Engineering, and learned a few things. For one thing, I once argued that Mozilla should hire more "capitalist pigs." John's riposte Thursday was, "We have more capitalist pigs than you think."
John didn't mean that Mozilla is just another commercial open-source company. It's not. Clarifying that comment, John went on to point out that four out of its five executives are entrepreneurs. In other words, though Mozilla is tiny compared to its proprietary competition (and big by open-source project standards), Mozilla's team and community are well-architected to compete. It's not going to fall over at Microsoft's feet anytime soon.
But while competing, Mozilla is heavily focused on its customers first and its competitors second. As John indicated to me:
Our question is always, how do we grow in a way that is leveraged? We always lead with the user experience and think about the money secondarily.
That user experience is starting to evolve beyond today's browsing experience. The most interesting topic discussed in our meeting was just how compelling Mozilla's Firefox will increasingly be as the platform for much that happens on the Web. Forget Facebook, MySpace, the iPhone, and other so-called platforms. Firefox could well prove to be the most disruptive Web platform on the market. Here's why.… Read more