The Truth about Mozilla

Mozilla in 2008: Executive Committee

Posted in Mozilla by The Lizard on February 15, 2008

Many outside the walls of the Mozilla Corporation lack an understanding of how the company is structured and run. Without going into too much detail requiring organization charts, the Corporation has a “steering committee” which helps to lead and guide it. You might be thinking to yourselves, “isn’t that what a board of directors is for?” Yes. Yes, it is. But you first should remember that Mozilla is corrupt at the top. As a result, there is a desire to do as much as possible internally to hide the fucked-upness of the organization. Quite obviously, the members of the steering committee know how to run Mozilla better than any external person anyway. Why shouldn’t they take full control of the fuck-up that is the Mozilla Corporation?

(Credit where credit is due: the Lizard fully appreciates the resignation of Chris Blizzard from the board of directors after joining the Mozilla Corporation. Mr Blizzard, you did the right thing.)

The Steering Committee of the Mozilla Corporation is made up of now-CEO, John Lilly, Chief Lizard Wrangler Mitchell Baker (who, astute readers will note, has not yet wrangled this lizard), CTO Brendan Eich, VP of Mozilla Labs Chris Beard, VP of Marketing Paul Kim, and the new-this-week General Counsel, Harvey Anderson. Kim was a recent addition to this committee (August of 2007) after he received his promotion to VP and Anderson just joined this week. Earlier in the life of the organization, Chris Hofmann sat on the committee. After disagreeing with Lilly too often, Hofmann was forced out.

All of the above simply provides background on who created the Steering Committee’s 2008 goals.

This year, the Steering Committee intends to “[grow] up a lot as a management team for Mozilla.” As I’m sure any casual reader of this blog is aware, this management team fucking sucks. Really fucking sucks. Growing up is definitely something they need to do.

In particular, we’re notable with employees and in the larger tech community as the best example of a company who competes, but with a mission, of a company who’s open and collaborative with users and volunteers, but not hobbled by needing consensus to make decisions.

One of the hallmarks of the Mozilla community is sane group decision-making. This used to happen through forums such as drivers@mozilla.org, where consensus was reached on an issue and decisions were made by a group of well-respected individuals. Should it move higher, staff@mozilla.org made an ultimate decision. In 2008, however, Mozilla will be known for making decisions for the community without consensus from them. Think of it this way: Hate that new marketing campaign? Too fucking bad. Mozilla’s going to run with it anyway.

We’ve become a lot less self-conscious about asserting paths to success for the company, and have been able to pilot our negotiations with Google and others so that we’re comfortable with our sustainability for the next several years. On the practical side, we’ve added 2 or 3 people to this team to bring a broader base of skills to bear (like a general counsel!).

Guess what? Mozilla’s hiring. A General Counsel even! They sure moved fast with that! Harvey Anderson started just this week. He’s now one of the most important employees at Mozilla and is needed for piloting those negotiations with Google, that’s for fucking sure. If any of those negotiations go sour, well, they’re fucking screwed. You see, fucking up with Google doesn’t just mean lost revenue; it also means the loss of Google-provided lunches, snack & drinks, transportation on the infamous Google shuttles, and even the use of the Google gym. All of these things are amenities Mozilla employees get for free from Google right now.

The rest of this 2008 team plan is complete disgusting drivel that the Lizard won’t put anyone through. What’s important to note is that Mozilla’s going to be entering a time when they need as many amenities as possible to keep employees around. Losing Google is losing everything, and they can’t have that. Any sort of effort at furthering this committee’s goals – especially those surrounding renewing the Google contract – must be led by someone strong, rather than the quiet and weak Mitchell Baker.

Now we move on to the latest news about that transition…

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