It’s been two weeks of jumping into the deep end of the pool at Mozilla for me. I’m pretty well soaked. 🙂

Where we’re at with the spread of Firefox is amazing, and in many respects unprecedented. Mainly due to the incredible work of the Mozilla community. I hope to share with you soon some directions on a broader approach to growing Firefox adoption.

For now, I’d like to introduce some concepts that I’ve been exposed to.

One common framework for technology marketing planning builds on Everett Rogers’ seminal modeling of the diffusion of innovations.

Rogers segmented adopters of a new innovation along a bell curve, categorized as: innovators (2.5%), early adopters (13.5%), early majority (34%), late majority (34%) and laggards (16%). Percentages here are pulled from the Wikipedia entry cited above.

Rogers’ model has been most famously updated by Geoffrey Moore in Crossing the Chasm, which is also part of the lingua franca of Silicon Valley marketing.

These models for chunking target markets are widely used in tech enterprises because they’ve held up in practice. Where things get funky, and why I’m posting on this subject, is that both of the above frameworks for understanding customers presume a traditional business model — one where a company offers their product(s) for sale and segments their markets to maximize profitability.

Mozilla’s goal is to “promote the health of the World Wide Web itself by providing free, open source client software,” thereby helping to fulfill the mission of our parent foundation. I believe both Rogers and Moore’s adoption models are still valid to our planning, but there are interesting implications not addressed by either model with respect to the time horizon for adoption that Mozilla’s goal affords.

Mozilla doesn’t answer to VCs or Wall Street. Our timeframe for moving through an adoption model is not driven by the short-term considerations of a liquidity event or meeting analyst expectations. Yet the competition is to some degree influenced by both of these factors.

What the traditional tech adoption model drives is a sense of progression (seed with innovators, reap with the majority, close on laggards at the end of a product cycle) within a fixed, typically product lifecycle-based timeframe.

I’m trying here to map this model to a product that doesn’t live within the context of a short-term business objective, and to understand the implications for our planning.

Your thoughts, as always, are vital to this exploration.

2 Replies to “Frameworks”

  1. True, mofo doesn’t answer to investors, but all non-profits are still businesses and have to make profits (or retained earnings) and compete with for-profit enterprises, or get put out of business.

    As long as Microsoft is the desktop monopoly, you will always be in their sights, and your primary competitive threat. Any company that can choke off your revenue has to be considered, and IE7 and Vista can do that. This implies your time horizon is between now and IE7 public beta and GA.

    Advice? You have some numbers – run the Bass model, figure out where you are (in the chasm) and cross it fast. Classic approach is the reference customer – get one of the big boys to play with you and tell all their friends. If I were you, I wouldn’t get just one, I’d get three…

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