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.
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.