One of the most insightful books I’ve read the past few years is Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. (His last name is pronounced “chicks-send-me-high”, or so I’ve read.)

Back in 2004, at my last job, we hired an amazing design firm to help us develop the messaging for the product I marketed before Firefox. Their co-founder gifted my marketing team with copies of Flow because she and her team felt the ideas expressed there were core to why people loved our product. They hoped the central notions of flow that Csikszentmihalyi articulated would be translated into the messaging we created. (Jury’s out on whether we succeeded on that front. Eh, probably not so much.)

Csikszentmihalyi tells you what it takes to be happy as a human. I can’t be any more clear about what I took away from the book than that.

Rather than try to distill his work into deep-fried bluggets (term of art; contraction of “blog nuggets”), let me point you to what some other people have had to say.

No particular reason for sharing this. I seem to be latching on to other people’s reactions to the concept of flow lately. Lots of alignment for me in the concept with my own spiritual practice.

I’ll leave you with a bit of transcript goodness from one of Csikszentmihalyi’s lectures in Australia.

Flow is at root: “How to live life as a work of art, rather than as a chaotic response to external events…”

the camera eye

tina modotti image of flag carrying girlHere’s the story of how I got hooked on photography.

My first taste of the alchemy is when I get the prints back from a roll I took on a Pentax K1000, c. 1990. The Pentax (which I still have) is a heavy, solid machine. I save up from a summer job to be able to afford it. It’s mechanical, operated entirely manually. I have to study to learn how to configure film speed and f-stop.

What I see in the first set of prints: depth of field, so clearly better than anything shot in years of disposables, Polaroids and point and shoots. I took a picture of a bicycle, foregrounded. The out-of-focus trees and grass behind it helping create a story.

Material objects transmuted into an artifact (artifice?) that reaches some part of me that responds to art.

Other photos – a very few – I take that summer and fall with the K1000, make me feel the same way.

I’m writing about this because I happened to read a review of a documentary about William Eggleston in the local paper today.

It reminded me of some of the photographers whose work I love. Each of them reflects in their art a personal vision, of the world as inamorata.

Tina Modotti

Robert Capa


William Eggleston

Olivo Barbieri

Firefox Flicks!

If you found your way here from my link on the Firefox Flicks Backstage blog, welcome! My name’s Paul and I’m the director of product marketing for Mozilla, as well as part of the team here that’s working on the ad contest for Firefox.

Here’s my blog post from the launch of the ad contest. Can you tell how psyched I am to see your work? 🙂

I’ll be posting on the main Backstage blog next week when I’m back from work travels. We’re excited to share production stories from ad contest teams worldwide, and to showcase finished ads in the coming months. Ciao for now.

mystery train

I’m in Tokyo for work this week. Travelling with Chris and John, and meeting up with the Mozilla Japan team.

I was here once before, when I was seven. The only thing I remember of that trip is getting on a bullet train with my dad. I’m excited to fill in the blanks.

When I travel, I like getting out in the early morning by myself to walk the streets, take photos and let the place wake up around me. So here are some shots I took on my first day’s walkabout in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo.

Many observations already – and if you’re reading this and have some tips on out of the way stuff to do or see, let me know.

Update: John’s posted some more photos of our first day in Tokyo.

instant nostalgia

killing joke eightiesI’ve got Dexy’s Midnight Runners pumping over the stereo right now.

Yes, I know.

Lame. Kitsch. Overalls.

I remember a conversation I had with a childhood friend in the ’80’s, when I was in my teens. We were driving back from the movies in Pasadena. The song I’m listening to, “Come On Eileen,” was playing on the car radio. I recall saying, “One day, we’ll be the adults, and this song will be on a classic rock station.”

That day has come for me.

Bob and Owen, wherever you are, I hope you’re well. The music I loved growing up in the ’80’s still holds up for me. Today, I created an ’80’s playlist: Jesus and Mary Chain, REM, Echo and the Bunnymen, New Order, English Beat, The Clash, Tears for Fears, the Smiths, X, and so on.

I grew up in L.A., and back in the day, KROQ was the source for new music. Rodney on the Roq, even Richard Blade, were connected to the new music bubbling up in a way that seems lost in today’s morass of radio consolidation.

At the same time, the democratizing force of the Web is bringing life to new voices across the spectrum. Music blogs today function for me the way Rodney did in my teens. An unfiltered guide to new music to check out. See my music bookmarks for the music blogs I follow.

Happy New Year to everyone out in the world. The past two months for me at Mozilla have been every bit the joy and challenge I’d hoped for when I signed up.

2006 will be a great year for us. Said as a wish, and a promise.

no more bookmarks

So I’ve been trained since day one of using a Web browser to bookmark stuff I find that I like.

Lately I’ve been realizing how low the utility is of having a single set of bookmarks tied to a local machine. Some of the people I work with don’t even bother with bookmarking anymore. They rely instead on a combination of auto-complete of previously browsed URLs and Google to get back to stuff that was interesting.

There’s a big discussion going on right now at the Mozilla project on how to make bookmarks better in Firefox 2.

Today I finally got around, post Firefox 1.5 launch, to doing something I’ve been meaning to do for at least the past month or so: migrating my local bookmarks to del.icio.us. It took about an hour, but man, do I feel better. Like I lost about 10 pounds.

As I looked back at the stuff I’ve bookmarked over the past two months, it was chunked into the following content areas that were top of mind for me at the end of 2005:

  • Firefox-specific
  • Web industry
  • General business/management
  • Marketing and branding
  • Design
  • Writing
  • Music

I’m sure there’s a way to add more structure to my new del.icio.us bookmarks so the stuff I tag can get browsed more easily.

Given the fact that it took me a year to figure out what the hell del.icio.us was good for, the release of a del.icio.us extension for Firefox 1.5 to actually create an account, and a rainy Saturday to make the migration happen, it may be 2012 before I figure this out.

Whatevs. Now I can get at my links from anywhere, which makes me very happy.

Feed Me, Seymour

Rocketboom is now available on Tivo.

I first heard of Rocketboom when their New Yorker-on-the-street segment on “Firefox or IE?” made the rounds here at Mozilla.

We got a huge kick out of the video, for obvious reasons.

So it was cool to find out they’re getting access to Tivo users. I’m S.O.L. as I cancelled cable service a couple of years ago, and using Tivo on my crappy over the air reception would be an even more masochistic act than weeding out comment spam on this blog.

But it got me to thinking.

When you push video as Rocketboom has till now exclusively over the Web, you’re reaching viewers in a less than relaxed state. I mean this both physically and mentally. When I’m on the Web, 99.9% of the time I’m sitting in a chair, either at home or at work. On top of the obvious comfort constraint on settling in to watch something online, my Web video attention span is also shortened because I’m either in the midst of work, or I recall some other meatspace thing I need to do, and so cut off the video I was watching to get on with the task.

The use case for watching video on my TV is almost exactly the opposite. I settle into the couch, and commit to watching a movie or sports broadcast for significantly longer than I would on my computer. I’m definitely multi-tasking some of the time, but when I’m engaged by the video I’m watching, it takes precedence over reading the paper, making a phone call, etc.

None of this analysis is new. I bring it up because the form factor for Rocketboom’s content has been 3-5 minute clips, designed for the attention dynamics of Web viewers. I’m curious to see if they adapt their content for an audience that has the luxury of engaging more deeply with their videos, because they’re cold chilling on fine barcaloungers.

Ah yes. Popcorn on the settee, alpha waves releasing the endorphin buzz only fine TV can deliver. Daydream nation dead ahead.

Goodbye, Haystack

Before I started working at Mozilla, I used to enjoy my Google-semi-anonymity.

One of the blessings of having a rather common name is that anyone trying to Google me would have to spend several hours sifting through the results.

Today I was looking at referrer stats for this blog and followed a referral link to a Google query for “Paul Kim.” Results below.

search results

This blog is #1 out of 31,800,000 results for “Paul Kim.”

What this says to me:

  • Mozilla bloggers have serious search mojo. (Ya feeling me, Asa, Tristan? 🙂
  • The other Paul Kim’s on page 1 of search results are gonna have to hustle to leapfrog me. Especially the guy with the Sitting on the Toilet blog. (I swear that’s not me.)
  • I should consider going the Rodney Allen Rippy route and add a third name to differentiate my brand.

Thank you Mozilla, for the juice.


numen (n(y)oo’-men) n. a spiritual force or influence often identified with a natural object, phenomenon or locality (pl. numina)

So this is the part of the blog where I tell you who I am.

I’m the father of a de-lovely two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, and the husband of a gifted artist. I live in Oakland, California, home to (in no particular order) Jack London, Angela Davis, Children’s Fairyland, Ishmael Reed, Lake Merritt, MC Hammer and Del tha Funkee Homosapien.

I’m the new director of product marketing for Mozilla Corporation, and I am damned happy to be here.

It’s a dream job for me, and it’s going to be an adventure spreading the word about who Mozilla is and why what we do matters.

I’ve worked in technology for most of my career. My first job after college was as an interactive scriptwriter and associate product manager at Spectrum HoloByte, where we made computer games based on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

I left Spectrum after several years to work for the Milarepa Fund. Milarepa was hosting the first Tibetan Freedom Concert in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. I remember the guys from Sonicnet set up a live webcast from the shows, although how they managed to pull that off in 1996, in the middle of the park, still boggles me. It was a beautiful two days in every sense. Greets to the M. crew if you are reading this now in 2005.

After helping to start up a television advertising company, I worked for two years as an independent web producer. Then it was off to business school, and product marketing at Adobe Systems, where I launched PageMaker, InDesign CS PageMaker Edition and Creative Suite 2.

Which brings us to today.

My intent is to use this blog to promote Mozilla’s mission, and to demystify how we make our marketing decisions. I read a number of marketing blogs, and I’m struck by how much is presumed about the level of inside knowledge a reader already has about the practice of marketing. I’ll try as much as I’m able to share what I’ve learned over the past several years of school and work when I post about things we’re doing.

I’m glad to be here as part of the Mozilla community.