July 28, 2014 § 1 Comment
When you walk around bracing for impact, you’re dramatically decreasing your chances. Your chances to avoid the outcome you fear, your chances to make a difference, and your chances to breathe and connect.
July 27, 2014 § Leave a comment
The structure of the VC industry is changing. This matters not only to entrepreneurs raising capital — but it also impacts the finance industry overall, because companies are staying private longer (fewer IPOs) and public investors (including hedge funds, mutual funds, publicly held corporations) are getting into the VC game, too. So in that sense these changes affect everyone who is in the market.
The changing structure of the VC industry was a huge topic at the recent PreMoney conference — and the focus of a discussion between me and fellow venture capitalist Mark Suster, which you can watch here and here. Mark also just wrote an excellent post discussing the structural changes; I highly recommend you read it. To summarize, some of the key observations include: the rise of small funds (they now account for 67% of all new funds raised in 2014); the concentration of capital among fewer, larger…
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April 4, 2014 § 2 Comments
A poem…begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness. It is a reaching-out toward expression; an effort to find fulfillment.
A complete poem is one where an emotion finds the thought and the thought finds the words. Robert Frost letter to Louis Untermeyer (1916).
A Ritual To Read To Each Other
by William Stafford
If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.
For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.
And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.
And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider–
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.
For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give–yes or no, or maybe–
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.
by Robert Frost
But the first thing next morning we reflected
If one by one we counted people out
For the least sin, it wouldn’t take us long
To get so we had no one left to live with.
For to be social is to be forgiving.
As we end this week, Mozilla arrives at yet another inflection point in our history. Many have already offered their views and insights on our leadership changes recently. Like Here: Mozilla Is Human
The best I can offer is to try to help everyone remember Mozilla’s roots and to remind everyone that a company builds its culture everyday. Mozilla has always built our culture the way we build our software – open source and transparently (view source).
to Deb Cohen’s Holding Space and Finding My Own
to Reid’s reminder today to “Let’s not waste a good crisis”.
Now is the time to double down on everything that’s great about Mozilla.
Now, more than ever, is the time to show the world WHO Mozilla is, WHY we exist, and HOW we operate. Now is the time to lean in hard.
As Churchill said,“If you are going through hell, keep going”. Or you may prefer Robert Frost version “the best way out is always through”.
I’ll end with more of a list from the top of my head. A running list of the values and behaviors that have created Mozilla’s culture over time: (you can add your own in the comments)
“It’s the People”: People create culture from a shared purpose, values and behaviors. Mozilla creates space for people’s “best of”. This environment in turn attracts more talent and the upward spiral of knowing more, doing more, and being better.
Operating Openly: Minimum Requirements
Leading with Respect
Having an Opinion
Listening for the Best Idea
Learning a lot
Teaching a little
“You’re Right” are 2 very powerful words
Let’s Fix It are 3 words that should follow
Personal Authenticity…it’s ok to be vulnerable. It’s ok to say you don’t know. It’s important to say “we’ll figure it out together”
Capacity and Willingness to Connect with Others Deeply.
Trust requires Transparency
Being an Empathetic Ambivert (as in ambidextrous to both extroverts and introverts)
Showing Up, Digging In, and Being Yourself.
LEADERSHIP is not a title and it’s not management it’s a BEHAVIOR….anyone can exhibit it.
We model courage or cowardice and leadership everyday.
Every time we show up and/or FAIL to show up.
Every time we use our voice.
I’m looking at the Culture when I’m looking at YOU (and your behaviors)
You Are the Culture (in the way you show up)
I am the Culture
We are the Culture
Please turn to the Mozillian next to you…and let’s begin again.
March 1, 2014 § Leave a comment
For anyone who missed this inspiring story of the week. Has all the elements of a great story: A Canadian girl hacker/inventor who took 1st Prize at the annual Google Science Fair. Inspiration for us all…especially our kids.
Last May I posted this of a similar boy in Africa
February 17, 2014 § Leave a comment
These “President Day Quotes” are all making rounds on the internet today. Here’s my top 10 from various sources:
Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809: “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot, and hang on”
Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.
John Quincy Adams, 1825-1829: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
If our 6th President were alive today, he’d be a Mozillian – “Knowing More, Doing More, Being Better’
Andrew Jackson, 1829-1837: “Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go (all) in.” I’m not sure poker was as popular back then, but it it were, he definitely would have said “all in”.
James Garfield, 1881: “Be fit for more than the thing you are now doing. Let everyone know that you have a reserve in yourself; that you have more power than you are now using. If you are not too large for the place you occupy, you are too small for it.”
Teddy Roosevelt, 1901-1909: “We must dare to be great; and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage.”
William Taft, 1909-1913: “Don’t write so that you can be understood, write so that you can’t be misunderstood.”
Woodrow Wilson, 1913-1921: “One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty counsels. The thing to be supplied is light, not heat.”
We are citizens of the world. The tragedy of our times is that we do not know this.”
Calvin Coolidge, 1923-1929: “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb … Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent….”
Bill Clinton, 1993-2001: “….It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit.”
Barack Obama, 2009-present: “One voice can change a room. And if one voice can change a room, then it can change a city. And if it can change a city, it can change a state. And if it can change a state, it can change a nation, and if it can change a nation, it can change the world. Your voice can change the world.”
Final Bonus quotes: Benjamin Franklin (Founding Father), 1706-1790;
“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.”;
“Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I remember, Involve me and I learn”.
and I have to end on this one:
February 4, 2014 § Leave a comment
Mozilla’s office design embodies our approach to software – open source and collaborative, with a large portion of the office dedicated to serving our larger Mozilla community of volunteers. Snacks and comfortable seating are abundant and our flexible spaces lend themselves to a variety of activities including hackathons, design labs, brownbags, and industry talks each integral to our world class leadership in software development.
One shining example of Mozilla’s open source approach is our newly installed Mozilla Sign (Monument) at the corner of the Embarcadero and Harrison street. More than a sign, it represents our world community in both symbol and structure with its combination of glass (transparency) and steel (strength). Looking closer, you’ll find the etchings of nearly 5,000 contributor names (Mozillians) who help make us…well, “Mozilla”. Ultimately, we hope it serves as a beacon not just for the city of San Francisco but for the current and future participation of our worldwide open source community.
Inside the office, the company recognizes the evolving flexible working environment required by today’s knowledge workers. Collaboration zones are designed to connect flexible teams and their projects. All desks are actually push-button, height-adjustable surfaces, allowing people to work at their own “height number”. There are no executive offices. In their place, there are dozens of conference rooms each outfitted with whiteboards, presentation, and video conferencing capability. Our goal with these spaces is to connect our global Mozillian workforce whether they work from their homes or in one of the dozen Mozilla spaces located across four different continents. Amidst all this collaboration space, we maintain a focus of ensuring privacy (when desired) and noise reduction while maintaining the open office plan. Whether it’s our Buzzi-felt sound absorbing walls and ceilings or private phone booths, we aim to respect each individual’s preferences.
Perhaps the most stunning feature of our famed San Francisco office is our 7th floor roof deck nestled directly underneath the historic Hills Brothers sign with its famous nightly red neon glow. With sweeping views of the Ferry Building, the Oakland bay bridge, Alcatraz, and the Embarcadero walking paths, you’ll often find Mozillian’s camped out on the decks outdoor couches Wi-Fi’ing away in classic California outdoor working style. On other days and weekends, this deck provides the perfect hot spot for Blue Angels, Fireworks, or events like the Americas Cup. Mozilla’s offices are definitely on the short list of San Francisco’s must-visit office spaces.
The Making Of….
<iframe src=”https://air.mozilla.org/monument/video/” width=”640″ height=”380″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>
January 28, 2014 § 4 Comments
Listen to Laura Thomson @lxt, Sr Web Engineering Mgr, describe Mozilla’s “MVP” Minimum Viable Bureaucracy. We do this not only in Engineering but everywhere inside Mozilla (especially Finance and Operations).
Best of Quotes from this Minimum Viable Bureaucracy talk:
The basis of any self-organizing system = TRUST
Awesome communication processes require practice
Every project should have a URL
Let subject matter experts emerge (module owner or Benevolent Dictator For Life)
A 1 person = 2 day marathon Prototype + Momentum gets people motivated and makes the PATH clear
Iterate toward greatness
Ruthless murder scope creep “Not in This Iteration”. NO! ….. is a complete sentence.
There is no such thing as a structureless organization (there is somebody at the end of the day organizing “stuff”)
Knowing how to work hard is a skill some people have never learned (especially if they are incredibly smart and have intellectually cruised through life)
In this talk, you’ll hear Laura reference several other current and former thought leaders at Mozilla.
This talk appeared at OSCON 2013 and the slide deck has garnered some attention, but the talk was not recorded, so as per requests, Laura re-delivers it on Air Mozilla as a brownbag.
For more of Laura: http://lanyrd.com/profile/lxt/ < you’ll find all her slide decks here.
Other talks referenced by Laura: John O’Duinn’s “We Are All Remoties” > http://oduinn.com/blog/2012/04/04/we-are-all-remoties/
John Lilly’s Preso on Mozilla and Managing Chaos http://www.slideshare.net/johnolilly/stanford-presentation-on-mozilla-presentation?type=powerpoint