Mozilla Builders Open Lab

Wasn’t sure where to put this but… @wolftune, @Salt, @mray, @smichel17

Let’s discuss weekly review / status report (as it is due on Monday).

Sounds like it might more be an establishing ‘where we are now’ and where we are headed in these next weeks, and a clarifying of specific goals. I’ll facilitate how I can but these logistics and details seem not within my scope at the moment. @wolftune were you suggesting to change the MVP to a user feedback mechanism? although not ideal it seems reasonable despite being late (at least it’s still week 1)

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I’m not saying at this time that we change what we said to Mozilla (but could you please go ahead and paste that here?)

meta: I think this topic is a great place to just collect running discussion on our end about things that come up and plans through this Mozilla process, we can split off tangential topics as appropriate.

Our initial statement to Mozilla:

Snowdrift.coop is a new type of crowdfunding platform for public goods. Our “crowdmatching” model aims to sustainably fund all manner of creative work, without paywalls or ads, improving (and making more accessible) content on the Internet and beyond. Our 8-week goal is to go from prototype to production ready, having a functional platform with an initial test project. This will allow us to demonstrate and recruit an initial set of external projects.

For weekly reports and other coworking during the Open Lab, here’s an etherpad

Email from Mozilla this week (edited down):

We will be having a Town Hall this Friday July 24th at 4PM PDT (we will be recording it and posting it on https://openlab.mozillabuilders.com). Link to register for the zoom meeting

Agenda:

  1. Introducing a new status report template as well as the Open Lab Launch Pad - a place for you to seek out feedback/help from the community as well as check out what products are launching.

  2. Talk on MVP Sprinting + Prototyping by Kathy and Bijan.

  3. Breakout rooms with a focus on your approach to an MVP.

During breakout, please share your answers to the following 3 questions with your peers. Think about them before Friday:

i. How is the work that you are doing this week taking you closer to understanding if you are solving the right problems and building the right product?

ii. Are you launching mockups for user feedback, landing pages, or a simple feature to try out your approach?

iii. How are you going to increase the focus of your initial idea? What are you cutting from your product, what users are you going to more specifically address, and how are you going to do less?

The first question I don’t think is (nor should it be) an issue for us. We know what we’re building and why.

The second is worth discussing maybe.

I had great chat on Monday with @mray about the third topic on focus, and we can keep thinking about that.

Anyway, everyone from our team is welcome to participate in the Zoom call.

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Sort of post-mortem:

The Mozilla program was mixed value for us. They did a lot of non-FLO stuff, using Slack and Zoom and other proprietary tools, they mentioned “adding a paywall” as a step to celebrate in the roll-out of some startup, they assumed most projects to be for-profit looking for sell-out to VC. Really, my take is that Mozilla is doing this in order to hope to get investment stake in viable companies themselves, playing the VC game.

They had perhaps more awareness of ethics and issues than generic accelerators. The community weighed more toward actually pro-social startups than average. But most of the advisors had little to suggest to us as a non-profit, volunteer startup. They assumed everyone was full-time and for-profit, even though they emphasized somehow being good-for-the-world within that.

We never got a single response to our weekly reports. We presented at one of the group video calls, and the response was mostly, “that sounds great, but yeah, those are some hard challenges” with no constructive comments. The one office-hours chat we did privately was someone basically saying, “I have no experience with volunteering, but here’s how I’d suggest handling the posting of a job application if you were hiring”.

I made some nice connections with a few other people in the community. Some of the advice was good even though generic (particularly around focus, feedback, iteration).

It doesn’t seem worth continuing into the next season of the same program. At the least, we know what our immediate work is and just need to get it done. The main help would be from expanding the team and/or the availability of the current team such as via new volunteers or via grants.

So, that’s that, at least for now. Some value, but not worth investing further.

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Wonderful write-up, I think the majority of my thoughts of feelings are written here, thanks.

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