How do you run an organization composed of thousands of volunteers scattered around the world? Here are seven principles that drive the thinking behind Mozilla.
It's the community, stupid
The best course of action isn't necessarily the one that will prove the most immediately profitable. The best decisions are the ones that win the most buy-in from the most people.
There seems to be no limit to what volunteers are willing and able to do for an organization they believe in. But hardly anyone thinks to ask.
Lead by following
Paradoxically, managers can be more influential by judiciously declining to exert control.
Interesting things happen when people are allowed to break the rules. Firefox, for instance, was created not by Mozilla's main development team, but by a couple of programmers who splintered off in another direction.
Open-source approaches can go further when they're paired with conventional approaches. Find ways to blend community-driven efforts into your current operations, rather than jumping whole-hog into open-source.
There is a world of potential volunteers outside the United States, and in some cases the only incentive they need to pitch in is the freedom to adapt a product or service to their own needs.
Getting the most out of people, and winning their loyalty, is sometimes just a matter of listening to them-- very carefully and all the time.