Winding down the web site

So long, Drumbeat. Hello, world.

TLDR version of this post:

  • Later this month, we’re going to retire the web site.
  • This is a function of Mozilla Drumbeat’s success. We’re taking what worked about Drumbeat and shipping it right into Mozilla. With a laser focus on making and learning: creating great software and resources that build a generation of webmakers.
  • If you have an active project or data on, you’ll want to make other plans. The post linked in the comments below by my colleague, Ross Bruniges, has more details and FAQs. Please get in touch if you have questions.
  • We’re still sorting out the new brand and online home for our work going forward. (“” “Mozilla Learning?” “Mozilla U?” something else?) In the mean time, check out our Mozilla Webmakers wiki for details on our projects, community calls, and ways to stay in touch.

Drumbeat was so successful, we’re shutting it down.

About two years ago, the Mozilla Foundation started experimenting with a set of big ideas, using “Mozilla Drumbeat” as an umbrella brand and laboratory. Our thinking:

  • Grow the Mozilla community. In size and diversity.
  • Reach out to new audiences.  People working in other spaces that matter. Like education, journalism, filmmaking, and youth.
  • Collaborate on new projects and software. Lock web developers in a room with these new audiences, shake vigorously, and wait for lightning to strike.
  • Work open. Template and package Mozilla’s uniquely open way of working along the way.
  • Invite the world. Extend that out to anyone who wanted to play.

What worked?

What we’ve proven together over the last two years is:

  • Collaborative innovation really works. Bringing technologists together with innovators in other spaces = win. We brought filmmakers together with developers and got Mozilla Popcorn. We brought educational innovators together with developers and got Mozilla Hackasaurus and Open Badges. Hybrid innovation really works.
  • Focusing on learning, media, and youth makes sense. There’s broad support for these areas, we’re getting traction, and it helps tell a great story about the Mozilla mission. The link between all these areas is empowerment, with the web as a vital public asset for all.
  • The world is hungry for Mozilla maker values. At events like the Mozilla Festival, we’re getting huge enthusiasm for a) bringing together diverse groups, and b) inviting them to make and learn together. “More hack, less yack.” People are tired of “blah blah blah” — they love Mozilla’s hands-on, “let’s build stuff” ethic.

What didn’t?

  • Trying to support a million different projects. By inviting the whole world to set up a project on, we spread ourselves thin and created too much noise to signal (not to mention spam!). And we didn’t provide value to these projects they couldn’t find elsewhere on the web. It was a great starting point, but as users told us in our survey, we need to focus on doing a small number of projects well.
  • Trying to over-engineer Mozilla’s way of working. We thought that creating project pages and activity streams could help  projects get a leg up and go faster. It didn’t. There’s (probably) no magic template or piece of software that helps projects work open. Ultimately, that’s more of a culture and know-how problem than a technology problem.

What’s next?

  • Winding down the Drumbeat brand and web site. Shipping what worked right into the core of Mozilla. Phasing out the Drumbeat brand.
  • Focusing on software and learning for webmakers. That’s the thread that connects our most successful projects. It means delivering great authoring and learning tools (like Mozilla Popcorn, X-Ray Goggles and Open Badges), resources (like an expanded version of our Hacktivity Kit), plus great events and global community. From the yearly Mozilla Festival, to hackfests and learning labs, to mini webmaker meet-ups around the world.
  • Finalizing the best way to brand all this. We’ve been doing a lot of work on this, and hope to have a finalized proposal ready to share soon. The key will be keeping it simple, telegraphic, and part of a larger brand architecture for “One Mozilla.” Please drop  in to one of our weekly community calls if you have ideas or questions.
  • Launch a new web site in Q2. A simple site that helps tell our new story, guiding audiences to the specific pieces they’re looking for. We already have web sites for our various individual projects, so this will be a thin, audience-focused layer that helps bring the pieces together. Ross Bruniges is helping to lead this work — please get in touch here if you’re interested in contributing. Or check our Mozilla Webmakers wiki in the mean time.


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