asp.net 2d barcode generator Livingston: As you were working on this, did you worry about competitive in Font

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Livingston: As you were working on this, did you worry about competitive
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Ross: No, Firefox was very different from traditional startups. Companies usu-
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ally worry about competition for financial reasons, but when we did Firefox, money was just always sort of there. There were donations, seed money from AOL; we eventually got this Google deal, but it wasn t a source of fear for us, because we knew if it didn t make money . . . It wasn t even supposed to make money it was a hobby, right, so we didn t really care. I was in school. It didn t have to succeed. It sounds bad, but the project was kind of just for us at the beginning to make something that we knew we could make, but not inside Netscape. It was an outlet for those frustrations. We wanted people to use it, but we weren t going to kill ourselves if it failed. We defined success in terms of users, not competitors. In any case, the IE team had been disbanded, and Netscape had bowed out, so the market was wide open. We didn t crunch numbers or conduct market analysis; we relaxed and followed our gut. There s a lot more pressure now with Parakey. People expect another Firefox or something like that.
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Livingston: People must have high expectations for you, which is not a bad
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thing, I suppose.
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Ross: Not a bad thing, but you have to deliver. It s hard to under-promise and over-deliver when everyone s promising things for you. We re trying not to hype up what we re doing until we ve got something people can use. People expect the world, so if you hype up what you are doing, you have to deliver, and it s not easy.
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Livingston: Did any competitors ever do anything to anger you Ross: Not directly. The only thing that bothers me is that Microsoft seems com-
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pletely driven by competition. We tried to be driven entirely by users. There was a need, so we tried to cater to it. We didn t say, We re going to try to crush Microsoft just to crush Microsoft. That wasn t the intent, even though that s kind of the stated goal of some misguided open source projects. Whereas Microsoft, they win a browser war, so in 2001, they bow out. Which is completely irresponsible, because this is the most used software application in the world, and they just stopped developing it. Now they are back in the game, because they have competition, so that pulls them back in. I will say that Internet Explorer 7 is shaping up to be a good browser; I just wish it came a few years earlier. We also see them trying to emulate a lot of the more genuine community spirit that we ve built up. People like Mozilla because we re open source; we try to be transparent and honest with the community. We re a free product. We work with people. And we re starting to see that kind of thing emanate from Microsoft. They have a team blog now and they are trying to be very buddybuddy, but it feels like a PR pitch, as if they looked at our situation and now they are trying to bring that sense of goodwill over there. If it were genuine, it would be great, but it feels like a sales pitch. It s getting better though. I respect companies like Opera, which also produces a browser. They aren t doing that well right now, but at least they re in it for the right reasons. They ve been around for a decade now, and they are passionate about the Web. Microsoft just kind of comes and goes with the money and the competition, and that doesn t seem like the right motivation to make a good product.
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Livingston: Looking back, what did people misunderstand about Firefox Ross: Many die-hard open source fans misunderstood our goal. Usually, in an
open source project, if you re not a developer, it s kind of like, What are you doing here A lot of people misunderstood the real audience we were going after. It s hard to explain exactly what that means, but you can imagine, here s this Mozilla project, it s very open, everyone gets a say. If you are a developer, you get to vote on whether or not a feature gets implemented. Then we come along and say, We re making a product for mom and dad. You still have a voice here, but some of the features that you think we should add may not be the ones that they want to use. So you have to take our word for it that, even though 500 of you want something right now, you may actually be in the minority of a much larger group that we re pursuing that s going to be silent during this phase of development. It s hard to convince 500 flesh-and-blood developers that their pet feature may not be desirable to 500 million imaginary users, especially when you have no hard evidence to back it up. In some ways, I m glad it s just the two of us again on Parakey. We can work very fast and there are no politics.
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