Trendlines and Stacking Logs

TL;DR Our MoFo dashboards now have trendlines based on known activity to date The recent uptick in activity is partly new contributors, and partly new recognition of existing contributors (all of which is good, but some of which is misleading for the trendline in the short term) Below is a rambling analogy for thinking about our contributor goals and how we answer the question ‘are we on track for 2014?’ + if you haven’t seen it, OpenMatt has crisply summarized a tonne of the data and insights that we’ve unpicked during Maker Party Stacking Logs I was stacking logs over the weekend, and wondering if I had enough for winter, when it struck me that this might be a useful analogy for a post I was planning to write. So bear with me, I hope this works… To be clear, … Continue reading »

When ‘less than the sum of our parts’ is a good thing

Here’s a happy update about our combined Mozilla Foundation (MoFo) and Mozilla Corporation (MoCo) contributor dashboards. TL;DR: There’s a demo All Mozilla Contributor Dashboard you can see at It’s a demo, but it’s also real, and to explain why this is exciting might need a little context. Since January, I’ve been working on MoFo specific metrics. Mostly because that’s my job, but also because this/these organisations/projects/communities take a little while to understand, and getting to know MoFo was enough to keep me busy. We also wanted to ship something quickly so we know where we stand against our MoFo goals, even if the data isn’t perfect. That’s what we’ve built in our *interim* dashboard. It’s a non de-duped aggregation of the numbers we could get out of our current systems without building a full integration database. It gives us … Continue reading »

Week 4 at Mozilla

I gathered up the output from my many discussions with our teams so far, and I’m proposing a plan for shipping a Mozilla Foundation Contributors Dashboard as quickly as we realistically can. I’ll be presenting this next week, and once I’ve had feedback on it, this can be turned into a proper plan of action and shared more widely. Next week I’m in Toronto with the Webmaker team for a work-week (a pretty focused gathering on getting things done), which I’ve been busily preparing for. You can see what we’ll be up to here (I’m space-wrangling the Metrics track): P.S. ‘Space-wrangling’ is official Mozilla terminology, and animated GIFs are our primary means of communication. Because we work in the open, you can follow live updates on how well we’re shipping our planned output during the work-week: Getting ready … Continue reading »

As ready as I’m going to be

Tomorrow is the first day in my new role at the Mozilla Foundation, and I’m getting the new job nerves and excitement now. Between wrapping up at WWF, preparing for Christmas, house hunting, and finishing off my next study assignment (a screenplay involving time-travel and a bus), I’ve been squeezing in a little bit of prep for the new job too. This post is basically a note about some of the things I’ve been looking at in the last couple of weeks. I thought it would be useful to jump through various bits of tech used in a number of MoFo projects, some of which I’d been wanting to play with anyway. This is not deep learning by any means, but it’s enough hands-on experience to speed up some things in the future. I setup a little node.js app locally … Continue reading »

Remembering maps from memory

Today, I found this awesome post on Uncertain Cartographies (via Flowing Data), and it immediately took me back to something I made when I was in college and studying fine art. So check out that link first, as this post will make more sense in relation to it, and it’s pretty fascinating anyway. Then I’ll continue my reminiscence… I used to have a framed print of a map I’d drawn on the wall at home, though when I say “print” it was ~10 bits of A4 photo paper I had carefully cut and glued together. It lasted about 6 years on the wall before the ink faded and the paper peeled and I had to take it down. And I hadn’t thought about this map again until today. Then after reading this paragraph in particular, I really wanted to find … Continue reading »

My First #Mozfest

I have an hour free this morning, so wanted to quickly write up my thoughts on Mozfest before my memory fades too much. This will be a rough, but f*** it, ship it as they say at Mozfest. I bought a Mozfest ticket in July with next to no expectations and just a little hope that meeting some new people might trigger some new ideas. It’s fair to say that this was a massive under-prediction on my part. A couple of months later, with about a month to go until Mozfest, my boss (@ade) mentioned some sessions that might be interesting for WWF and my work in fundraising. A couple of introductory emails and a Skype call later and I’d put my name down for a yet-to-be-confirmed session called ‘Pass the App’. We were going to use a new tool … Continue reading »

Something I wrote for Engaging Networks

A few weeks ago I received a marketing email from the Engaging Networks team quoting some stats about the possible improvements to website conversion rates that can be achieved with A/B testing. I was caught off guard (but pretty chuffed) when I realised I was being quoted my own case study from a presentation I had given a couple of years earlier. I sent a quick reply to the email and was delighted to find it was sent from a real address with a real person at the other end reading the replies (@Rachel_shares). This turned into a nice discussion about conversion rate testing, and somehow I agreed to write a guest blog post. Which, with some helpful editing from Rachel has now been posted on the Engaging Networks blog. I thought I should share the link with all two … Continue reading »

Bibliofaction short story website needs a new home

Would you like to run Despite our best efforts, Andrew and I are no longer finding the time to properly look after the Bibliofaction website and community. So it’s time to find someone new to take care of it. It’s going free to a good home (though it has some costs involved and would benefit from some technical work). We’d like the website to be run by someone who supports the original goals of the site – to encourage everyone to have a go at writing a short story. It should be a welcoming, inclusive and inspiring place – but we won’t have ongoing involvement in the site, so really it’s your call! Here are some top-level facts that might be useful to you: 3,500+ published stories ~10,000 visits per month (it was a bit higher when we were … Continue reading »

Why removing evolution from science textbooks might not really matter

This needs more thought, but writing this has helped me to join up a few ideas I was stewing over with my coffee yesterday morning while my son was napping. So I’ll publish this as is, and your thoughts are welcome. While it’s useful to teach the fundamentals of physics, chemistry and biology in schools, I think what we need to start with and to prioritize is teaching the scientific method, the importance of curiosity and the need to question the answers. As an aside: Question the Answers is also the name of my favourite Bosstones album. Rather than teaching the latest and best hypotheses, we should be showing kids how science as a whole works. How a community of disparate researchers come to agreement on an idea, and how people continue to challenge that idea as best as possible … Continue reading »

Evening coding

With lots of interesting client work on at the moment, I’ve decided to spend some evening time moving along the next version of Done by When. This is nothing too stressful, but the project is getting really interesting now. I think I’m over the initial conceptual learning curve and now I’m making proper progress. Where the launch version of Done by When was primarily a working proof of concept, this next version is about attention to detail and responsiveness (that’s the speed of interactions as opposed to the adaptive layout stuff that’s already in place). I feel like I’m properly upgrading something when I’m spending as much time removing code as I am writing it new. More updates soon.