One month of Webmaker Growth Hacking

This post is an attempt to capture some of the things we’ve learned from a few busy and exciting weeks working on the Webmaker new user funnel. I will forget some things, there will be other stories to tell, and this will be biased towards my recurring message of “yay metrics”. How did this happen? As Dave pointed out in a recent email to Webmaker Dev list, “That’s a comma, not a decimal.” What happened to increase new user sign-ups by 1,024% compared the previous month? Is there one weird trick to…? No. Sorry, I know you’d like an easy answer… This growth is the result of a month of focused work and many many incremental improvements to the first-run experience for visitors arriving on webmaker.org from the promotion we’ve seen on the Firefox snippet. I’ll try to recount some … 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 areweamillionyet.org 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 »

New Google Sheets: publishing a single worksheet to the web as CSV

With the switch to the new version of Google Sheets, the option to publish a specific worksheet and then access that as a CSV file has disappeared (hopefully just temporarily). In the new Google Sheets, I managed to publish a worksheet as a CSV by piecing together answers from here and here. This is how to do it: Share the Google Doc so anyone with the link can view (sadly this loses the granularity of only sharing specific sheets that used to exist in the old version). Publish the document (File > Publish to the Web) and look for the document ID in the URL Add that document ID into this URL in place of KEY: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/<KEY>/export?format=csv&id=<KEY> While editing your Google Doc, open the worksheet you want to export and look in the URL for the GID parameter Copy this … Continue reading »

The immediate value of working in the open

I’m both excited and a tiny bit nervous about how “open” Mozilla are about the way they work. As I’m getting to know the Foundation, and the projects and priorities, and to make sense of what exactly I’ll be doing here I’ve been reading lots of Etherpads. If you don’t know what an Etherpad is, it’s a bit like a Google Doc (the ‘word doc’ variety) but less slick and more open. If you give someone a link to an Etherpad, the barrier to them contributing to the document is almost non-existent. Anyway, the value of this open working process somewhat blew my mind today. While lots of these docs have been useful in a general sense, today I read the documents from the initial planning around MoFo metrics that led to recruiting for my role (so it was pretty … 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 »

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 »

Concept Game – Simple Evolutionary Model

I’ve spent enough time on this now to submit it, even if it’s still a bit rough around the edges. I’ve included a bit of a write up below. This demo will run best in Chrome or Opera. Click to play. I’ve built a simple ‘game’ called Digital Husbandry. It’s more of a time killer as it doesn’t have any serious game mechanics, but there is a visual reward to keep the user engaged. It’s based on the idea of simulating progressive evolution through selective breeding. Much as generations of farmers have done with livestock. The player brings together critters on the screen based on visual qualities that appeal to them, and produces offspring that drive the overall appearance of the group closer to those qualities selected by the player. The ‘critters’ die when they reach the ‘deadzone’ at the … Continue reading »

Critters Processing Sketch – Part 2

I’m just posting some progress as this concept develops. Code etc is hosted on Open Processing if you want to have a look. I’m really enjoying Processing as a sketchbook for code. It’s definitely a good tool for teaching programming.

Drawn: Multi-armed Bandit Experiments

I read this really interesting article on multi-armed bandit experiments the other day, and while I enjoyed the graphs and the stats, I got distracted wondering what a multi-armed bandit experiment would actually look like? So I had a go at drawing one last night.