Miro Internet TV Blog - Archive for June, 2007

Can we get a link?

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

I’m a little worried that when we launch Miro two weeks from now, people won’t be able to find us on search engines right away, because the links to us will be too new. If you have a blog or website, it would be really helpful if you could throw up a link now to ‘http://www.getmiro.com’ with the word ‘Miro’, like this: Miro. Maybe we can at least get into the top 10 or 20 by launch day so that folks who hear our name somewhere can find us.

We’ll probably do a permanent redirect from this site to the new one, so I think searches for Democracy Player will point right over. I’m not sure if the new site inherits some of our ranking power when we do a redirect.

Subscriber shirts shipping this week

Monday, June 25th, 2007

This week we’re shipping out t-shirts to all Democracy Subscribers, so let us know if you don’t get one soon (pcfpostal -at- gmail.com). The shirts will go one sale to everyone when Miro launches about 2 weeks from now.

If you’d like to become a Democracy Subscriber to help support our work, go here: Become a Democracy Subscriber. And let us know if you get stuck at all on the signup process, it’s a little awkward right now.

Mozilla isn’t a socially responsible business (it’s better)

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

Seth Bindernagel, who runs the community-giving program at Mozilla, has started writing about the social and public interest role that the organization serves. This is fantastic. Far too many people know Firefox as simply a better web browser and don’t realize how crucial it is has been and will be for keeping the web open to everyone.

In many ways, I view Mozilla as an activist organization and I have a hunch that a lot of people involved with the project do as well. Mozilla has a mission– they build Firefox because it helps keep the internet open. Perhaps because Mozilla grew out of a community that’s not traditionally tied to politics and advocacy, the public interest part of their story has tended to be overlooked or pigeonholed in technical terms. But these days I don’t think anyone still sees the future of the internet as a niche issue; it would be like saying that the freedom to print and read books is only of concern to the publishing industry.

I wrote to Seth about his first post on this topic, “Mozilla as a Socially Responsible Business” and I’ve decided to post my thoughts here also.

Mozilla is an amazing example of a self-sustainable organization that advances the public good. The term ‘social entrepreneurship’ fits pretty well; Mozilla uses some business techniques in its effort to advance the public good. I think Seth’s blog post is very much on point, but I get a little nervous when I hear the term ‘socially responsible business’ and I wanted to explain why I think it sells Mozilla short.

In my view, ‘corporate social responsibility’ applies to businesses that tries to conduct its work in a responsible way. Businesses are generally designed to maximize profit and that’s most important bottom line. In that framework, any ‘socially responsible’ activity must fit the profit directive. It so happens that many things, like energy saving or donating to charity to gain publicity, do advance both the public and private good.

But Mozilla doesn’t just perform its primary mission in a ‘responsible’ way. Mozilla’s primary mission is a public interest mission, and that’s extremely different than anything ‘responsible’ that the Gap, McDonalds, or Walmart might do. A company that makes software, while buying their electricity from windmills and donating to charity, could be called a ‘socially responsible’ software company. But a business that is designed to serve the public good, like Mozilla, goes far beyond that.

This distinction becomes much clearer when you contrast Mozilla with a classic ‘socially responsible business’, Microsoft.
Microsoft is ‘socially responsible’ business by almost every typical standard– they give away money, are sponsoring the Live Earth concerts, and probably run a relatively environmentally friendly operation. They are included in many ‘socially responsible’ investment funds. But Microsoft’s core business practices are specifically and consistently designed to monopolize the market, limit consumer choice, and corrupt open standards. It would probably be impossible for Microsoft to make as much money if they stopped monopolizing operating systems and office suites; therefore, their social responsibility can’t extend to openness.

Mozilla would never seek to restrict choice or openness because the project and the organization are specifically designed to create openness. This mission is built into their structure legally (they are a 501c3 charitable organization so they can’t be acquired) and technologically (anyone could take their open-source code and compete with them at any time). But just as importantly, the founders, board members, and staff do this work because they are fighting for the public good. Mozilla pays its staff with income from a search deal with Google. Organizational theory predicts that self-preservation and expansion tend to drive key behaviors of organizations. But everyone at Mozilla would choose to drop the Google deal in a heartbeat if it started to corrupt their social mission (they really would). That’s what makes them different.

Help Us Pick a Channel Guide Feature

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

We have a ton of cool ideas and plans for the Channel Guide. Unfortunately, we are forced to take one step at a time.

Below are two possible features; we’d like your help deciding which one we should start with. If is better than the other, make sure you leave a comment saying so (bonus points for telling us why).

Feature A: People who Subscribed to this Channel Also Subscribed to…

This is easy to conceptualize, but would actually take a little more time to implement than Feature B. Amazon (below) is a popular example of this feature.

Others Liked This

When looking at any channel’s details, an user will be presented with three more channels (w/ nice looking thumbnails) based on what others have subscribed to (calculated with anonymous statistics).

Feature B: Shareable ‘Favorite Channels’ List

This feature would allow users to keep a list of their favorite channels, to be shared. With a single click, another user could potentially subscribe to one or all of the channels in the list. Users’ favorite lists could be featured in the channel guide (so if your list got popular, it could climb to the top of the guide).

Top List

We didn’t find anything that seemed to exactly match this idea, although MOG (above) has a somewhat similar feature that allows peoples’ favorite songs to get listed.

What Do You Think?

Which of these features do you think you would use more? Which one seems most exciting? What would you do if you were us?

Looking for something?