San Francisco – Day 3

Mozilla – „let’s troll the titans“

This morning connectUS went to Silicon Valley for the first time and had the opportunity to visit Mozilla. Asa Dotzler, „spokes model“ told us the story of Mozilla and expressed its values during a warm welcome this morning in Mozilla’s headquarters. 20 years ago Asa started like most of Mozilla’s employees as a volunteer and became one of the founding members.

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The history of Mozilla Firefox started in 1998 when Netscape was the the original and then dominant web browser. At the beginning of the web browser history there was a constant competition between two major players, namely Netscape and Microsoft with Internet Explorer. Microsoft was winning tje competition after a few years. Owning 95% of the marketshare in 2002 Microsoft wanted to take over the Internet and decided to stop to further develop its browser as everyone was using it anyway.

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In 2001 Netscape released their sourcing codes and made their software open til they public. Soon they had 1000 engineer volunteers that started to compete against Microsoft and this led to the breakdown of Netscape in 2002 and subsequently to the foundation of Mozilla with the aim of having a clean, simple and fast web browser. After closing down Netscape, the non-profit Mozilla foundation was built in 2003 with its basic values to fight for an open web and build a web browser that fits the peoples needs. Mozilla sees competition as an opportunity that increases choice and innovation because in the end both, users and developers, win. After launching Firefox 1.0 in 2002 it reached 10 million downloads in one week.

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Until now Mozilla still relies strongly on its volunteers as for example one third of its codes were created by its volunteers. Furthermore there are 90 teams that translate the content into their native languages as Mozilla only codes its website in English. Throughout the whole story of success Mozilla has stayed loyal to its values.

Being a non-profit organization Mozilla focuses on creating features for its users that always have to be free for them to choose. Making the decision to choose Firefox as a web browser also is a possibility to make a clear statement that choice matters.

swissnex

Steven Reading Head of Corporate Innovation and Startup Development welcomed connectUS at swissnex San Francisco and gave us some insights.

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Compared to swissnex Boston, swissnex San Francisco focuses on innovation with its mission to connect the right dots, thus their approach is through technology.

Luke and John Lonergan

We had the great opportunity to welcome two successful entrepreneurs at swissnex in San Francisco. After introducing themselves to the delegation, they started their interactive presentation by asking questions to the students about what they are interested in their perspective and ideas.

Afterwards Luke and John shared the experiences they made during their own journes of success. John has his background mainly in the field of healthcare and medical devices, as Luke is mostly involved in the IT sector. Luke’s company Green Plump was a leader in the field of big data analytics, which was eventually acquiered by EMC Corporation in July 2010.

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The brothers gave some concrete and valuable recommendations for all students that want to found a startup after graduating. At first it is necessary to start with a smart idea and focus on a specific audience that is able to change the business landscape. Furthermore a date should be set until when you want to achieve your objectives under the motto „push as far as you can, as fast as you can“. Moreover John and Luke highlighted also that the right timing is a key variable when starting a new company. And last but not least, be sure to have the right team and that you chose carefully the fund that you ask for support. Having a experienced and strategic partner that can advise you and that shares the same goals as you can lead you to the top.

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