Revenue is the wrong yardstick

I happen to give a lot of interviews to reporters, mostly in Europe. After a couple of interesting experiences, I’ve learned something… Each and every time, I start the interview with a kind of disclaimer that seems pointless at first: I remind the reporter  that Mozilla is a non-profit organization. Most journalists know it’s the case, yet they don’t often internalize what this means. I understand why: they deal on a daily basis with for-profit companies, whose role is to maximize their bottom line. But when it comes to Mozilla, applying this sort of thinking does not work well. Actually, anyone judging Mozilla on its financial results would be disappointed… and missing the point.

Mozilla is fundamentally a non-profit organization. We do not measure success with financial results. But at the same time Mozilla operates within markets competing with commercial organizations. This makes us a hybrid organization, non-profit on one side, yet operating within a market on the other side. To put things differently, money is not a goal for Mozilla, it’s just a means to an end: the Mozilla Mission, which is to promote openness, innovation, and opportunity on the Internet.

The money Mozilla makes enable us to invest in the infrastructure that enables Mozilla to run: hardware, servers, Mozilla spaces, marketing campaigns, paid staff, Mozcamps. All of these things have a price. But what really matters, the continued health of the Internet  is – as the famous ad says – “priceless”.