Roll Up Your Sleeves, It’s Time to Save the Web

Mark Surman

Photo of Mark Surman as a punk rock kid.

Photo of Mark Surman as a punk rock kid.

I was a punk rock kid. It wasn’t just the music I loved, but the “make it yourself” part of that culture. It was open to anyone who could pick up a guitar to bust out a tune or use a photocopier to make a fanzine. It was real. It was raw and accessible. Everyone could have a voice. A few years later, I discovered those same qualities in this new cool frontier called the Internet. Pick up a keyboard and you can connect with the world and build stuff. Five years ago, I joined Mozilla because we share that punk rock DNA: The belief that everyone can have a voice and that the Internet should always be a source of empowerment for people.

The people at Mozilla are makers and doers. They’re a “learn it together as you need to” community. This combination of making and learning and teaching is key to everything we do, from making Firefox to building new programs like Webmaker.
Mozilla works at the intersection of passion and pragmatism. We’re a global community gathered around the idea that the Web shouldn’t be closed off from everyone. We believe the Web must be an open, shared resource available to all. We roll up our sleeves and get down to the business of making. If the web needs a new piece of technology, we build it. If the world needs to understand the web, we teach it.

Right now the web is a huge source of empowerment; it’s the spark for untold amounts of creativity and innovation. But I worry that as billions more people come online in the next decade, they won’t have the same Web we had. These DIY ideals are losing ground as the mobile Internet becomes less open, less accessible to every-day people. Fewer and fewer individuals getting online today have the know-how or the tools to make the Internet theirs, to create their song, share their cause, or spread their idea in the broader digital world. Mobile is a gated world where you have to ask permission to build a new cool thing and put it in an app store. There has never been a more important time than now to roll up our sleeves and build it, teach it; loosen the gatekeeper’s grip.

We need to get ahead of this, to fix this. We can fix this. We need to make sure the Web wins on mobile by building Firefox OS and new WebAPIs, we need the Web— the open, interoperable, mashable Web—to be the platform for a world going mobile. We need to find ways to teach 100′s of millions more people how the Web works so they can make it their own. This is what the Mozilla community is all about — championing a web where people know more and do more, a web that they can make their own and use to make their lives better.

That’s where you come in. With your support we can keep tools accessible and teach the world how to be creators as well as consumers of the Web. We can create a world where more kids not only learn how to read, write and do math, but also how the Web works. And when they know more about the Web, they can do more and make their lives better. That is the real promise: A world where people really have the opportunity to invent a better, more creative future for themselves and all of us.

How can you help?

Thanks for supporting Mozilla and our mission to build the web the world needs.