Over at Red Couch, Shel Israel has a really interesting interview with Blake Ross, one of the key Firefox pioneers. It's hard to believe that he is still only 19! There are some pretty neat insights into how Firefox was able to gain so much global popularity from 'humble' beginnings. From a blogging perspective, it is interesting to see how he used the blog - first, as a tool which "chronicled our work on the fledgling browser" and, more recently, the blog has "served as a hub for a series of marketing activities."
Blake Ross describes in the article what he calls the buzz pyramid:
1. Long before the mainstream or the mainstream media heard about Firefox, the blogosphere was buzzing about it daily. The blogosphere, of course, represents just a tiny fraction of Internet users, so this is the apex of the pyramid.
2. The “intermediate media” hears the buzz at the apex and reports that “everyone’s talking about Firefox.” These are outlets like c|net that sit between mainstream media and personal websites, and indeed from their tech perspective, “everyone” really is talking about Firefox-.
3. The mainstream media hears the buzz among the intermediate media and again carries the story that “everyone” is talking about Firefox. “Everyone” is still the blogosphere, but in the context of ABC, USA Today and other mainstream outlets, people interpret it to mean, well, everyone. ....
4. Word spreads throughout the mainstream and mainstream media continues to cover the story, propagating the word further. A growth cycle is created that Firefox has yet to break out of as the pyramid’s base grows ever larger.
It's interesting to see how a small minority of people could influence the many millions (26 million at last count) to download this browser. There are a number of keys to Firefox's success, but one of the main ones is its ability to give its community a number of tools that they could use to sell the product for them. The Spread Firefox website allows users the ability to download Firefox buttons, logos and other marketing tools; invites them to come up with the most original dipslays for Firefox and even offers them a free blog, where they can discuss the pro's and cons of the service.
It would seem that the company has truly embraced the Open Source Movement, from Open Source Software Development to Open Source Marketing.
The Rise and Rise of Firefox
What is Open Source Marketing