Video: Tristan, Mozilla’s European CEO on Evangelism and Word of Mouth (4:00)

Tristan Nitot, (his blog on open source in French) CEO of Mozilla Europe talks about how Firefox spread mainly through word of mouth and people just sharing it and advocating it to others. He suggests that the open source initiative first resonated with people, thus spurring word of mouth. They encouraged users to have the software loaded on a portable thumbnail flash drive, and install it wherever they went. Blogs were a big component of how it spread, as well as local communities that would be passionate about their region, self-supporting each other, and spreading the word.

Un traditional web strategies
As you may know, Mozilla hasn’t done a lot of traditional marketing or advertising (except for at least one full page add in NYTs with the launch of Firefox 1.0) and is really relying on social media to spread the tools. Exactly how fanatic is it’s customer base? So fanatic that some users created an actual crop circle and it’s featured all over google images searches, as well as in Google Earth! Or they’ve leaned on the community to create and submit videos (30 second commercials) with Firefoxflicks, some of which actually went on major TV networks, sans production costs.

If you’re looking for stats, you’ll find that Firefox is the second most used browser in the world, and it’s primarily spread through grass roots adoption, against a Microsoft product that comes embedded on many platforms. Users have to go out of their way to download the software, let alone spread it to others.

This is fascinating, if I substitute the word ‘Firefox’ and insert the name of ‘any religion’, it still makes sense. For many, it’s almost as if Firefox is gospel.