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Business - Written by on Friday, February 15, 2008 12:12 - 1 Comment

An Open Source Lesson in Talent

While looking for the beta version of Firefox 3, I came upon a post on the Mozilla Labs blog announcing the winners of the the Extend Firefox 2 contest. The contest asked contestants:

“Will you be the brain behind the next great Web innovation? Do you have the drive to take your Firefox Add-on idea to the masses? Are you ready to affect everyday life for millions of people around the world?”


The three grand prize winners were:

The Minimap Sidebar ExtensionThis program, “gives you a suite of in-built maps and mapping tools for your web browser. Create and save a sidebar map using the addresses or address links you find on web pages (highlight then drag and drop), or by manually adding locations. View traffic Info, drag and drop kml files, local search, Google, Yahoo and Live Local directions, view in google earth, tagzania, platial, geourl and many more. Address/Location points are stored locally for later use.”

Sameplace Instant Messenger – An open source solution designed, to manage all of your instant messenger conversations? Why not look to the browser? SamePlace is an extensible, multi-network instant messenger. It allows you to keep all of your conversations in one place – much of our time online is spent in the browser, so what better place to keep an eye on our contacts than the sidebar?”

Shareaholic“Found something awesome online and can’t wait to pass it on? Tired of copying and pasting endless URLs? Shareaholic allows you to share, bookmark and e-mail web pages quickly without leaving your browser.”

The point here is not that these add-ons are cool – they are. The real takeaway is the way in which Firefox harnesses the talent within its community of users.  Granted, we’re not talking about a traditional business here but there are lessons to be learned from this model. In many instances, companies are stifling and punishing users who adapt their IP. Instead, if companies loosened their hold and allowed users to co-opt their products – and moreover, praised them for doing so – they stand to reap tremendous rewards. Instead of locking this talent out, companies could leverage it .

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Shareaholic Wins Grand Prize in Mozilla.org’s Firefox Contest! | Bzzster! + Shareaholic Blog
Feb 19, 2008 1:53

[...] A big thank YOU for supporting, using, and believing in Shareaholic. Much more to come :) Read what others have to say: ReadWriteWeb, Mashable, Mozilla Links, Wikinomics [...]

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