chris messina leaves flock

| 18 Comments

Chris Messina reports that after about 9 months he's leaving Flock.

18 Comments

Flock never took off. It's just Firefox and a theme and a few extensions.

Flock is meant to be a user-friendly, and social browser. Its concepts are obvious, but as you know.. they're still in the very begining.

Now, i though Chris a fundamental element in the Flock team. How come ?!

Flock is/was pure hype. Plain and simple.

Wow, Asa, you've got some harsh readers eh? No worries, I'm still waiting for us to live up to our own hype as well. "I'll believe it when I see it" is my common refrain. ;)

Anyway, I've been with Flock from the beginning and helped shape the vision. I still believe that our work is an essential asset to the Mozilla ecosystem -- and one that will reveal ways in which Mozilla as a platform can improve.

Y'know, as I venture off to the next thing, I'd put a charge out to you and your readers (speaking as an ex-Spread Firefox admin): with IE7 coming out soon, many of the "features" that have set Firefox apart will become commodified. Firefox has made great strides gaining adoption ranging anywhere from 8-20% in various markets. But what will be the compelling story that gets people to switch or even stick with Firefox when Vista comes out?

Many of the complaints we've had against IE forever are actually being addressed -- and so rather than picking on Flock and predicting its demise (which you're of course free to do as your wont) -- I'd think that you'd be well to engage with Flock as a demonstration of the viability of the Mozilla platform -- and indeed as a pointer to the success of Firefox.

Let's face it, you might get 10% of the market who hate Microsoft or love open source or love the idea of Firefox, and that might be enough. But if Firefox is really going to continue its rapid uphill adoption, I would think that you'd want more allies within the open source/Mozilla community than not.

'commodified' is Malapropism, at best. The word you're seeking is 'commoditized'.

Good luck on your journey Chris

Things tend to take their own time Chris, good luck with the next step then.

Oop, yup, you're right George. Thanks for the clarification.

Ian -- I have no doubt about that -- but nevertheless moving first and choosing to set our own destiny instead of waiting for Microsoft to set the stage for what will be the "next best thing" in browsers seem to me a good strategy for continuing Firefox's success. Places is interesting, for sure, and maybe Firefox 3 has some cool things coming along, but I've yet to see something that says to me, "Holy crap, IE8 won't hold a candle to that...!"

And for the record, I do tend to be on the impatient side of things. ;)

@Chris: Good answer, I fully agree with you that the open source community should try to stick together instead of bashing eachother like I feel this post is doing. I do see the other side of the coin too though, Flock is competing with Firefox for the same kind of users, something that could be good or bad.

@ Emil: That's not really how I see it (perhaps not surprisingly).

First, Flock is a demonstration of the viability of the Mozilla platform. We are not competing with the platform. Ideally, we'll help improve it. But we're not out to compete with it as far as I'm concerned.

Second, we're only competing with Firefox for users who don't want to deal with the hassle of installing, using and maintaining oodles of extensions that historically have had hard-to-discover UI, are incompatible or don't cumulatively make for a better overall user experience. I'd argue that the margin of overlap between people who *should* use Firefox over Flock is actually small. There are 100 million (ok, maybe less) Firefox users out there. There's another 20 million who might use Flock. Both are built on Mozilla technologies -- that's a *good thing* (tm).

For example, some people need riding mowers for their acres of lawn while others can get by with push mowers. There's a right tool for the job, and what attracted me to Firefox in the first place was that it promoted choice on the web.

To say that Flock is competing with Firefox for users is missing the point entirely and flies in the face of Mozilla's mission. Read it yourself: "The mission of the Mozilla project is to preserve choice and innovation on the Internet." *More* choice is better for Firefox. Why? Well, I'll give you one reason: the more people talk about "browsers" the more Firefox will come up in the same sentence -- and the more Firefox is mentioned in conversation the more people will realize that that blue E on their desktop is a choice, and that it is not the only "internet" in town. That, hey, there are other options out there.

We need more discussion about browsers, about what they are, about what having choice in your browser means and why the hell anyone should care. If anything, Flock is yet one more reminder that when it comes to the web, there are options out there, and tools being developed that go beyond the monopoly default.

I started out championing Firefox and got a job building on top of the platform that Mozilla built. Now I'm going back out on my own, just as I was when I started on Spread Firefox. My hope is that, through my independence, we can form a tighter allegience between both browsers to advance the state of the web while keeping it open and free.

I don't buy it.
Being someone who was part of a startup and helped shape it's life, I call BS on Chris and his excuses of "It�s just how I operate.".

Ideas and companies don't happen in 9 months, things take time and if you continuously 'jump around' in life, really your are standing still.

To me it seems Flock isn't what Chris really believed in, nor was it ever, it was just a job. I'm not dissing, as that is totally valid. What is not valid is making up bs to cover your ass.

One thing life has taught me is, honesty is what really brings us through in the end, even if the truth hurts, it's what's right, jumping around the bush only does more harm i the end, specifically to the one who is jumping.

I don't see this thread as dissing.
Sure Asa might have strong opinions about Flock, but so do the rest of us.
What bothers me the most about flock isn't the concept (I actually like it), but instead people like Chris who are rude and have a 'holier than thou' attitude.

cmon, folks. let's keep things friendly.

- A

@ Eric: I don't know if we've met, but if you knew me, you'd know that I'm allergic to "just a job" jobs. I don't do anything that I don't believe wholeheartedly in. I'm changing things up in my worklife not because I don't believe in Flock -- or at least the original ambitions and trajectory -- but because their needs and direction have changed.

I was an independent consultant for years before I took a job at CivicSpace and then Flock. If anything, this should suggest that I'm just not compatible with that whole 9 to 5 thing... long term at least. Jumping around is what indie consultants do, and that's what I like to do most! So fooey on whatever BS reasons I might use -- I'm pursuing the work that I love to do!

@ Marc: I didn't mean to come off with a "holier than thou" attitude nor to be rude. I do tend to be opinionated, but I certainly don't think that I'm better in any way than anyone else, and if my writing comes off sounding like I do, it's certainly not intentional and I apologize. I offered my opinion as someone who is deeply passionate about open source and by extension, Mozilla and its related offspring. I want to see open source succeed and believe that it will -- if I get caught up in a fervor from time to time, well, fell free to give me a sideward glance and remind me, "Yo, Messina, chillax dude."

chris, sorry if I came off harsh.
I appreciate your response and stand corrected.

I think that Mozilla Firefox can only get more users, considering that Vista is simply a mirage.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/03/22/microsoft_vista_delayed/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/03/22/gates_mea_culpa/

- Yoshi Lockehart
(The Topic Diversion Guy)

Flock is cool. But the business built around Flock is hilarious hype puff that will destroy it.

+1 kandy. i moved from firefox to flock because i genuinely find it useful and like useing it - but the hype surrounding it (and the "scene" in general) does make the eyes water somewhat.

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