Multiple Manifesto Layers: The Mozilla Case Study

Mozilla Manifesto

Previously, we wrote about How to Write a Manifesto in Two Steps. This is the quickest and easiest way to write a manifesto. And, to get the maximum value from your manifesto you’ll need to take it a bit further and add a few extra layers. A great example of this is Mozilla’s Manifesto as featured in the Manifesto Project.

Some Background

Mozilla are the creators of the Firefox web browser and other software programs. And, they’re not your usual organisation. They run a virtual organisation, they create open source projects and they’re governed as a meritocracy. In other words, they…

  • do not have physical headquarters,
  • are unlikely to meet face to face,
  • create projects no one owns
  • anyone can contribute to their projects
  • they have no official leader and
  • each person has equal say in what happens.

Yes, they’re a decentralized organization. And, the secret to making decentralisation work is a strong ideology. Without it everyone runs around like a chook with it’s head cut off. Not an effective organisational principle! You can start to create a strong ideology by writing a multi-layered manifesto that declares your intent and defines your principles for operating. Add a project, campaign or crusade and away you go…

The Mozilla Manifesto

Here’s some of the layers the Mozilla Manifesto includes:

Organizational Statement

Mozilla is an open source project governed as a meritocracy. Our community is structured as a virtual organization where authority is distributed to both volunteer and employed community members as they show their abilities through contributions to the project.


Mission Statement

Mozilla’s mission is to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the web.


Manifesto Goals

The goals for the Manifesto are to:

  1. articulate a vision for the Internet that Mozilla participants want the Mozilla Foundation to pursue;
  2. speak to people whether or not they have a technical background;
  3. make Mozilla contributors proud of what we’re doing and motivate us to continue; and
  4. provide a framework for other people to advance this vision of the Internet.

These principles will not come to life on their own. People are needed to make the Internet open and participatory – people acting as individuals, working together in groups, and leading others. The Mozilla Foundation is committed to advancing the principles set out in the Mozilla Manifesto. We invite others to join us and make the Internet an ever better place for everyone.


Manifesto Principles

Like the Bible’s Ten Commandments, Mozilla have 10 Principles to work from.


Manifesto Pledge

This is like an accountability statement. They’re saying, you can count on us to do this, uphold these standards and forward these conversations.



This is the most important piece. Without the projects and campaigns to build software, the rest of the manifesto would be hollow and merely hot air. For Mozilla, their campaign is to build software. And they’re creating web browsers (Firefox), email clients (Thunderbird), project collaboration tools (Drumbeat) and more…



One of the simple ways Mozilla gives presence to their campaign is through web buttons. Put them on your site to show visible support.

Firefox Download Button



Finally, the whole point is to create a community and this requires a specific call to action.

The Mozilla Foundation invites all others who support the principles of the Mozilla Manifesto to join with us, and to find new ways to make this vision of the Internet a reality.

Effectively, you can contribute to their software projects or contribute via donations. They also have a cool t-shirt that says: Protect the world’s most valuable resource.



More Updates

The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Life's Work

Your life’s work won’t just happen automagically by itself. To fulfil your life’s work you need a plan. But what’s the best way to do this?

Four Questions to Win the Game of Life

I’m a sports nut. I’ll watch almost any sport – especially Aussie Rules football. And from watching and playing a lot of sports, I know

Four Declarations for when things don't go to plan

Forest Gump’s mum famously said, “Life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get.” For me, life is