Being a serious Firefox junkie, I was testing out a couple new extensions when a fellow coworker came by my desk and asked me what I was doing. He then asked what extensions I find useful, at which point I began showing off Spellbound. Immediately, he jumped out of his seat and couldn’t believe his eyes. He then asked if he could use my browser for a second, and navigated to an intranet site that he had been developing.
His intranet site is a Python powered application that pulls in large amounts of text for the data processing department to clean up. Being in market research, and talking with thousands of people on the phone through our surveys, we ask people how they feel about certain topics, at which point, they tell the interviewer as he/she types in their response. We end up with long text files of responses which include grammar, punctuation and spelling problems, not to mention foul language and slang. It is their job to clean up this text as best they can, removing the foul language, correcting the grammar, punctuation and fixing the spelling. Well, with this extension, the spelling aspect just got a whole lot easier.
It wasn’t long before the IT manager wanted to see me and wanted to know about the extension and how it worked. Once I showed it off, he was convinced, because for the past several months, he had been trying to program his own spell check program to implement into this Python application, and without much luck. Why reinvent the wheel? A tool has already been constructed, that works wonderfully, and virtually bug-free. Needless to say, the spell check program has now been abandoned for the new extension.
Which brings me to my next point. Now that this extension has been exposed, the workplace, specifically the Data Processing department, is very interested in the browser. In fact, they will need the browser if they want to make their jobs much less painful. So I spent an hour or two showing off the extension to the DP department, downloading and installing Firefox and the extension on their computers. Now, except for maybe one or two people, our entire workplace has been converted to Firefox. That may only be approximately 30 people, but, it’s about 20 more than before, and that brings the Firefox market share all that much closer to beating out Internet Explorer.
It then came to me, that it is the workplace that is the ultimate factor in determining whether or not Firefox will in fact beat out IE. I would dare say, although I have nothing to back this up, that the workplace makes up more than 60% of Internet activity, and if that is the case, then targeting corporations and businesses would be more successful for Firefox, than targeting individual users. With Firefox at the 10% mark, and growing, I would think that this would be the direction to go. Also, by converting the employees at work means converting them at home, which poses as a double threat. Lastly, the ultimate success of any service or product is word-of-mouth. When you like a movie you just saw, what do you do? You tell your friends about it, and they go and see it. It has been the secret weapon of anything successful. Word-of-mouth beats out direct advertising 10 to 1.