A Force for Good on the Internet

Ten insights from Mitchell Baker's Women in Tech talk.

by Brandi Herrera


From access and openness in the Internet’s first idealistic phase, to the ongoing process of global social change, Mozilla Co-Founder and Chairwoman Mitchell Baker has seen and experienced a great deal of evolution in her decades-long career.

As the featured speaker at the NANOG 75 Women in Tech Lunch in San Francisco, she recently shared a number of valuable insights we’re still mulling over today. Here are ten observations from her talk that resonated with us most.


”The social engineering of the first phase of the Internet, and the web, was phenomenal … Look what it's made: in a single lifetime, we've gone from no Internet, to it being a fundamental part of society on a global basis.”


“There was this giddy sense that the Internet, and then the web, could change everything. The ideal on which it was based, and the goal of universal connection, universal access to all knowledge, collaboration, the ability to resolve problems, and the ability to reach across geography and demographics, to be yourself online, and not be subjected to the limitations your physical life might bring you is very idealistic, and I would actually say, utopian.”


“The Internet as we understand it, fractures.”



“You have to be able to imagine positive solutions to build them.”


“The social engineering that worked [in the first phase of the Internet], with a pretty homogenous view of what success and goals looked like, does not work today. I call it the second phase of where we are.”


“ … we have all of humanity, and all of human nature online. The really nasty parts of human nature are innovative, too, and are making good use of tools. As we go forward, the goals from the core of the Internet will be fundamental.”


“ ... there are often alternative, more distributed views, that require a broader, more diverse, more inclusive voice of technologists to get out into the discussion.”


“I've noticed that women often get opportunities when companies and organizations fail … that reflects what's wrong.”


“Social change is pretty difficult, but it takes time … gender, inclusion, and diversity in general, are ongoing processes that require change from everyone.”


"To actually have a society that is inclusive — not just diverse, but inclusive — is a personal journey for most, if not all, of us."


Brandi Herrera

Brandi Katherine Herrera is NANOG's Senior Content Strategist.

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