You can still earn money while respecting people’s privacy: Vanja Prokic & Hanns Segelcke on the state of tech.

We spoke to two of Mozilla’s finest, Vanja Prokic — Head of Communications — and Hanns Segelcke — Senior Copywriter — in Berlin about the tech industry, privacy, and creativity.

“We believe that putting people first does not necessarily make you a bad company.”

Joint portrait of Vanja & Hans

First things first: do you guys ever get to work together?


Vanja Prokic: Actually we work together quite a lot.


Hanns Segelcke: I don't know this person. 


I joke, of course — absolutely, we do! All the time in fact. For all sorts of campaigns there's always an aspect where I have to jump in and do some creative things here and there — create some assets or help create assets (my team is bigger than just me).


And then there's always a Vanja component to it — basically doing everything and making everything bigger — making sure people actually see and read and hear what we're doing.


What's Mozilla’s stance on big tech’s monopoly?


VP: Well, Mozilla just believes in having a healthier ecosystem in general. When it comes to technology you have a couple of big tech companies that make a lot of decisions because they also make a lot of money. 


So we position Mozilla as a challenger or as an alternative — because we believe that putting people first does not necessarily make you a bad company, and that you can still earn money while respecting people’s privacy and people's values.


What we believe at Mozilla is that there is a chance to have a healthier balance where people can come a little bit down from all of this money making and that being their priority and not respecting people's privacy and you know make the playing field a little bit more fair.


What about tech and free speech?


VP: There are certain ways of big tech doing their business which at the end of the day is fitting their idea of what that business should look like and what the internet should look like. Of course we do believe that technology it should be safe and free and open for everyone. 


We put people first and pretty much anything that we do comes from the values of the company — that can be from how you feel amongst your colleagues to basically the products that we produce or acquire. Everyone has to decide based on their own standards and their own values.


What does Mozilla think about diversity?


HS: Diversity definitely improves creativity at Mozilla — and everywhere, really, because it's also a question about creativity. For me, it's always about humans and in particular human emotions — and me, Hanns, are merely one human with one set of emotions. 


The more people we bring into the mix, the more diverse the idea will be — but just as importantly it will also speak to more people. Which is what we ultimately want, right? We want many people to identify with what we're doing — and this is only possible when we bring in many different takes on certain things while creating what we're doing.


VP: Mozilla has a very open culture and what is really good about Mozilla as well is that it's not one of those companies that says: “Oh, we're all about diversity”, And then you actually walk into a room with all of your colleagues and everybody is English or German. There's a huge variety of people. 


It's a very inclusive environment — and I know nobody can do everything perfect — but Mozilla is always trying to do what it can to make the space and the company more inclusive. 


Part of your onboarding process at Mozilla involves pronoun training for instance, then you have a non discrimination seminar — so you actually see the company putting in some efforts to educate even if you know it's never going to be perfect.


HS: We just try to take care and that’s really what’s most important — to really try all the time and not just do what you've done all the time but really think about what you're doing. 


How is client side different from the agency side and is one more creative than the other? 


HS:  I wouldn't say that either side is more creative than the other. But they are very different.


Agency side is all about being fast, and I find that sadly there is a lack of appreciation with agencies today. Whereas on the client side, the issues are different, and things tend to move a bit slower with more appreciation along the way. 


VP: From an agency you start searching for a creative solution first and foremost with: what's my budget? And then you go let me be creative within the boundaries of that budget.


But as a client, I feel like the idea comes first — so it’s reversed. 

Joint portrait of Vanja & Hans

How does Mozilla drive creativity?


HS: Mozilla doesn't actually need to do that much. You have a lot of opportunities here to be creative because there are a lot of things that need to change in the world of tech and  the internet. So there are a lot of things that you can just get creative about and start problem solving — which which creativity ultimately is.


One thing they do and do very right here at Mozilla is be open to creativity and help set off new sparks.


What about the roles — are there many creative ones at Mozilla?


HS: There are different kinds of creative roles here. Some very straightforwardly creative — involving creative headlines, creative push notifications etc. and then there are the other ones which are more to do with problem solving (how can we describe this new feature that's coming out so people understand it)


When you’re in the tech industry it’s almost always something new and you need to communicate the why effectively in order to get people to care — creativity is imperative to this.


VP: It’s about finding creative ways to tell stories — because people get bombarded all the time. You need to find alternative or more creative ways to tell your stories across channels where you're actually going to talk to people so you can find them and actually get their attention properly. 


And finally, how did you get your roles?


HS: I got my role through REDSOFA! Before I was a creative director but I was a bit fed up with the agency world and thought it was too much stress for too little appreciation for creativity. 


VP: Funnily enough I also got my job through REDSOFA!


Thanks guys!




Vanja Prokic & Hanns Segelcke

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