As most people (I presume) would know, FireFox 3 is being launched and they are planning a mega-event publicity thingy. (Guinness Re4cord for "most software downloads in 24 hours" by downloading FF3, the new FF version)
What's interesting on the site is the "Pledging' bit, where you pledge that you will download it on 17th June 2008, PST. It has a nice world map with colour codes showing which country has how many pledges.
That is the most interesting portion.
The countries with the highest pledges are USA and Poland. More than 100,000. Though Poland is just about 101k, and USA has more than twice as much, its interesting to note that Poland actually manages to enter that (top) group. Whereas Brazil (for eg), which is known for Internet usage, and definitely has a higher population, lags behind by 3K or so.
Is it that Poland has more FF users than Brazil and other countries? Or is it that Poland has higher population of educated people who have access to computers and Internet? This can be disputed by looking at France, which has 1.6 times Poland population, and has a higher GDP, yet a lower commitment to download FF.
The possibilities that come to mind thus, are - (hypotheses)
a) Poland has a much more tech-savvy population to total population ratio, who like to experiment with their browsers compared to other countries (developed or not)
a1) Poland has the highest number of teenage (+/-10 yrs) people compared to the developed/ high GDP nations, which ensures there are more people who can afford Internet and computer, as well are literate enough to use them and download new softwares (older people in the most developed of nations will also have an apathy towards setting a record by downloading on a certain day. They will do so in their own time.)
b) Firefox has a dedicated user base in Poland, who would do just anything for Mozilla/ FF
c) Polish people do not care about downloading. They just want to go there and ensure that their country looks nice and maroon on the map.
d) Polish people are suckers for Guinness World Records, and every homeless shelter installed a PC to ensure ppl can download FF3
I would go with not only (a) above, but also (a1) as being most logical.
Comparing with France, a better developed nation, with higher population, the median age of Poland is 37.6yrs, and that of France is 39.2. Hm. A difference in the median age of 1.6 yrs can translate a lot in real age terms. That does explain a bit, but not all, and definitely does not prove the hypothesis. To investigate further, I look at Italy.
Italy has 1.5 times the population of Poland, and has a median age of 42.9yrs. Yet, its commitment levels are 8K less than Poland. Again, the median age comes to play. UK (39.9), Germany (43.4), Spain (40.7) and Japan (43.8) also have a mich higher median age of their populations (larger or smaller).
Thus, age does have a role to play. Then what about countries like China and India? China's median population is 33.65 and that of India is 25.1 - lower even that of Brazil (29)! And these countries have much higher population, thereby a %age population who has computer and access to Internet - definitely comparable, if not an exact correct comparison.
But here we are talking of a higher conversion of population to voracious users in Poland than even in Canada (same population size but higher median age) and Australia (lower population, same median age) - countries with, I would assume, equal amenities and almost-similar standard of living, if not better.
The only the choice that leaves me with is a new option (e)- Poland's culture. All I know of Poland's culture is its tourism department is aggressive now, esp for India. And Poles are charming, industrious people - at least those Ive met. (They do have difficult names and English, but Ill pass that). Ill also glaze over their employment and taxation laws (horrid even as recently as 2005). But as far as downloading FF3 goes, they are one interesting country!
I, for one, would love to know of a culture which would make its people more adventurous, willing to try new medium, take part in international events with gusto, and in general, try new things. Because, that to me, summarises the event of mass downloading of a new Internet browser. Computers and Internet - a comparatively new medium, and a new browser - a willingness to try out something new, perhaps risky, but definitely not the in-built IE and taking part in a World Record breaking international challenge by just not downloading, but also pledging to do so.
The proof of downloading lies in actual downloads. Perhaps like I mentioned above, Poles simply like to commit and may not have as many downloads as pledges. But, the answer will soon be available, barely 24 hours away, and I would still like to know more about the Polish Internet System!