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Tech entrepreneur, executive, and investor; father of eight children; Googler.

Posts from the Business Category

About one month ago, Walmart’s Global Electronic Commerce division (i.e., Walmart.com) acquired our entire Set Direction teamโ€“the start-up that Dion and I created in late 2010. We’re now anxiously engaged in a multi-year effort to energize Walmart’s efforts in mobile e-commerce.

If you had told me six months ago this would be Set Direction’s outcome, I wouldn’t have believed you. Dion goes into some of the details surrounding the deal, including how we came to know the folks over at Walmart and the steps that led us here.

Joining Walmart.com was a no-brainer once we grasped the size and scope of the opportunity. In my role as Vice-President of Mobile Engineering and Dion’s as Chief Mobile Architect, we’ll tackle together the challenge of creating the world’s best mobile retail applications for some of the biggest and most exciting markets in the world, such as the US, China, Brazil, and many others.

How are we going to create top-quality products for a variety of mobile platforms across all these markets? How will we be able to evolve the apps fast enough to out-maneuver our formidable competitors when we have a gaggle of platforms and markets to support? Will Node.js scale to our needs? ๐Ÿ™‚ These are some of the interesting problems we’ll be solving. Sound fun? We think so too.

While Walmart is the world’s largest company and has an army of people already hard at work on managing its extensive software systems, we’ve been given the opportunity to build our own mobile team with a start-up culture within the Global E-commerce group. Think small teams of incredibly talented people being supported by the resources of the world’s largest company.

Want to join us? Drop me a line.

A Road Leading to the Clouds

Whoa. It seems to me only a few weeks have passed since I previously posted on my blog back during those first few crazy days at Palm when I jumped onto the moving train; somehow, it also feels like ten years ago. Being a part of the Palm story has been a whirlwind adventure. And now, that adventure takes a new form.

Starting Monday, Dion and I are leaving HP / Palm as full-time employees but staying involved with HP webOS in a consulting capacity. Our post on the Palm Developer Blog goes into more detail on this transition and look to Dion’s blog for his own perspective.

As for me, “bittersweet” perfectly describes my feelings at this juncture. Working alongside the talented team at Palm has been a tremendous opportunity, and the chapter being written now with HP is ripe with extraordinary potential. Leaving the company of this crew is certainly a bitter cup to swallow.

At the same time, I couldn’t be more excited to be starting a new venture with my good friend and colleague of many years, Dion Almaer. We’ll post more on the details of our new company soon, but we plan on spending our time creating quality software and helping others to do the same. A particular focus of ours will be to help folks realize high-quality mobile and desktop app and web experiences using HTML5, JavaScript, and related technologies.

What a fascinating time of change for our industry! The Web has been challenged as the dominant platform for mainstream consumer software experiences–though the contest with apps is far from over. The predicted mobile convergence (with the desktop) is happening now. Independent software developers are now re-empowered to earn a living at their craft in a new and interesting way–they join musicians, directors, writers, and other artists whose products command the attention of large swaths of the general public. The opportunity has always been there, but now the complexity of so much infrastructure required to distribute those experiences has been swept away (though the trade-off has not been without cost).

While at present we see a diverse set of incompatible software platforms competing for the right to distribute the produce of these new and revitalized app artisans and businesses, history tells us that consolidation of these platforms cannot be far in the distance. Reducing the number of app platforms in the marketplace–the “content formats” of the app world–is unquestionably a good thing for developers in the short-term. However, I hope that we can evolve to a place where the content format and device manufacturer are not irrevocably coupled. When you think about it, the status quo is comparable to a sort of bizarro world where, say, Sony MiniDiscs achieved unparalleled ubiquity but Sony never licensed the format to other device manufacturers.

Of course, this “bizarro world” I described is how the world played out in the last set of consumer software platform wars, but perhaps this time around a large set of developers will choose portable content formats and ensure that competition and innovation thrive for the next exciting decades to come. And hopefully, Dion and I can play a role in shaping that outcome.

More soon.

(* The analogies above aren’t perfect, of course; cut me some slack. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’d love to write another post that goes into detail on the similarities and differences between traditional content media and interactive content, etc.)

…when they open a store in Utah. Three years ago, the only Apple store within a half-hour of my home was a Ma’ and Pa’ shop where the family dog was allowed to roam through the store.

My, how Apple has turned around their retail presence.

You have to admire that kind of thinking: when the retail channel is the weakest link in the chain, build out your own retail channel.

Still, I have mixed feelings about having a store so close to home. One of my guilty pleasures when travelling is to stop by the local Apple store when the schedule permits. In an era when I can have anything I want without leaving my chair, it’s kinda nice to be denied something on occasion. I guess I could pretend that it’s not there… ๐Ÿ˜‰