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Oct 22

Setting our own Direction; Ben and I to move on from Palm

Palm, Tech, webOS Add comments

set direction

When we joined Palm, we were excited to join the intersection of mobile and Web. It has been fascinating to see how that seam has grown over a very short period of time. The device landscape has exploded and developers have amazing new hardware to target. webOS embodies the spirit of joining Web and mobile and we have enjoyed growing the developer community but with its new home at HP we thought it was time for us to move on and allow their resources to take things to the next level. As Ben mentions on his own reflection, it is bittersweet to leave, and I really want to thank Palm, HP, and the webOS community that have embraced us and the platform. I also want to give a massive thanks to: a) the amazing engineers who developed webOS, b) the developer relations team that care so much about our developers, and of course c) the developers who created great experiences on webOS. I wish everyone the best, and as we mention on our post on the Palm Developer Blog, we look forward to continued involvement with the community in our new role as consultants.

What’s next? I have enjoyed time at large companies and small, and there are pros and cons to both environments, but it is time for me to swing back to “small”. I wrote about how the culture of joining companies after an interview is akin to marriage after the first date, so I am not looking to dance down the aisle just yet, no matter how pretty the bride is ;).

Instead, I am incredibly excited to start a new venture with my long time co-hort, and best mate, Ben Galbraith. We have learned a lot about the trials and tribulations of being a developer for the mobile Web, and have some ideas on how we can help people create compelling experiences using HTML5 and related technologies in a highly productive manner. We care passionately about developer community, and are interested in helping companies understand and do the right thing by developers. Finally, we are makers, and have some ideas of great products to build. We look forward, as is our DNA, to share the journey and experience as we strive to build great software.

Industry cross roads

Scott Rosenberg posted on the Web parenthesis and questions whether the Open Web is closing. We are so lucky to be in a position where a massive global platform is Open. If you look at our history with mainframes, PCs, and gaming consoles, they have all be closed proprietary systems. As developers we have been beholden to the vendors. When we are both aligned, things can work out, but as soon as the company has a change in strategy and we misalign, developers are often left by the wayside. This mirrors the world of dictatorships. If you could guarantee your dictator is fully aligned with you there is a good chance that the system will be far more efficient than a democracy. History has taught us though that 99.9% of the time this isn’t the case. The Open Web gives us an escape valve. It has its own problems and complexities (just as democracy), but that is all critically worth it.

Being “open” isn’t enough, and we need to have a platform that works for developers. We need to be able to make money. We need to be able to create amazing experiences for our users. The Web has a huge new challenge vis a vie the “app economies” out there, but it behooves us to all push the Web forward and make it work for us.

The Web has the opportunity to be THE unifying platform that can give us the best opportunities.

It is going to be an exciting and important few years. Now is the time to endeavor to help set some direction in the industry. I hope we can have an impact in our own small way.

14 Responses to “Setting our own Direction; Ben and I to move on from Palm”

  1. Alexander Ainslie (@AAinslie) Says:

    Congratulations and all the best to the both of you! Can’t wait to see what awesomeness you guys produce.

  2. Derek Gathright Says:

    Congrats. We’ll certainly miss you in the Palm community, but are excited to see what you two are up to next.

  3. Paul Ross Says:

    Really enjoyed the Palm Developer Podcasts you guys did. Good luck with your new venture.

  4. Susie Says:

    Hi Dion,

    Best of luck with your next adventure.


  5. seppo Says:

    Hey, Dion – congrats on the new venture! Obviously, sad to see you’re leaving Palm, but I’m excited to see what you’ll be up to next.

    I love the “benevolent dictator” analogy, but I’m curious how you make the web democracy, and not anarchy? Maybe that’s your secret sauce… :)

  6. Lou Says:

    I say congratulations with mixed emotions. I hope that your consultation at HP continue to make WebOS the great operating system it is. While this announcement was a shock to me, and probably to the rest of the WebOS community, it is a decision you didn’t take lightly. I wish you well and good luck in your next endeavor!

  7. Derek A Says:

    Really excited for you both. Make it happen.

  8. fonefrenzy Says:

    If it wasn’t for you guys, Palm would not have been nowhere as close to it’s development community as they are today thanks to your efforts.

    Best of luck to you two and keep in touch.


  9. Michael Mahemoff Says:

    You guys were a great asset to Palm and I’m sure you’ll be missed. Good luck to you and Ben on the next venture … and please don’t keep us in suspense too long ;).

  10. Markus Leutwyler Says:

    Thank you for your great work at Palm and all the best for the future!

  11. Elizabeth Yin Says:

    Congrats, Dion!

  12. Nicolaas Bijvoet Says:

    It is with some regret but with anticipation on what’s to come that I’ m reading both of your blogposts on your departure from Palm. And I wish you both the best of luck.

    But I wanted to point out one thing.
    And that is the big influence you guys had and probably will have on a small but fiercely enthusiastic course called Devine. (www.devine.be ). Devine is brand new 3 year course, in Belgium, where we form students to become what we like to call the “next generation” web/screen designers.

    What our site doesn’t show, yet, is the huge impact you guys had on our curriculum. I’ve watched your lecture at the Stanford University over and over again. Your vision on the web, the rise of new web technologies, the marketing term html 5 ( glad someone called it that ), the webOS (!) … It fuelled my beliefs on the importance, on the rightful place open web standard design/ development has in the mostly flash based environment Devine was at the time.

    It brought us sufficient arguments but more importantly fire, enthusiasm to build a case for a more balanced curriculum between actionscript and javascript.

    It triggered some kind of revolution. Now we are teaching our students about mobile browsing, about javascript driven technologies, about bringing the future to the web, about making rich experience based websites for all kind of devices and platforms with open standard technologies.
    What I wanted you to know is that many generations of students to come will be influenced by you speaking out your vision, and of course our take on it.

    Thank you.

    Ps . You all made us very enthusiastic about the webOS, sadly here in rainy Belgium we can’t get our hands on it. Hopefully that might change in the future.

  13. ryan boyd Says:

    Best of luck in your new adventures Dion!

  14. Steve Souders Says:

    Last night I was showing my wife a bunch of data I had collected from websites (# of scripts, use of JS libraries, etc.). She asked how I had been able to find out all that information from these other companies. That question might seem silly to us now, but keep in mind that she’s been with me since the late 80s when everything was shrinkwrapped, desktop binaries. I answered her, “It’s all open now. That’s the beauty of the Web.” It’s an amazing world and your mantra of the Open Web being the unifying platform rings true. I can’t wait see what you and Ben will be working on. Lead the way!

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