October 2nd, 2008

Obama for iPhone: Portland plays a huge role in mobile app development


Obama iPhone appMcCain may have invented the Blackberry, but today, Obama owns the iPhone. Thanks to a team of talented developers—half of whom are here in Portland.

Obama ’08 is your official, comprehensive connection to the heart of Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s campaign, giving you the tools you need to make an impact and stay in the know.

Making a difference takes only moments using the Call a Friend feature. Want to do more? Find your local Obama for America HQ or look up local campaign events.

Creating this politically savvy iPhone app was a wholly volunteer effort. An effort that featured five Portland folks on the team: Raven Zachary, Jason Grigsby, Lyza Danger Gardner, John Keith, and Aileen Jeffries.

Aside from being beautiful, it’s a feature rich application designed to get individuals more involved in the political process. (In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the opponents of the Obama campaign rival the proponents in downloads.)

The application has a “Call Your Friends” tool that helps you organize your contacts by key battleground states — a feature we’re hoping will generate thousands of additional personal contacts. You can also easily mark reminder notes to yourself on which friends you have called, who they are supporting and who wants a reminder call on Election Day. The information does not leave your phone (so your friends’ and your own privacy are protected) but the total amount of calls the application makes are tallied, so you can keep track of your progress as we close in on November 4th.

As Grigsby says on the Cloud Four blog:

Leaving politics aside for the moment, it’s a pretty impressive display of what is possible using the iPhone and iPod Touch platform.

[UPDATE] I just heard that the Obama ’08 for iPhone folks will be holding a launch party for the app during the next presidential debates. Head on over to the Mission Theater on Tuesday, October 7 to congratulate the team and watch some politicking. To RSVP, see the Obama ’08 iPhone App Launch Party and Presidential Debate Party on Upcoming.

Is Portland beginning to take center stage in mobile app development?

So yes, the app is super cool. (And if you agree, you may want to digg it.) But, I think—in my Silicon-Forest-centric frame of mind—that’s not the only cool thing happening in this story.

There’s something else that’s going on here. And when I say “here,” I literally mean here.

While the application is an impressive feat for a volunteer effort (or any effort for that matter) what I think may be even more interesting—and Zachary, arguably the premiere consultant for all things iPhone, agrees—is the underlying story about mobile app development in general—a development effort that, more and more, seems to be centered around talent right here in the Silicon Forest.

“This speaks to a growing trend in Portland toward mobile app development,” said Zachary. “We’ve really got something starting here.”

Grigsby echoes a similar sentiment about the creation of the Obama iPhone app:

I’m terribly proud of this application. I’m also honored to have been part of making it happen. It’s not simply that we built something that we believe will empower people to bring change to Washington, but it is also the fact that we assembled an exceptional team.

As does, Gardner:

The amount of energy that went into this was fun to be around. Raven Zachary and Jason Grigsby’s strategy genius, Jonathan Wight’s very powerful development fu, Mike Lee and Tristan O’Tierney’s hacking support, Louie Manta’s visual-zing-wow aesthetics, Aileen Jeffries and John Keith’s many-faceted support, and Dom Sagolla’s tireless testing work. Phew. That’s the lot of us.

We all hear, time and time again, how mobile is the next big thing. Wouldn’t it be nice if that big thing were happening right here in Portland?

I think it would. And I think it has the potential to happen.

And with efforts like this—and the growing ranks of mobile developers here in town—I’d say we’re well on our way.

Congratulations to the whole team—but especially the Portland folks—on launching an amazing app that’s sure to step on to a national, if not worldwide, stage.

For more, visit the Obama iPhone app page or to download it for yourself, head over to the App Store.

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19 Responses to “Obama for iPhone: Portland plays a huge role in mobile app development”

  1. Awesome! Go team Portland, go!! I just saw Raven’s post on Techmeme and thought “does Rick know about this?” Turns out the story is even bigger than I thought. Way to go y’all!

  2. [...] who work on mobile apps. I’ve covered them from time to time—most recently with the Obama for iPhone app—but I thought it might be helpful to give you a glimpse of some of the folks who are making [...]

  3. The app *is* pretty sweet, and I for one would be thrilled if mobile dev really took off here in Portland.

  4. This isn’t new, actually. When the Palm first came about, Portland seemed to be a hub of mobile software development then, too. It is good to see Portland reclaiming its crown!

  5. [...] who work on mobile apps. I’ve covered them from time to time—most recently with the Obama for iPhone app—but I thought it might be helpful to give you a glimpse of some of the folks who are making [...]

  6. [...] Portland’s role in iPhone development is pretty epic. Due to recent interest, I’ve compiled a working list of iPhone developers near or in the Portland area. Please spread this list to anyone you feel it may service. [...]

  7. [...] it’s thanks in no small part to his involvement in a little iPhone that played a role in putting Barack Obama in office. The other part is that he’s one of the most intelligent and well-spoken people I know. And [...]

  8. [...] iPhone consultancy last year. And he’s been overwhelmingly successful. Being involved in the Obama iPhone app can do that to you. And helping with something like iPhorest only continues the [...]

  9. [...] iPhone consultancy last year. And he’s been overwhelmingly successful. Being involved in the Obama iPhone app can do that to you. And helping with something like iPhorest only continues the [...]

  10. [...] this with the fact that a bunch of Portland people were quintessential to developing the Obama iPhone app… ) In your opinion, what was the most unique use of social media in the Obama [...]

  11. [...] this with the fact that a bunch of Portland people were essential to the development of the Obama iPhone app… ) In your opinion, what was the most unique use of social media in the Obama [...]

  12. [...] many of you know, a good chunk of the development team for original political iPhone app—the Obama iPhone app—lived right here in Portland. And the positive reception that app and its developers received [...]

  13. [...] to rattle off a number of names of people who are doing some amazing stuff here in town. People who worked on the Obama app, folks who are building apps and powering communications for some of the biggest brands in the [...]

  14. [...] Given this news, I’m eagerly awaiting the update to the Obama iPhone app. [...]

  15. [...] Given this news, I’m eagerly awaiting the update to the Obama iPhone app. [...]

  16. [...] helped create iPhoneDevCamp before the iPhone was even open for development and who served as the project lead on the Obama iPhone app—and James Keller—who boasted substantial digital agency experience including a stint at [...]

  17. [...] helped create iPhoneDevCamp before the iPhone was even open for development and who served as the project lead on the Obama iPhone app—and James Keller—who boasted substantial digital agency experience including a stint at [...]

  18. [...] that same year (2008), he flexed his own penchant for all things digital by introducing a mobile application — something that, at the time, was relatively untrodden ground — that informed [...]

  19. [...] that same year (2008), he flexed his own penchant for all things digital by introducing a mobile application — something that, at the time, was relatively untrodden ground — that informed [...]


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