Not to date myself, but for the first decade or so I worked in startups, my commute — and the commute of the vast majority of my peers — consisted of heading out to Beaverton and Hillsboro. Because at a time when startups needed a room full of servers and room full of engineers, Washington County had both the floor plates and the cost per square foot to make it manageable.Read More
It’s always nice to see the kids do well. Especially when they’re the great grandkid of the Portland startup scene.
You see, Kryptiq is a descendant of a long line of Portland startups. Some folks started at Tektronix and then left to join startup Mentor Graphics. And then some of those folks from Mentor Graphics left to join startup MedicaLogic. And then MedicaLogic folks wound up at Kryptiq.
And today, that startup whippersnapper had some major news: Kryptiq and Surescripts have envisioned a way to revolutionize the secure sharing of health information. Read More
Now, I know if may be difficult to pry yourself away from your space heaters and heat registers, this evening. But despite the drop in temperatures, Portland’s event schedule remains chock full. Tonight, there are a couple of really cool events that make it worth bearing the chilly weather.
If you’re a coder of any ilk, you won’t want to miss the Winter Coders’ Social, the regular gathering of all coding types here in town. And tonight, there’s also a Silverlight gathering that could prove worthwhile for motion designers and UX folk. Read More
It’s rare, in these parts, to have events that combine traditional high tech, startup tech pursuits, and venture capital concerns all in one fell swoop. But that’s exactly the focus of TechAmerica’s Silicon Forest Technology & Financial Forum.
And lo and behold, the time for that event is nigh. So if that sort of line-up sounds interesting to you, you’re going to want to get registered for he Silicon Forest Forum this Tuesday and Wednesday out at the Intel Jones Farm campus in Hillsboro. Read More
Hillsboro-based Kryptiq has always had high hopes for improving physician-client communications. But now those high hopes are reaching thermospheric levels. Or exospheric. Or whatever.
Enough of the fancy words. Suffice it to say that Kryptiq has landed a new client that means they’ll be flying high, for sure. With astronauts and stuff. You see, Kryptiq’s newest customer is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Read More
And their latest move only further solidifies that opinion.
In an impressively transparent admission, GoLife Mobile proposes a change in their business pan—right on the home page of the GoLife Mobile site.
GoLife points to a number of changing market conditions that have had a decided effect on the company:
Industry Growth: Consolidations and mergers such as the acquisition of Symbian by Nokia are changing the mobile landscape. The carriers are rapidly opening their frameworks, recognizing both the inevitability and the value of community-driven mobile application development.
Locative Services: Location-based services are taking off like wildfire (who would like to write the location-based service to monitor wildfire growths, we’d sure like to see that before next summer in the West!) Locative services and mobile devices are such a natural fit that we are strong supporters of WhereCamp PDX.
The iPhone Appstore: The release of the iPhone and its AppStore has fundamentally changed the perception of mobile devices. The iPhone has precipitated the revolution that we knew was coming: people are beginning to realize the potential of mobile for more than just voice and text communications. We can’t tell you how exciting this is for us!
Technology Evolutions: Mobile technology is rapidly changing, growing, evolving, new capabilities are being added daily. For instance, near-field ID chips are being integrated into mobile devices already. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to poll your mobile phone and ask it where you left your glasses? Or your keys?
Economic Devolutions: There’s been another change that we’ve been tracking, like everyone else, we’ve been watching the state of financial markets. Sad to say, but the credit crisis has taken its toll on small businesses like GoLife Mobile, and has affected our ability to grow out our framework as rapidly as we’d anticipated.
But, GoLife isn’t crying in their microbrewed beer. They have a new plan.
GoLife is retrenching. And moving forward to take advantage of the obvious opportunities in the mobile market:
Given these changes, we’re changing our business too, to make sure that we stay on the cutting edge of the market and the technologies, and that our framework gives our customers, users, and developer partners what they need. After looking at the state of the art in mobile and what’s coming down the pike as far as technologies and services, we are taking our mobile client apart for some major revisions.
It will be truly interesting to see what emerges from this change in direction.
One thing is for sure. This is yet another reason I point to GoLife Mobile as one of the leading local mobile talents.
If anyone can make it, they will.
Hillsboro-based GoLife Mobile, creators of the VADOWERX framework for mobile application development, has a added a new exec to their team, Edwin Voskamp, who has joined GoLife Mobile to lead corporate engineering.
According to a press release GoLife Mobile dropped late last week:
[Voskamp] has over twenty years experience designing and constructing intelligent solutions for distributed Internet and Intranet information applications used by Fortune 500 companies, including American Express, Baxter, Cardinal Health, Kraft Foods, and RJR/Nabisco.
Apart from adding another seasoned exec to the team, this hire has ramifications for “who does what” at GoLife Mobile. With Voskamp joining the team, founder Mounir Shita, President of Technology, is now free to focus more energy on the company’s technology strategy by handing the day-to-day management of the VADOWERX-framework activities to Voskamp.
It’s still early in GoLife’s life. And while the VADOWERX framework has been released to developers and is meeting with a positive reception, they don’t have the luxury of slowing down. Having Shita in a position to spend more time on vision and strategy should prove to be a positive step for ensuring the organization’s continued success.
Last week, I published the first part of my interview with GoLife Mobile’s CEO, James Whitley. That post focused on the discussions of the GoLife Mobile Vadowerx framework. Now, I’d like to touch on our discussions about Portland, it’s culture, and the potential it holds to become something extraordinary.
(As an aside, it was a pleasant surprise to run into James at Startupalooza. “Where’s part 2?” he asked. Right here, Mr. Whitley. Right here.)
Portland as a venue for startups
I’m always interested to get anyone’s take on Portland. But it’s especially interesting talking to people who are running businesses here. They often have a multitude of things that they love about Portland, but there are still those little perturbing issues that keep the environment from seeming “too perfect.”
Luckily, those perturbing issues are generally issues that are surmountable. That’s why I’m always happy to help people get those issues out on the table.
And as I began to question him on his reasons—“Why Portland?”, “What does this area offer?”, and the like—his affection for the area was palpable. And his deep ties in the region only further that affection.
But what I got most from Whitley was not his impressions of the past—it was his enthusiasm for the potential here in Portland, for today and for the future.
“I would put the talent in this town up against talent anywhere else,” said Whitley. “The Valley, Back East, anywhere. The people here are exceptional.”
And, in Whitley’s opinion, that talent is not in limited supply.
“There is a ton of talent here in the Portland area,” he said. “I am always talking to people with whom I would like to work. I don’t think many people realize the sheer wealth of talent we have here.”
So, if we’re so talented, I asked, egotistically and presumptuously lumping myself in with the “exceptional talent” here in the Portland area, why aren’t we seeing more growth? Why aren’t we seeing more startups taking root?
And that’s when we get to those problems. Those issues that are holding Portland back from achieving its extraordinary position. Those problems that we have the opportunity to fix.
“Portland has a problem with being a classic underachiever,” said Whitley. “So much talent. So much promise. But we’re not capitalizing on it.”
In staunch agreement, I asked for further details.
“We’re always hearing how we’re ‘not as good as whomever,'” he continued. “And unfortunately, I think many people have begun to believe that. I don’t. But I think some people do.”
And in Whitley’s opinion, that stance is only exacerbated by another problem: finding sources of funding.
While a number of Silicon Forest startups have seen continued confidence in follow-on funding as of late—MyStrands, Jive, iovation, and SplashCast, to name a few—the prospect of early funding remains a bit of an enigma for Portland companies.
“Portland is lacking is terms of early startup funding,” Whitley said. “There really isn’t a good network for seeding smaller companies, at this point. We could use some people working to fix that because it would really help the town as a whole.”
And that lack of early stage funding, coupled with the underachiever mindset, is tending to suppress the vigor that is bubbling just below the surface. Tends to prevent us here in the Silicon Forest from realizing our potential.
“There are a number of incredibly intelligent people working jobs that aren’t even intellectually stimulating, let alone challenging,” said Whitley. “Simply because they haven’t found the opportunity and funding to pursue their passion.”
I’m sure Whitley would agree, that we’re on the cusp of something big.
No doubt, GoLife Mobile and Whitley could have a very big role to play in that growth and success. And our realizing the potential of the talent in this area.
I’m looking forward to being part of that change.
I went into the conversation hoping to answer two specific questions. First, I wanted to get more details about the business reasoning behind the GoLife Mobile developer framework, Vadowerx. And second, I was hoping to get a better understanding of why GoLife Mobile found Portland a viable place to found this mobile startup.
Turns out, we wound up spending a good part of the time talking over the top of one another as we shared our complementary excitement for the potential that Portland holds, the amount of talent around here, and the distinct feeling that Portland is on the brink of something big. Really big.
And, GoLife Mobile may very well be part of helping to usher in that next big thing.
Now, there’s no way I’ll cram the entire conversation into a single post. So let’s break it into two posts, shall we? I’ll save the “why Portland?” response for part 2.
In this post, I’d like to provide some high-level insight on Whitley’s response to my questions on the Vadowerx framework.
GoLife Mobile’s framework
I’ve covered the GoLife Mobile framework before. But my cursory understanding of the framework and what it meant to the GoLife business model was admittedly tinged with a prevailing ignorance and a healthy dose of cynicism.
Whitley not only helped me understand what GoLife Mobile hopes to accomplish with the framework, he convinced me that they had a plausible way for getting mobile developers to interact with one another, contribute to the codebase, and profit from their Vadowerx efforts.
From a coding perspective, the Vadowerx framework is designed to operate much like any other application framework. When I mentioned the Rails and Zend frameworks for comparison, Whitley nodded in approval.
“We had to go with an ‘open’ approach to this framework,” said Whitley. “It is the only way something like this is going to succeed.”
Like its counterparts in the world of Web application development, Vadowerx delivers a series of pre-built components for common functions that can be plugged into mobile applications, saving the developer from coding basic elements that are often the same for any application.
“We refer to them as ‘LEGO’s, for lack of a better term,” said Whitley. “They can be combined in a variety of different ways. Combining them one way creates one application. Combining them another way could create something completely new.”
Simplifying application management for customers
A framework is great for coding. But what about the business? What does this open framework mean in terms of customers and revenue for GoLife Mobile?
Customers will likely be attracted by the simplicity of the GoLife Mobile experience. Instead of installing multiple applications, the user installs one.
“No one wants to install and maintain 50 different applications on their mobile phone,” said Whitley. “With our framework, it’s one installation: the presentation layer. All of those applications? They’re distributed and built on-the-fly when and where you need them.”
That’s great news from an application management perspective. Better yet? The applications understand one another, a continual Holy Grail of sorts for any group of applications.
“If I have two applications that share one of these LEGOs, they’re both going to have access to the same information,” said Whitley. “And there’s an intrinsic value there as users continue to personalize the applications through use. That’s when we start seeing some really exciting possibilities.”
And it’s not just mobile users that could benefit from that type of thinking.
“We needed to start somewhere, and mobile was definitely the right place to start,” said Whitley. “But this presentation layer could be delivered to any number of distributed screens, like ATMs, PCs, consoles… you name it.”
More than recognition for developers
Part of making the framework viable is encouraging developers to share ideas and concepts.
“With our framework, sharing objects is built-in,” said Whitley. “It’s not a question of whether you want to share or not, but rather how you want to share.”
But getting that type of participation requires motivation. And GoLife has hit upon something there, as well.
The applications distributed on the framework are currently supported by advertising. That means revenue for GoLife Mobile. But it also means something to the developer community.
“Recognition is great, but we felt that we needed more ways to motivate and reward the developers who take the time to contribute to the framework,” said Whitley. “And so, developers who participate have the opportunity to take a portion of the ad revenue that their components drive.”
Sharing in the wealth should have a positive impact on development, for both the company and the businesses within the mobile development community.
“We’re talking about providing a framework that not only simplifies development, it provides an incentive to participate,” said Whitley. “Wow! Can you imagine?”
The developers who have received early access to the framework are already buying into the vision.
“We were chatting with a bunch of developers last night after 11:00 o’clock,” said Whitley. “They’re excited about this framework and the potential it holds for their development business.”
From the sounds of things, I would imagine a subscription model for the GoLife Mobile service is also likely in the offing, which could provide another predictable revenue stream for the young company. And for the developers.
“Imagine installing one app and then subscribing to all the services you need to use,” he said. “There’s definitely value there.”
More to come
It will be interesting to watch GoLife Mobile continue to grow into its role as the supporter of this framework within the developer community. It’s a role that’s rife with potential. With good reason, Whitley is cautiously optimistic.
“Development—and the mobile market as a whole—is completely fragmented, right now,” he said. “This framework holds the potential to provide structure. And to let people concentrate on the things they do well.”
And that’s just part of what has me excited about GoLife Mobile. The other important area in which this company could have an extremely positive impact? Portland. In part 2, I’ll share my discussion with Whitley about Portland and his opinion on its potential.
Today, Hillsboro-based GoLife Mobile announced that they were introducing their GoLife Mobile VADOWERX Framework to a select group of mobile application developers. As part of the limited availability, those developers, along with other industry executives, were invited to a special introduction at GoLife Mobile’s headquarters.
I went out to do some more research on the VADOWERX Framework site, but everything beyond the first page is currently returning a 404 error. (Please comment if you get different results. I might have just caught them during a transition.)
So, according to the GoLife release on the VADOWERX Framework:
Using VADOWERX technology, developers can rapidly create and monetize mobile widget application services. Developers are also able to collaborate and share software modules in real-time, thus, creating an integrated developer economic model like no other. The VADOWERX framework is designed to enable application development and distribution across a wide spectrum of operating systems, handsets, and mobile operators.
If you’re a mobile application developer who is interested in access to the limited release, visit the GoLife Mobile Developer Lab to sign up. For more on the VADOWERX Framework, read the press release.