Rumors were swirling last night that Small Society—one of the first big players in Portland’s burgeoning mobile startup scene—had been acquired by Walmart Labs, a division of Walmart that deals with social and mobile commerce.
IOS development shop, Small Society (@smallsociety) will be hosting Lunch 2.0 on April 6. Bring your iPad 2.
If you read here, you’ll know that Portland has a burgeoning mobile development scene. You don’t have to read here to know that, but we do talk about it a lot.
Small Society was in on the ground floor of the mobile app explosion (insert hipster meme here), and founders Raven Zachary (@ravenme) and James Keller (@semaphoria) have built a extraordinary team of iOS developers who crank out magical apps for big and small brands alike. Read More
One of the biggest tech stories in Portland—or anywhere for that matter—this week has been the launch of the Apple iPad, a new “magical” device that—when announced—was purported to change the way we compute, work, and play.
But now that the iPad is actually in owners’ hands, how are people feeling about it? I asked some folks from the Portland startup community—who also happen to be proud new iPad owners—to give me their first impressions on this magical new way of computing. Read More
Back in February, we got word that Raven Zachary and James Keller were starting a new iPhone agency to help clients build compelling and beautiful iPhone applications.
An agency model for application development? Would it work? Given the resulting backlog of clients—which is always impressive but especially in this environment—it seemed that it was an idea whose time had come. There was only one small problem: the agency didn’t have a name.
Now, the small team has managed to carve out enough time from client work to name the fledgling agency. Introducing Small Society:
In times of great innovation, cross-disciplined and talented individuals have come together to bring new ideas to life. It is in this spirit that our team has built a company that wants to help change the way people connect with each other and experience the world around them through iPhone OS.
We believe that the iPhone platform represents a major shift in mobility and provides a compelling opportunity for businesses to deliver new products and services, whether native or web-based, to a global audience.
Why did it take so long to come up with a name? Quite frankly, the team has been busy with other pursuits.
- iPhorest, while developed prior to the official agency formation, has been released to the App Store. It’s an application that allows users to purchase a virtual tree to grow on their iPhone. Even better? Purchasing and planting a virtual tree results in a real tree being planted, as well. According to the map, though, the so-called Silicon Forest is seriously lagging on the tree planting.
- CLIF Bar Save Our Snow app allows users to get check resorts for the latest skiing and snowboarding conditions from their iPhones. But the coolest feature is the most useless one: blowing into the microphone causes the screen to ice over.
The Small Society site is still under development. Until it is complete, raven.me remains the primary resource for information on the agency and its efforts. For more information, you can also follow @smallsociety on Twitter.
Why is the Brady Bunch theme song running through my head?
Maybe it’s because I’ve just heard the story of a man named Raven and a woman named James who’ve decided to combine their incredible talents.
Raven Zachary started his own 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 momentum.
So, he decided it was time to do something more.
“Since the Obama app, I’ve encountered some amazing brands and amazing opportunities,” said Raven. “And they were affecting my ability to remain an independent advisor in the iPhone community. It became very clear to me that there was the opportunity to build an iPhone agency.”
Enter James “@semaphoria” Keller, a wizard at Interaction Design, Information Architecture, and User Experience with a rich agency history. Her most recent gig? Serving as Interactive Strategist at Wieden + Kennedy.
“I love technology and how companies communicate with their community,” said James. “Getting to really dig deep and find a place for that within such a new—and gorgeous—platform is really a dream come true. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime, follow-your-heart pursuit.”
Now, they’re joining forces to form a strategic iPhone agency.
Why an agency model instead of pure app development? Raven and James are both interested in helping people develop and interact with their communities. The iPhone platform is a means to that end—albeit an incredibly creative platform for doing so.
The agency will also likely build apps of their own—Andrew Pouliot and Jonathan Wight, the lead dev on the Obama app, help round out the team—but it’s the strategy on which they will focus the majority of their time and effort.
Not only is this big for all of them, it’s big for Portland and its continued place in the mobile space.
“I think it’s a great fit for Portland because of the long history of creative services and technology,” said Raven. “We’re focusing on both. It’s really more of an agency than a development shop. But it’s really a small, small boutique agency.”
“I think you can be creative and strategic and develop well,” James said. “It’s a uniquely Portland thing.”
So what’s it called? Well, they don’t know yet. But you can find them at Raven.me.
“Maybe instead of Raven.me [Raven’s current consultancy], we can call it Raven.us?” said James.
At the very least, Todd gets his wish.