A passionate community beyond comparison...
Let me start by saying I think the Palm webOS community is nothing short of amazing. They have hung in there through thick & thin. They are rabid supporters of the company they love. They’re evangelists, they’re fans, they’re critics, and they help make Palm a better company.
Case in point: @releasemypre. This guy is using humor to deal with a very sore point that the Palm webOS community has been facing for awhile now. I think it’s pretty cool that he can poke fun at a serious situation yet get people to rally behind an idea to make our product experience better.
I know *exactly* where the community is coming from, I've been there. I once was the head of a company that had an amazing community that helped build our brand. They kept us honest, and they helped us create a better experience for our customers. If not for them we would never have reached the level we did. I am a big advocate of community, and when I first engaged the webOS community prior to the deal with HP being final I was taken back by how devoted they are.
Yesterday was a little rough for me because people kept asking when the next webOS product announcement would be. Someone asked me if there would be an announcement next week, and I said "... don't expect anything soon, please stop asking ‘when’ --- I would rather be straight with you. these things take time...." I was responding to a question about the immediate future, but many of my Twitter followers didn’t see the full context.
You will certainly see products released over the next 12 months, some sooner than others, and some which are very exciting to me. The stuff that excites me the most are the new form factors. Now, when I said "over the next 12 months," I really mean over the next 12 months. Not at the end of 12 months, not tomorrow...but over the next 12 months we will see the makings of a new portfolio and the beginning of something great again. There is no predefined window of opportunity in the technology business; lack of innovation is the only thing that closes the window.
There are challenges when you bring together two companies with distinct cultures. Palm was once a much smaller company with less access to resources than HP. HP, on the other hand is large: that's the understatement of the year. We know the good that "large" can bring, and we also know the challenges that come with it.
There are great things to come that fit multiple types of consumers. Over time you will see the community grow. You will see app developers flock to HP as they jockey for position in the catalog. All of this may sound like a dream but it’s completely attainable.
I'm confident that even the defectors of the webOS community will be back once they see the breadth of product coming out of HP in the future.
I know it's hard to judge someone’s tone from a tweet. I started this blog by saying I’m a big advocate of community, and part of being an advocate is making sure the people that are evangelizing your company remain evangelists for years to come. It also means being open and honest with you. After yesterdays storm I understand how touchy the subject of “new hardware” is with the community. That said, I had no intentions of opening up old wounds.
Visiting the mothership
I met a number of great people including leads in hardware, software, developer relations, communications and PR. I had a one hour meeting with Ruby as well. It was a good trip overall.
When I walked into building three (referred to as the wart away from everything else) memories of my past came back immediately. This is the team that creates webOS, and they're quite a passionate group of people. I was really impressed with them, the stuff they’re working on is really cool. The culture is awesome, it’s a dream job for any software developer or interface designer.
While you may have read rumors on the Internet about people leaving the company, what you haven't read is how things are being recharged and re-energized for the better. I was there, I’ve seen it first hand. Things are settling down now, and while challenges still remain, people are focused on the future.
So what’s next?
I’m still looking at ways that I can personally add value to the organization. My history in the gaming industry fits in well, as does my experience in roadmap design, strategy, and communications. Nothing is official, however, so I will continue to help wherever I can.
Developers: get on board!
One of the early successes of webOS has been the development of the PDK. I love how dialed it is. The ease in which developers can port their games over to webOS is impressive.
If you’re a game developer with a title on another mobile operating system, you should think about planting a money tree in your yard by spending a couple of days porting your game(s) over to webOS for some additional gravy. Use it as a bonus for your staff -- how appreciative would they be? You’ll also have a chance to win additional money from Palm in the Palm Hot Apps contest that’s currently running. I am certain it won’t cost you any additional cycles to make it a reality. (Rovio ported Angry Birds in less than a couple of days to webOS and it became the top selling app within a week!)
Oh by the way, both AT&T and Verizon just pushed 1.4.5 over last night. What this means to developers is another base of our customers can order your games and play them now!
Once again I will summarize what I said above;
- HP Palm is working on both smartphones and other web-connected devices.
- HP Palm is committed to delivering webOS on a wide range of devices.
- I don’t believe the “window of opportunity” ever really closes in this business. As long as there’s innovation, there’s always a window in.
- If you’re a developer, why not take a day to port your game over to Palm for some additional gravy and a chance to win some big cash?
- Verizon & AT&T 1.4.5 FTW!
- Until a press release is issued, we can’t talk about it.
- Stay tuned, and thanks for the patience and support...and thanks for keeping the candle lit!