Cloud Four Blog

Technical notes, War stories and anecdotes

Responsive Field Day Portland!

For the last two years, I’ve devoured the podcasts from Responsive Day Out—the conference that Jeremy Keith and Clearleft put on across the pond in Brighton.

I’ve encouraged anyone who would listen to subscribe to the podcast. It is my favorite conference that I’ve never been to.

That’s why I’m so thrilled to announce that we’re bringing the Responsive Day Out format to Portland!

Responsive Field Day

We’re calling it Responsive Field Day. It is a one-day conference on responsive design. It will take place on September 25 at Revolution Hall.

We plan to continue the spirit of the Brighton event where Jeremy famously said that “every expense has been spared.” So you can be certain the event will be affordable and inclusive.

Lyza, Aileen and I are traveling to Brighton for Responsive Day Out 3: The Final Breakpoint to watch the masters and learn how to make Responsive Field Day a success.

We’ve already got some fantastic speakers lined up. We’re not ready to announce the lineup yet though, so you’ll have to trust us when we say, “OMG! OMG! I can’t believe they said yes!

So mark September 25th on your calendar and start planning your trip to Portland. Sign up for email or follow us on Twitter to receive updates when the speakers are announced and tickets go on sale.

Finally, thanks so much to Jeremy and Clearleft for inspiring us and sharing what they’ve learned.

The End of Mobile Portland

In December 2007, Lyza, Aileen, John and I decided to start Mobile Portland so we would have place to talk about mobile.

After eight years, Mobile Portland is coming to an end. Tonight is the final meeting.

Over the years we’ve had some amazing speakers and topics. I’m proud of the quality of the talks and the community we built.

We also inadvertently started a worldwide open device lab movement. It’s been amazing to see device labs spread and know they started in Portland.

I’d like to thank everyone who attended a meeting and those who helped out in any way. Every small contribution lifted a huge burden off the shoulders of frantic organizers.

I want to extend a special thank you to my co-founders at Cloud Four for helping get Mobile Portland off the ground and funding it; Matt Gifford for organizing so many meetings; Seth Shikora for recording nearly every meeting we’ve held; and to Elia Freedman, Dylan Boyd and Rob Mills for being the best board members I could have asked for.

Tonight’s meeting

But before Mobile Portland rides off into the sunset, we have one final meeting tonight, and it is going to be the best one yet!

I can’t think of a better speaker and a more fitting topic than Josh Clark talking about Magical UX and the Internet of Things. This is the next frontier of technology and mobile plays a bit part in it.

This will also be our largest meeting ever. We’ve had to create a waitlist for the first time so if you’ve already RSVP’d and are unable to make it tonight, please update your RSVP so people on the waitlist can attend.

What’s next?

Since we announced the end of Mobile Portland, people keep asking me two questions. First, “Why end Mobile Portland when there is still a lot of interest?”

Because eight years is a long time to do anything and instead of the group gradually winding down and losing relevance, we made the decision to go out on top.

The second, inevitable question is, “What’s next?”

I’m pleased to say that I can finally answer that question. Let me tell you about Responsive Field Day.

You have an idea for an app? Come to Mobile Portland on Monday to learn what it takes.

Out of all the conversations I’ve had with individuals who have had ideas for apps, the one I had with Miloš Jovanović stands out the most. That’s why I’m so pleased he is going to be telling his tale at Mobile Portland on Monday.

Most of the conversations about app ideas have similar characteristics. Someone has an idea for an app. They think it will be a hit. They don’t have the technical abilities to build the app. They don’t know what it will cost. And they’re trying to figure out how to make the app a reality. So they ask me for advice.

I start by sharing some articles that I’ve found that describe how much app development costs.1 We’ll talk about how it isn’t enough to simply build an app. You need to have a business plan. That you need recurring revenue to maintain the app. What happens if you build it and they don’t come?

And that is often the last I see of the individual. The app never gets created. I always feel bad to see their ideas die, but simply having an idea isn’t enough to be successful.

Screenshot of SpaceView appMiloš was different from the beginning. Yes, he had an idea for an app, but he set himself apart in our first meeting by demonstrating how much research he had already done. He had domain expertise. He wanted to learn everything there was about how to build an app and a business.

He had even gone so far as to hire someone to build a crude, throwaway application just so he could see what the process was like.

And Miloš didn’t just distinguish himself during our meeting. He has shown perseverance in his pursuit of his vision like no other person I have met. He has been working on making his vision a reality for two years now.

There are many points where it would have been easy to give up. And even now, I don’t know if SpaceView, that app that Miloš is building, will be successful.

What I have no doubt about is that Miloš will be successful in whatever he does.

And I now have a simple answer when someone asked me what it takes to build an app: you need to be as persistent and dogged in pursuit of your vision as Miloš has been.

If you have an idea for an app and you’re wondering what it takes to build one, I highly encourage you to come listen to Miloš on Monday at Mobile Portland. It’s not to be missed.2

  1. In case you’re curious, here are the articles that I’ve found do a good job of describing how much it costs to build an app.

  2. I realized as I wrote those words how sad I was that I’m going to miss the meeting. I’m going to be in Boston speaking at An Event Apart. I’m always sad when I miss Mobile Portland, but this month is a double whammy. I’m not only missing Miloš, but I’m missing out on an opportunity to see Urban Airship’s new offices. :-(

Welcoming Tyler Sticka to Cloud Four

We’re pleased to announce that Tyler Sticka is joining Cloud Four today.

Tyler is someone whose work I have long admired. His portfolio speaks for itself. He has designed games, created illustrations, guided projects, and teaches a course on web standards.

Most importantly, he is passionate about the web and pushing the boundaries of what it can do. I think he will fit in nicely. :-)

On an unrelated note, when I started to write this post, I searched to see what I had written when Matt Gifford joined Cloud Four back in 2011. I realized that we had been remiss and had forgotten to write something back then.

So in hopes that it is not too late to remedy that oversight, I wanted to belatedly say that like Tyler, Matt was someone we knew and admired from his role in the tech community. Not only has he become a critical member of our team building complex JavaScript applications, but he has stepped up as the primary organizer of Mobile Portland’s monthly meetings.

The best thing about starting Cloud Four has been the opportunity to work with an amazing team. I feel truly privileged to get to work with some of the smartest people I know.

Amazon at Mobile Portland on Monday

AmazonAlmost every month we have great topics and speakers at Mobile Portland, but every so often a meeting comes along that I personally cannot wait to see. This coming Monday, November 12th, we have Amazon here to talk about the Kindle Appstore, and I’m estactic.

Basically, Monday’s meeting is a big freaking deal. Put it on your calendar and RSVP.

Why am I so excited about this meeting?

First, there is the simple matter that I feel many of us have a blind spot to the Kindle Appstore. It’s Android apps, but not Google Play. While the Kindle Fire has sold well, it isn’t as clear to me how many people are buying apps on that platform.

Basically, I’ve got a nagging suspicion that we should be paying closer attention to the Kindle platform and that Amazon represents a really interesting competitor to Apple, Google and Microsoft. But that on a day-to-day basis, it can be easy to forget or to simply treat it as an after thought to Android development.

So I’m keenly interested in learning more about what Amazon is doing and what opportunities looks like. I want to learn more about what Amazon can do for developers and entrepreneurs that other platforms don’t. I want to understand how to maximize our potential on the Amazon Kindle platform.

We’ve got a great speaker

Aaron RubensonThat would be enough, but we’ve got some other amazing things happening this month. First, our speaker is top notch. Aaron Rubenson is in charge of the Amazon Appstore for Android. This is a testament to how much Mobile Portland has grown that Amazon is sending down a senior member of the team just to speak to the group.

I’ve also heard from members of our community that Aaron is an exceptional speaker. His talk entitled Monetization Trends for Mobile Games is available on YouTube if you want a sneak peek.

New location and catered event

We’re also in a great space this month. Ziba Design has graciously offered to host the event and is providing beverages. They have a beautiful auditorium that they designed themselves including an innovative seat design that you have to see. It is truly something to behold. And if you like the space, they’re hiring right now. :-)

We also have MetroMile sponsoring catering for the event. MetroMile is new type of insurance that rewards people who drive less. So the idea is pretty cool, but what’s more interesting to me is that they’ve got some technology for tracking miles you’ve driven that connects to your phone. How they do it? I don’t know. I’m really curious to find out.

This is a meeting you don’t want to miss

Seriously, this meeting is going to be a big deal. Hell, we’ve even got professional event staff this month. Big times I tell ya!

You’re not going to want to miss it. Make sure to RVSP today.