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|Articles - March 2010|
|Thursday, February 25, 2010|
Follow-up: August 2009 feature, "Kickin' apps"
Remember reading about the casual coder who wrote an app for the iPhone in his spare time and ended up making a killing? Well, the early days of the App Store gold rush are over, according to Raven Zachary, founder of Portland-based iPhone development shop Small Society. “The idealism of quitting your day job and making a million dollars, that was not grounded in reality,” he says.
Except that’s basically what happened to him. Out of love for the iPhone, Zachary quit his job as a tech analyst to consult on app development. But after collaborating on the highly visible Obama campaign app, he found himself with more work than he could handle. He realized that the money was not in writing your own killer app and reaping profits from the App Store, but in building apps for other people who want to get in on the action.
So far Small Society, born just over one year ago, has built apps for Starbucks, Zipcar, Whole Foods Market and other big- name companies. Small Society has had two apps featured on stage at official Apple events and three apps featured in Apple commercials. Zachary says Small Society was the first iPhone development company in Oregon to hit a million dollars in revenue. All Zachary’s clients approach him first; Small Society gets enough referrals that they have to turn many down.
Zachary attributes Small Society’s success to its early advantage and commitment to quality work. But now the “absurdly hot iPhone dev shop,” as it was dubbed by the leading tech blog ReadWriteWeb, is faced with the challenge of controlling its own growth. The dangers of being absurdly hot are one, you could cool down; and two, you could explode. Small Society has done neither, opting for “slow growth” — which in the rapidly moving mobile industry means it has doubled its size in a year to eight employees and is hiring for two more positions.
“There are two long-term models. Stay small, be high-profile with a waiting list, take clients at the rate we want to take things, and be the masters of balancing our work and our personal lives. That’s the Portland model of doing things,” Zachary says. “Or, you sprint like mad and build an empire.”
Small Society seems on track to stay small, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t sprinting like mad. With the unveiling of Apple’s new tablet computer, the iPad, Small Society’s momentum seems unlikely to slow. The iPad opens up the opportunity to tweak iPhone apps for past clients for the new device, as well as develop for new clients who have iPad-specific ideas. “We’re a little bit hitched to Apple’s innovation wagon, which is a beautifully fun place to be,” says James Keller, one of Small Society’s founding members.
This is an office of Mac and iPhone geeks, which means there are no plans to start developing for non-Apple mobile devices. Once the iPad clamor dies down, the next wave of demand will come from companies that want to redesign apps they did cheaply and quickly when iPhone apps first got trendy, just as website redesigns were popular in the ’90s. Zachary hopes to continue working with clients to update their apps as Apple comes out with new upgrades, such as the new iPhone that’s coming this summer.
But eventually, the Small Society crew hopes to start building their own ideas for killer apps.
Monday, August 18, 2014
Portland is in the middle of another construction boom, with residential and office projects springing up downtown, in the Pearl and Old Town. OB Web Editor Jessica Ridgway documents the new wave.
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
Scott Kveton, the CEO of Urban Airship is taking a leave of absence from the company. As the story continues to unfold, here’s our perspective on a few of the key players.
Monday, July 07, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
Named after the 2010 experiment by Thomas Ryan, "Robin Sages" are fake social media profiles designed to encourage linking and divulging valuable information.
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY | OB WEB EDITOR
Dress for Success Oregon promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools.
Monday, July 14, 2014
BY TERRY "STARBUCKER" ST. MARIE
I really didn’t know that much about angel investing, but I did know a lot about the entrepreneurial spirit.
Monday, June 30, 2014
Oregon Business magazine won two silver awards for excellence in writing in the National American Society of Business Publication Editors Western region competition.
Friday, July 18, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
Back in May, we shared a common Wall Street quote about investing, “Sell in May and go away.” Fast forward to July and the most common question we have been getting from clients is, “When is the market pullback going to occur?”
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