WebIS was founded in June of 1997 – its been 17 years. Wow.

I have been going to meetings hosted by partners for developers since 2001. It started off with Handango who was one of the biggest app stores during that time, then became Microsoft, and then Apple through WWDC. Throughout the years I got to know a lot of developers – some were competitors and some just became great friends like Stan at Phatware, John from DeveloperOne, a bunch of friends from IliumSoft including Ellen and Marc, Amit from SBSH, and many more. Throughout those years I saw a lot of people thrive, but as the years went by I start to see fewer and fewer of those same people. Now business fluctuates and things changes – its part of how things work, but in recent years I’ve seen the rise of what I like to call the “rock stars”.

I don’t call them that because they are so great or their apps are fantastic; I call them that because whenever I see them they have all the negative virtues of  rock stars: arrogance, selfishness, and pride. Some are very successful, but they all act as if God has given them “the way” of doing things and everyone must look upon them impressed. Customers should be grateful that they exist and write software, when they feel like it. It really irritates me (can you tell?)

The people that I saw growing this business were guys and gals who loved what they did, who had strong opinions, who listened to customers and really paid attention to their market. They also mostly were family-oriented, participated in their communities, and we’re fun to be around.

As I visited San Francisco this week I saw fewer and fewer of the friends that I have known over the years as the recession has worn most of them or they just failed to keep up with the ebb and flow of technology, design, and customer needs. Some of the independents that I’ve known now work for major corporations or are just tired.
Like America’s politics that have become more angry and partisan I see less and less of a polite society when it comes to the developer, media, and the people who inhabit this space. Us old timers (and believe me I never thought of myself as an old-timer) are  becoming rarer. I still feel like a 20-year-old man at heart but realize that at 37 I no longer am a young man. My company has been around for 17 years now – 14 of those years developing for mobile. I’m thankful for the fact that we’re still around and I’m hopeful that we’ll continue to be for many more years to come. I’ve got a lot of exciting ideas, and a lot of things that I want to do.