Back from Mars

As I write this I'm flying home from New York City where we (Palm) threw an event known as the webOS Developer Day NYC. Really, we should have called it a party, due to the extreme fun and exhaustion we all experienced. But this post isn't really about the event, it's about the webOS developer community.

I feel very lucky to work on a platform with such a willing and open community around it. It reminds me of my earlier days in the Java world. Lots of people, young and old, some developers, some designers, and some just curious. All of them brought together by their passion for webOS and a desire to share that passion with others.

Though the event was a success and an improvement over the last one by every metric: attendance, location, food, bowling (yes awesome bowling!), I always worry it's not enough. Was the content good enough? Did we have a well rounded schedule? Would I have technical gaffs that would embarrass me? Fortunately, everyone was gracious enough to overlook my laptop meltdown on the first day.

Doing what we do is hard. Not only are we in the rocky early days of a growing industry, but we have been competing with companies many times the size of Palm. Building and testing a new OS, combined with the immense amount of work ahead of us, it can be truly exhausting.

Perhaps more importantly, having worked on many passionate products over the years, I know how it's very easy to become too emotionally involved with a product. I think this is true of many developers. We live and die by every product review, every negative FaceBook comment, and every metric that doesn't live up to our tough standards. It's hard and exhausting work, but one thing makes it worth it. The community.

Spending just 48 hours with our passionate webOS community has reenergized me. I saw a developer dive into his new Pre 2. I heard from people new to the platform describe the cool apps they want to build. I spoke to a proud dad who brought his 14 year old son from Michigan to meet up with fellow developers. If this isn't a rich and rewarding community, I don't know what is.

I still know we've got a lot of work ahead of us, but knowing the community is behind us makes me feel great about our ambitious roadmap for the next year. Thank you webOS community. We really appreciate what you do for us.

Talk to me about it on Twitter

Posted November 21st, 2010

Tagged: webos