Today is my last day as the CEO of Wunderman Thompson Mobile. It was a journey that began on paper in 2001 when I dropped my pursuits of a Computer Science degree1 and obtained a DBA for Xcellent Creations. Later (2008) I would incorporate as Xcellent Creations Inc. and grow the organization to ~20 before merging the company with Double Encore taking over as CEO. Double Encore was acquired by WPP in 2014 whereby we rebranded as POSSIBLE Mobile which today through a series of consolidations at WPP is now called Wunderman Thompson Mobile. At the start of 2018, I realized it was time to find the next adventure and worked throughout the year on a transition plan. I’m very excited that Ted Ismert will be taking over the lead spot of such an amazing organization.
It took a while for me to find my way. I started off offering the services of an ISP (domains, hosting, websites) to the specialized service of mobile application development starting on iOS expanding to Android, tvOS, watchOS, Android TV, and Roku. Clients I had the honor to work with included Turner Sports, Major League Baseball, Pokémon, the PGA TOUR, JetBlue Airlines, and Major League Soccer to name a few.
I have so much gratitude for the team members, customers, partners, and platforms that I was able to be part of. Special thanks to my best friend, wife, and co-founder Danielle. Also to Eric Daugherty my work wife and Jay Graves the best CTO/friend you could ever have.
There is no way to rehash all the stories here (maybe I’ll write a book someday) but I would be remiss to not reminisce on some of my earliest memories getting into the business of mobile app development.
June 24, 2007 The weekend before the iPhone launched I had a drive to build something for the new platform. There was no App Store so in about 5 hours on a Sunday I built a simple web app that would test the download speed of your device in a browser, iPhone Network Test. The first day of iPhone availability over 10,000 people used the web app. I decided it was time to actually buy one of them, I splurged on the 4GB version.
The test worked but the UI was all messed up. Apple eventually requested that I change the name removing the word ‘iPhone’ so I went with iNetwork Test.
July 8, 2008 Walt Mossberg wrote up his review of the new iPhone 3G. I was struggling to get my app through review going back and forth with Apple Engineers so I was elated to see that the web app version of iNetwork Test was used to showcase the increased speed of the new device. I was able to exchange a few emails and meet Walt at CES in 2011. Walt never cared for my native app, preferring the simplicity of my web app :).
July 14, 2008 the native iNetwork Test launched on the App Store. It was one of the first 100 or so apps to launch on the platform. I would update it often as the App Store used to have a view that showed the most recently updated Apps. It eventually peaked at 22 on the top 100 US Apps.
August 2, 2008 iPhoneDevCamp Colorado took place at the ID345 co-working space. In attendance were individuals who now work at Apple, founded companies in the space, worked on software for fortune 500 companies, and so much more. That day I met some of my best friends and allies in the industry. I met Dan Burcaw that day, CEO and founder of Double Encore. Little did I know we’d be merging the companies 5 years later. Although I didn’t meet him that day Jay Graves was also in attendance, CTO of Double Encore. Lindsay Giachetti, Andrew Hyde, Matt Matteson, Joe Pezzillo, Heather Capri, Tom Harrington, Brent Simmons, Marcus Zarra, Dave Batton, Julio Barros, Brian Erickson, Kendall Gelner, Bill Dudney, Micah Baldwin, and Daniel Newman to name a few of the other attendees.
September 25, 2008 kicked off C4. The conference was great, in particular Craig Hockenberry’s opening talk, but what I remember most was sitting with Rich Siegel and John Gruber having a drink before the first evening. The main topic of conversation was pricing of apps with John adamant that I should have charged more than .99 for my app. I don’t know if all of the early apps charging more would have changed much, but the .99 app was definitely not what I built the business on as overtime I pivoted all app work to client services dropping development of our own apps.
And I haven’t even gotten out of 2008… Much more to write but wanted to get a couple of these down.
It’s been quite a ride. At the final holiday party for the company I was presented with this infographic by the team. SO. MUCH. GRATITUDE.
I did however complete my BA in Psychology! ↩