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Meet Walmart Labs: Portland’s Latest Mobile Powerhouse

334 NW 11th Avenue
Portland, OR 97209, US (map)

Access Notes

Front door on 11th; venues may have access through large garage door on Flanders



Please RSVP at http://mobileportland.com/events/walmart-labs

The news that Walmart had acquired local iOS development agency Small Society surprised many people. Twitter was abuzz with questions like:

  • Walmart has an office in Portland?
  • Why did Walmart Labs decide to locate an office in Portland?
  • What is Walmart Labs and what does it do?
  • Why did Small Society decide to join Walmart Labs?

For those familiar with Ben Galbraith and Dion Almaer, these aren’t new questions. After many years working for companies like Mozilla and Palm and starting the popular Ajaxian blog, Ben and Dion finally struck out on their own and created a company called SetDirection.

The company operated in stealth mode making many curious what Ben and Dion where working on. But within a few months, Ben and Dion announced the SetDirection had been acquired by Walmart and that they were going to lead Walmart’s mobile efforts.

Something’s up at Walmart Labs. Well-respected mobile professionals keep announcing that their careers have taken a surprising turn. It is clear that Walmart Labs has been assembling a fantastic team—many members of which call our fair city home.

Join us at Mobile Portland where we will hear from Ben and Dion what Walmart Labs does, what excited them about the opportunity, and why they chose Portland. Then Raven Zachary and James Keller, formerly co-founders of Small Society, will join Ben and Dion and talk about their decision to sell Small Society and join the Walmart Labs team.

Doors open for networking at 5:30. Meeting starts at 6 pm.

About the Speakers

Dion Almaer, VP Mobile Architecture, Walmart.com

Dion Almaer is a technologist who loves to code and build. He and his long time partner-in-crime Ben Galbraith recently brought their team to Walmart to power the mobile engineering efforts. He enjoys sharing his passion for software production across various communities, including a new property called FunctionSource.com.

Dion has been writing Web applications since it took over from Gopher. He has been fortunate enough to speak around the world, has published many articles, a book, and of course covers life the universe and everything on his blog at almaer.com/blog.

He has been called a human aggregator, and you can see that in full force if you follow him on Twitter @dalmaer.

Ben Galbraith, Vice-President, Mobile Engineering, Walmart.com

Ben Galbraith, together with his long-time friend Dion Almaer, forms one-half of the dynamic "Ben and Dion" duo that founded Ajaxian.com, headed Developer Tools at Mozilla, ran Developer Relations at Palm and is now running mobile architecture and engineering at Walmart.com after being acquired along with their start-up team in early 2011.

Ben's been writing code since he was six and starting businesses since he was ten; he's written books, given hundreds of award-winning presentations world-wide, produced a few technical conferences, sold three companies, and has held CEO, CIO, CTO, and Software Architect positions in the medical, publishing, media, consumer electronics, advertising, software and internet industries. He lives in Palo Alto with his wife and five children and blogs at FunctionSource.com.

James Keller, Walmart.com

James Keller is a digital communications strategist and user experience evangelist at Small Society, a small agency based in Portland with a passion for the iPhone™ platform, dedicated to helping organizations bring great ideas to life. Before joining the Small Society team, James was at Wieden+Kennedy helping the Portland office align client business goals and brand experiences with emerging technologies.

Leveraging her extensive knowledge of interaction design, business analysis, campaign analytics, and integrated marketing communications, she has led multiple teams in creating efficient and effective online strategies for top brands such as Coca-Cola, NIKE, Procter & Gamble, Levi’s, LAIKA Studio, Zipcar, and the MTV Networks. She can frequently be seen at conferences speaking on topics such as information architecture, social media, and convergent culture.

Raven Zachary, Walmart.com

Raven Zachary is President of Small Society, working with big brands, established companies, investors, and startups on iPhone strategy and product development. Raven directed the Obama '08 for iPhone application for the Obama Campaign, and has worked with companies such as Whole Foods Market, Zipcar, CLIF BAR, and Air New Zealand on iPhone application initiatives. He is the founder of iPhoneDevCamp, a not-for-profit iPhone developer conference. Raven is also a Contributing Analyst with The 451 Group, an IT industry analyst firm and works closely with O'Reilly Media on iPhone and mobile technology related events and coverage. He is regularly quoted by the press about the iPhone market and is a frequent conference speaker on the topic.