Ben Galbraith and Dion Almaer leave Palm | webOS Nation
 
 

Ben Galbraith and Dion Almaer leave Palm 84

by Dieter Bohn Fri, 22 Oct 2010 8:04 pm EDT

 

The dynamic duo of Ben Galbraith and Dion Almaer, who have spearheaded webOS evangelism, web-standards-based app development, and probably done quite a bit to drive the webOS platform towards better integration with HTML5 technologies have announced they're leaving Palm:

it’s with mixed emotions that we share that we have decided to leave employment at HP. It’s been a singular experience being part of the Palm webOS story up to now and we’re confident that the new resources HP brings will take the developer program to the next level.

We are happy to share that we will continue to work with HP as consultants and we look forward to being an active part of the webOS developer community

It's not clear from the posting on the Palm Developer blog what led to the decision, but it's hard not to read this as a blow to the webOS platform. The guys who have been the face of webOS development and the best-known personalities championing the platform's development have left the company a mere year-and-a-month after they came on board.

In leaving HP, Ben and Dion follow what feels like nearly the entire brain trust behind webOS, from Matias Duarte to Rich Dellinger to Mike Abbott to Mike Bell to Jeff Finkelstein to the bevy of people who left for Nokia, including Peter Skillman.

No word yet what the two plan next. We hope they stay true to their promise to stay an active part of the webOS developer community, cause, sniffle, we'll miss those guys. (Update: they'll be at Palm Developer Day in NYC next month)

Update: Ben Galbraith adds thoughts on his personal blog, as does Dion Almaer. Looks like the two will be starting their own company focusing on consulting with companies on software development - naturally with a focus on HTML5 tech. We have heard that their first client will be none other than HP.

Update 2: Dion Almaer chimes in in our comments:

Hi guys,

It has been an honor to be the voice of developers within Palm, and we look forward to continuing the fun from the outside, and trying to influence on the inside as consultants.

People like to make a big deal out of departures, but we are but two guys. With HP, Palm has a ton of resources now, and we can look to them to deliver some fantastic hardware and software that gets the community excited. I look forward to that.

Cheers,

Dion

Update 3: Lots of comments, so forgive us for missing Ben Galbraith's response in there as well:

Hey gang!

I'm getting an inflated ego reading about how important our departures seem. In all seriousness, thanks so much for all the support you guys have given us during our time at Palm and for the passion you bring to the community.

As Dion mentions in his comment on the thread, the Facebook app will continue unabated. While he and I coded a ton in the initial release, since then Kevin Decker has stepped up as the lead developer and our contributions have been in the design of the app. And don't worry, as consultants, we'll continue to contribute in that role.

In terms of the future of HP webOS, it's in good hands. I can say with no exaggeration that the leadership of the developer / app ecosystem at HP is in the hands of one of the most talented and impressive executives I've ever met in my life. The team we've worked with is fantastic as any of you who have joined our developer program will know. And we will continue to contribute to the direction of the platform moving forward.

So in sum, things are moving forward unabated and we're still around. The best is yet to come.

Warm regards,

Ben Galbraith
(Still) Director of Developer Relations at Palm (until 5 pm)

 

Source: Palm Developer Blog

84 Comments

Bummer...

To cover the loss we should hire Andy Rubin

Come on guys, read between the lines there..
They said we would still be working with HP as consultants.

There's more freedom and better pay that way. Nothing else to it. Business people. Come on. They will still be doing stuff we'll enjoy and they'll make more money for it. Win win for both sides. (us and them)

ARHHHHHHHHHHH!! That sux.... :(

Ok, this one seems like a bad one. Worst them many of the other departures IMO.

+1. They made it past the merger, unlike so many others, so I wonder what the trigger was now that wasn't there at the merger. Not good. I've been a Palm fan for a long time and I'm really hanging on here but this one hurts. I was hanging by three threads and now its only one thread (CES).

HP appears to be fixing parts of Palm that were not broken. The parts that were broken or flawed were marketing and hardware engineering. We know that Palm had already changed their marketing approach before the HP purchase. I would imagine that the company also learned a lesson from the Pre's flaws, and could make use of HP's team of engineers. But, pushing out the innovators of webos is not a good signal to those of us who have been patient. Why did HP buy Palm?

it seems like palm is going down slowly.If they would have put out a better phone this wouldn't have happened.

Really? You blame this on the Pre 2? That is a stretch.

No I Blame it on the first pre.I have a pre and it's so many things that should have been standard on/in it's OS.Things I shouldn't have to install a patch to do.Now with this release of the pre 2 which should have been the pre 1 minus 2.0 in the first place.

wow this is not good at all.

This is just friggin great. More evidence for my Android friend's statement that "webOS is a dead platform." What the hell is HP doing to piss off all the OG Palm employees?

is all good palm is on good hands HP will take palm to the future whatever future that will be withouth the creators of webOS

Why must there *always* be bad news to tarnish all the good webOS news? Just once I want an entire week of nothing but unicorns and rainbows like certain phones with fruit on them seem to enjoy all year.

+infinity+1

Oh man, that really sucks. I've spoken with Dion multiple times, and he's really good at everything he does.

So, um, what of the Facebook app now?

Thanks Zhephree!

Kevin Decker is the lead engineer on the Facebook app. He is amazing. The new performance work in 1.4 was his doing (rewrote the list!).

You are in very good hands indeed!

Cheers,

Dion

Good to know! Thanks for all you did to help get foursquare out the door quickly almost a year ago!

All I can say is WOW this is not good.

Ouch. Through a lot of the other departures, I thought "Well, at least they still have the developer guys like Ben and Dion."

Who's gonna update the Facebook app? Seriously it's sad to see them go. They seemed to have a lot of passion for this little OS. Best of luck on whatever you two do.

It doesn't seem like "Palm is going down". It seems like it's being absorbed into HP just like Palmsource was absorbed into Access. But if you like the technology, really, why should you care about the name of the company? Why should you buy something else you don't like as much because you're afraid to buy what you like?

I know people still using old Treos that are 5 years old. It's not going to hurt you to buy what you want...because even if you bought that new iPhone or Droid, you'll probably still have to re-buy all your old apps again when you trade in for the next flashy new phone to come out.

I don't think people worry about what's in their pocket now, but what they will be able to buy in the next 2 or 3 years. The names of these guys do not matter, but the knowledge and vision they carry matter. It feels HP is turning Palm to a different direction than what WebOS was originally designed for. Whether's that's Palm Pad or printer, I don't know.

I agree with most of the others, this one hurts a lot more than the executives.

Absolute devastation, absolutely.

They'll be missed... Best of luck to them in their future endeavors...

during the last developer podcast video, I felt like something was different... This explains it...

Wow the others that left didnt bother me for some reason............ but this loss isnt settling so well. These guys must be getting good job offers or things are really different at Palm.

*now* I'm worried...

You are right, at Palm they had more freedom

If I was to guess, this is because HP has been asking them to stop their side projects and giving them less creative freedom. I don't know you anyone else noticed this but as soon as HP took over they stopped running Ajaxian.com. Big enterprise companies like to consider you and what you do in your life as intellectual property.

It bugs me whenever someone leaves Palm and people start talking about Palm going downhill. Those kinds of statements must really be insulting to whoever succeeds the person leaving because it implies that there's no way they can contribute as much (or more) than their predecessor.

*now* I'm worried...

This could be the second wave. People who were willing to stick it out past the merger to see what the acquisition by HP would bring. They might be disappointed in what they were seeing. Big companies work a lot differently than small companies. The "feel" is very different. The idealism that permeates a small company was squeezed out of HP by Mark Hurd and it's not coming back quickly even though he's gone.

To those asking about who would update the Facebook app, don't worry about that. I don't think they were even involved much after the first big rewrite. The lead developer is a guy called Kevin Decker if my memory serves me correctly. I spoke with him via email regarding a bug I helped him and his team track down. Justin Reid is also involved in the development... It seems to me Justin and Kevin took the reins on the Facebook app some time ago and Ben and Dion only did the first rewrite to familiarise themselves with app development on webOS.

Sad story. Whatever project these two find themselves on will be lucky to have them.

I'm sure the Facebook app will now be stuck at 1.4 until the end of time.

edit: I will accept StevenX's above explanation until the booze takes hold.

The Facebook app continues to be worked on by Kevin Decker who is amazing. There are great things to come from the Facebook app. You are truly in good hands.... no worries there at all!

Having heard them speak at the recent Javascript Meetup, I'm saddened but not surprised. The two are incredibly devoted to pushing the edge of Web app development, and so creative that they would be better off charting their own course.

At the same time, given the culture at Palm (and the fact that HP has not stifled it), I'm also not surprised that they will remain in close touch with Palm. No other smartphone platform would better match their philsophies.

Best of success! {Jonathan}

Having heard them speak at the recent Javascript Meetup, I'm saddened but not surprised. The two are incredibly devoted to pushing the edge of Web app development, and so creative that they would be better off charting their own course.

At the same time, given the culture at Palm (and the fact that HP has not stifled it), I'm also not surprised that they will remain in close touch with Palm. No other smartphone platform would better match their philsophies.

Best of success! {Jonathan}

Hey gang!

I'm getting an inflated ego reading about how important our departures seem. In all seriousness, thanks so much for all the support you guys have given us during our time at Palm and for the passion you bring to the community.

As Dion mentions in his comment on the thread, the Facebook app will continue unabated. While he and I coded a ton in the initial release, since then Kevin Decker has stepped up as the lead developer and our contributions have been in the design of the app. And don't worry, as consultants, we'll continue to contribute in that role.

In terms of the future of HP webOS, it's in good hands. I can say with no exaggeration that the leadership of the developer / app ecosystem at HP is in the hands of one of the most talented and impressive executives I've ever met in my life. The team we've worked with is fantastic as any of you who have joined our developer program will know. And we will continue to contribute to the direction of the platform moving forward.

So in sum, things are moving forward unabated and we're still around. The best is yet to come.

Warm regards,

Ben Galbraith
(Still) Director of Developer Relations at Palm (until 5 pm)

Wishing you the best in your newest endeavors Ben & Dion!

"(Still) Director of Developer Relations at Palm (until 5 pm)"

I hope your emails had that in it's signature all day today. Great sign-off.

Best of luck to both of you.

You guys ROCK...I guess you can

I wouldn't be too worried guys. If you read thier blog postings it seems the move was more about personal philosophies than being unhappy at hpalm. They've always been open web evangelists and it seems they view app stores as a threat to the open web, and potentially bad for consumers and developers. Also it's a good sign they're staying on as Consultants.

This is not good news for HP or Palm.

With so many people leaving Palm lately, it's got me thinking there's a ton of bureaucracy/red tape happening and/or likely that certain things that were planned to happen for future devices might not be, or possibly changing direction. I've seen many executives frustrated and leave because of bad decisions being made around the table. There have been far too many key people leaving Palm lately to call this a coincidence.

I just can't see this is as good, and we'll likely see the repercussions a few months from now.

Bahhhhhhhhh we need to hire some big guns from Apple and Google. H/P please pay some people high salary and get them to come to Palm ASAP to fill this HUGE void.

did ben and dion really just post here??????????

Yup, it is us :)

You guys ROCK...I guess you can

My read on this is that HP is going to focus more on PDK apps, and move away from SDK. These two guys are HTML and Web experts and they joined Palm to make SDK better and easier to develop on. But for HP, it is probably more about how to turn out more apps. I would be kind of like Apple. Apple started with Web apps, but then today almost all apps are native apps. HP is heading to the same direction.

I think more PDK apps is good app store and I think that's the way to go for most of the apps. I think Palm did not target SDK for the right application. SDK should be more quick simple interface type of apps, like a bank app, Facebook, etc. Anything that only needs an more phone based interface, so user does not have to deal with URLs or web browsers. But SDK is not good for anything that does heavy processing or games. The little parachute game was fun, but that's not what HTML best at. Anyway, just my 2 cents.

Palm cant catch a break in the perception game. I saw a few of these guys podcasts and I still dont know what they did :)

Mmm WOW

wow i guess they really did just post here.

Hi guys,

It has been an honor to be the voice of developers within Palm, and we look forward to continuing the fun from the outside, and trying to influence on the inside as consultants.

People like to make a big deal out of departures, but we are but two guys. With HP, Palm has a ton of resource now, and we can look to them to deliver some fantastic hardware and software that gets the community excited. I look forward to that.

Cheers,

Dion

Ben & Dion,

Thanks for all the fish...er...I mean your enthusiasm and spirit as webOS evangelists. Ironically, I hope this will allow you to interact with us non-insiders ("outsiders" just does not sound correct) much more than in the past. This would be great for webOS, HPalm, and the community.

Best of Luck!

Who wants to miss out on that Mozilla stuff?

I cant beleive it you guys are like the best. Really this feels like such a blow, but i trust what you guys say. Thanks for posting and thanks for being apart of palm.

Dammit!!!

Ben and Dion:

I am not a developer by any means and I still watched every single one of your developer webcasts. You guys have an awesome presence that certainly got me pumped up about web technologies and WebOS whenever you guys started to speak.

Although I am sure you guys will be replaced with great people from HP, I really do not think the awesome fun dynamic that you brought to Palm can ever be replaced.

Thanks so much for everything you brought to WebOS. I am sure that without you guys and the integration of HTML5 and Advanced CSS, WebOS 2.0 would not have been as amazing as it is looking to be, and help to bring Palm back to relevancy.

"Who cares, these traitors weren't that important anyway. HP has 50 people ready to move into their positions!"

lol. those two were actually very annoying imo.
I'm glad they left.

totally! and dion always wore the same blue shirt...

Maybe he can get a new one (blue probably) now.

Speaking strictly from a business point of view, they were probably very well paid for being nothing more than cheerleaders for webOS.

NEXT!

next thing you now is rahul sood will be gone and ruby too

there's no more hope for webos now. I'm getting a epic 4g.

um, too much reading between the lines instead of reading the bottom line. They're gonna start their own business it seems, and to me and maybe some out there, it's a great thing. Heck, I would love to own my own business, plus dion directly addressed leaving the company. Once again, with all this whine, I will grab some cheese.

Ben & Dion: You are intelligent, dedicated, motivated, ebullient visionaries. May you reap the personal, professional and financial rewards of your talents in your future endeavors, and for our sake, may those endeavors include consulting services to HP in support of webOS development. We have you to thank in large part for the powerful and fun mobile platform that is webOS.

Hey, thank you very much, Eep. Frankly, it's a privilege to continue working with all of you in the community and with HP as we move into this next phase.

Ben & Dion: Will you be using iPhones or Android now?

Is that the best trolling you can do? Weak and unimaginative.

Man some of you guys have some crazy theories. How many guys were on the grassy knoll?

They're leaving to start a business. It's no indication that Palm or webOS is in trouble. Also, they're staying on as consultants for Palm at least for a little while, so they aren't totally gone.

Calm down, guys. There's still tons of awesome people working at Palm and awesome people working at HP.

DOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!


edit: and GLOOOOOOOOOM!!!!

This is a sad day for the webOS community. You can tell these guys really care about the webOS platform. I wonder what happened to cause them to leave the company.

Zhephree is right, and he is the perfect example of what developers and visionaries can do outside of HP, working with HP, and working for a *living*, to advance webOS for consumers like many of us. I hope Ben, Dion, Zhephree and all the other webOS developers, as well as HP, make a boatload. That will signify a bright future for webOS and the community it has spawned.

Thanks to the two of you for EVERYTHING!!!

But, is it time to start to panic NOW!?!?

We can no longer get away with "this happens when one company acquires another" crap. How many other key developers have left that we don't know about? My guess this is the reason why we heard nothing for so long ... Because evryone left.

And as for them saying nice things about HP? They are just to nice (and smart) to let their true felings show through.

And yet, development continues and accelerates each week. It's awe-inspiring, I know it is, because you'd not be here if the end were so close and and the future so bleak.

Guys, this is an example of the greatness of America. You establish a career, obtain a high level of expertise, then start your own gig consulting, etc.

I worked on political campaigns as a staffer, then spent 3yrs at the state Party (rising through the ranks), later moved on and started my own Political Consultant company that opens up a world of opportunities for me.

As an employee you are limited in salery and other things, but as a consultant the sky is the limit, plus you can have multiple clients paying the BIG bucks.

Good luck Ben & Dion. PS: I hope you guys DON'T share any expert advice, suggestions with the compitition....wink

Rats off a sinking ship...... oh messiah Palm Superphone - where are thou???

The beginning of the end of mankind.....

The sky is fallin because the dynamic duo left the building :)

its because stupid hp wants to get rid of the palm brand!!

Good luck Ben and Dion! May you succeed in you're new adventure.

Please don't mind some of the small minded people who come to this community either because they just want to annoy people with their irrelevant comment or they don't have a life. Both of you have done a great job in putting the word out there about the webOS. Continue to what you love and do best.

Personally, I find it also insulting that some people would say that HP is trying to kill Palm and that they would not be able to make elevate the platform to the next level. Employees coming and going is a reality in any company. Some just would like to put a lot of meaning in your departure.

Good luck Ben and Dion! May you succeed in you're new adventure.

Please don't mind some of the small minded people who come to this community either because they just want to annoy people with their irrelevant comment or they don't have a life. Both of you have done a great job in putting the word out there about the webOS. Continue to what you love and do best.

Personally, I find it also insulting that some people would say that HP is trying to kill Palm and that they would not be able to elevate the platform to the next level. Employees coming and going is a reality in any company. Some just would like to put a lot of meaning in your departure.

Palm is dying like Amiga. Old hardware, bad marketing and best employees are leaving.

So true, so sad. :-(

I'm going out on a limb a bit here, but...

Like a lot of companies, I believe HP recently had their quarterly financial release, investor conference calls etc. I would not be surprised if that opened the window for insider stockholders (including these two gentleman, I would presume) to cash in their stock and options.
It's possible that, between the two, they were sitting on a nice chunk since Palm was purchased... Giving them an opportunity (at an appropriate and legal time) to cash in and kick off a startup with no out of pocket.
What makes me feel good about this is that they stuck it out and stayed... Instead of jumping to another ship, they let the ship take them where they wanted to go; to me this indicates confidence in WebOS' future with HP.
Could be pure fiction, but if their new startup ends up synergistically linked to WebOS, then I for one will be happy.
The greater number of companies that hitch up to WebOS the more likely it is to be a contender down the road.