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5 Mobile Influencers to Follow in 2016

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It’s a wacky world out there for developers, with user demands constantly shifting and new interaction models popping up as if from thin air. Staying on top of the latest trends and creating truly innovative experiences (while still satisfying business needs) is an all-too-real challenge. Following mobile influencers — from industry innovators to API experts — can help guide you through the changes, so you can keep creating one-of-a-kind apps.

For the third year, we have compiled a list of influencers to follow for timely tips, news, insights and advice (you can find last year’s list here). As part of an ongoing series, here are five more mobile influencers (in no particular order) who really “get” mobile:

Andrew Chen, Growth at Uber

  • Why: Andrew works for one of the most well-known mobile-first companies around, but that’s not why you should follow him. What makes Andrew worth watching is his 700-plus collection of essays covering everything from mobile product design, user growth and the business of mobility. As an advisor and investor in a number or tech startups, including Barkbox, Dropbox and Kiva, and a rich background in Silicon Valley business, Andrew offers unique advice and insights into the state of mobility.
  • Where: Twitter – @andrewchen, Website – Andrew Chen
  • Words of Wisdom: “The long cycle times for developing mobile apps have led to startup failures that look more like 1999 – it’s like we’ve forgotten all the agile and rapid iteration stuff that we learned over the last 10 years…Today, seed stage startups can now get funded, release one or two versions of their app spread over nine months, and then fail without making a peep…We see startups burn 1/3 to 1/2 of their seed round before they release anything…Then the rest of the funding isn’t enough to do a substantive update.”

Jason Kneen, Freelance Developer for BouncingFish

  • Why: Jason is a freelance mobile developer. He’s created several top-of-the-charts apps for companies like Six Pack Productions, YouGov, HotSkoop and CareMeds. Jason is also a seasoned web app developer with coding experience going back to the ‘80s. In the thick of mobile development, Jason provides advice on his blog for both developers and companies looking to hire a mobile expert.
  • Where: Twitter – @JasonKneen, Website – Jasonified
  • Words of Wisdom: “When someone asks how long it will take to build an app, the answer is typically ‘how long is a piece of string?’…How long an app takes to develop is dependant on what platforms you’re targeting and the functionality of the app…It’s important to ensure that any 3rd party dependency, such as a server API, is in place. Having this ready, documented and testable, is vital. The worst mistake that can be made is providing a developer with an incomplete, non-functional API, as it can really slow down development and increase time and cost.”

Kin Lane, Creator of API Evangelist

  • Why: Immersed in the technology industry for over 20 years, Kin has served as programmer, database administrator, architect, product developer and executive. Now, he uses that experience to focus solely on APIs through extensive research and blogging. His mission is to help others understand their value and potential.
  • Where: Twitter – @kinlane, Website – API Evangelist
  • Words of Wisdom: “I recently caught a glimpse of how APIs are going to deliver the change we need in this world…It will not be the e-commerce vision of SalesForce, eBay, Commerce, Paypal, and other API pioneers…It will not be the following wave of social API leaders like Twitter and Facebook who connect all of us together using APIs…It will be people who understand that they can make their education, career, and the web into what they want, using APIs. That the web is programmable.”

Ygor Lemos, CTO and Co-Founder of PiniOn

  • Why: Ygor is a seasoned mobile app developer and systems architect with some serious UI and UX know-how. He’s the co-founder and CTO of PiniOn, a company Ygor describes as “mobile-first and mobile-only”.
  • Where: Twitter – @ygbr
  • Words of Wisdom: “Although the road for a high quality app is long, getting the product to market and into user’s hands as fast as you can is primordial. Always choose your tooling wisely so you can keep monitoring usage patterns of your app and innovate from the data gathered from your users. Always keep shipping! Knowing how to merge customer demands that generates income with your users’ needs is one of the key points for healthy startups that are singularly represented by one or more mobile apps.”

John Jackson, Program Vice President for Mobility Research at IDC

  • Why: For the past 12 years, John has focused on mobile and connected platform research. He is an expert on application development, mobile devices, network technologies and, more broadly, mobile industry strategies and trends. As Research Vice President for Mobility at IDC, John has written about a wide range of mobile news, trends and forecasting.
  • Where: Twitter – @hellojackson, Website – IDC Analyst Page
  • Words of Wisdom: “The current mobile environment is full of multiplier effects for developers. As developers begin to target and code for more platforms and devices, they are encountering more design challenges and more opportunities to create net new value across workflows. The traditional cross-platform challenge of timing and resources remains, but it seems logical that, as we move to mobile mainstream, developers – indie and enterprise – will continue to run into challenges inherent with wrangling backend data not optimized for mobile.”
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