I'd heard a lot about the mysterious and ever-growing Pocketmints meetups from across the pond. There had been six to date, they'd apparently been going from strength to strength and there was always a copious amount of food. So when I realised that my trip to New York would overlap with the seventh Pocketmints meetup I had many questions. Who would the speaker be? What would it be like? How much food is meant by 'copious'?
A London Mint in New York - Pocketmints
Looking around I realised the meetup was mere hours away - I was surrounded by the NY Mints getting their IKEA on and swiftly assembling chairs for the approaching guests. Once everything was set up and the pizza had arrived (there are constant and numerous reminders that you're in New York) the guests began streaming in. If it wasn't already obvious from the RSVP list, this was the busiest Pocketmints meetup to date. People sat down and opened their delicately wrapped Pocketmints Primers that illustrated who Mint Digital are and what we do. A nice touch I may well take back to London.
The room was filled with anticipation as people readied themselves; some taking out notepads, some busying themselves with their iPads and others simply watching the screencasts of Mint projects that were playing at the front.
Once everyone was settled, Buzz Andersen began his talk on native vs mobile web apps. Having previously worked at places like Apple and Square, it was obvious that Buzz had strong opinions on the debate. He argued that they should be complimentary and not competing and cited examples including Facebook. A native app which uses the functionality that comes from being deeply tied to the hardware, like accelerometers, built-in geolocation and the camera, and also has a distribution platform, can serve as an excellent companion to a mobile web app. Although they should be complimentary, something that Buzz did emphasise later was that a mobile web app should be a mobile web app. It shouldn't try and emulate whatever fashionable chrome that its cousin, the native app, was wearing.
He also briefly touched upon the idea that the entire app ecosystem as we know it is a phase. One that isn't going to exist for much longer once we move to a more integrated approach. This raised a few eyebrows in the audience and some members challenged the notion that this would be happening at a time where apps seem more popular than ever.
By the end, once all the pizza flour had settled and the very american coke had been drunk, people buzzed around our speaker (excuse the pun) with even more questions and some looking to continue the debate that was started earlier. As these conversations slowly wound down and the last few people left, it seemed, judging by their parting comments, that the guests had enjoyed themselves. The pizza boxes were mostly empty and all the chairs were still fully intact. The seventh Pocketmints meetup looked like it had been a success.
Picking up one of the last slices of mushroom pizza I pondered over how similar the NY meetup was compared to London's. The familiar energetic exchanges between the audience and speaker and the varied audience makeup including developers, designers and bloggers - perhaps New York was more akin to London than I first thought. Well, in terms of meetups at least. As soon as I took a bite out of my pizza I remembered that New York is entirely distinct from London when it comes to other things.