Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) Blog

10 Mobile and Web Developer Influencers To Follow

lightbulbheadEvery day, we are inspired by new products, innovative companies, and cool new tools. Of course, behind these awe-inspiring technologies are people – intelligent, creative, influential people who have built up communities around their knowledge and expertise. In the mobile-first, web-second era, there are hundreds of thousands of developers contributing their talents to the ever-growing mobile/web ecosystem. We’ve selected a handful of these innovators we consider to be some of the top thought leaders and influencers in app development. Check out their blogs, twitter streams, and projects to see what you can learn from them!

Kyle Wiens, iFixit,@kwiens
KyleWiensKyle Wiens is the CEO of iFixit, the largest online community providing free repair manuals and advice forums, as well as founder of Dozuki, a software company dedicated to helping manufacturers publish amazing documentation. Look to him for expertise on Apple products, especially if they need repair. Kyle also contributes his knowledge of the inner-workings of technology to online publications like the Harvard Business ReviewWired and VentureBeat.

Kevin Systrom, Instagram,@kevin
KevinSKevin is the CEO and co-founder of a little app you may have heard of called Instagram. He previously spent two years at Google working on Gmail, Google Reader, and Corporate Development. Interestingly, Kevin had no formal training in programming, but actually began in marketing and taught himself how to code. He must be an excellent self-teacher, seeing as he helped build a $1 billion company :) His story is inspiring for mobile devs and marketers alike. He’s also active on quora

David Smith, Cross Forward Consulting,@_DavidSmith
DavidSDavid is an independent iOS and Mac developer based in Herndon, VA. Since 2006, he’s owned and operated Cross Forward Consulting, a small company initially specializing in Rails web development. In August 2008 he transitioned to focusing on creating applications for the iPhone, iPad and Mac. His most successful apps include My Recipe Book and Audiobooks. His casual and content-rich blog covers his thoughts on current trends and news in tech and mobile. He also hosts Developing Perspective, a podcast discussing news of note in iOS development, Apple and the like.

I reached out to David for a quote about mobile development. His words of wisdom: “The key to building a sustainable business in mobile development is patience. As long as you are continuing learning and improving your craft you will find success.”

Ian Marsh, NimbleBit,@eeen


Ian is the co-founder of NimbleBit, an iPhone game development company. Here he develops apps like Tiny Tower, which in 2011 Apple named iPhone Game of the Year in the United States and a runner-up in Europe and Australia. He and his twin brother Dave are the founders and only full-time employees of NimbleBit – they wanted to focus on building apps, not on building a company and managing employees. His tweets are a mix of humorous observations, developer advice, and a whole lot of responses/advice to people who have tweeted at him. I always admire when people with thousands of followers make a point to respond to tweets. 

Aaron Hillegass, Big Nerd Ranch,@aaronhillegass
AaronHAaron Hillegass is the founder and CEO of Big Nerd Ranch. He is best known to many programmers as the author of “Objective-C: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide”, “Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X,” and “iOS Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide.” MacTech consistently names Aaron one of the top 25 most influential people in the Mac community. Check out his books for programming expertise, or reach out to him on Twitter – he’s another very responsive Twitter user.


Marco Arment, Instapaper,@marcoarment
MarcoAMarco Arment is an iOS and web developer and technology blogger living in Westchester, New York. Formerly of Tumblr, he created and currently operates the Instapaper bookmark and reading service. He also co-hosts the Build and Analyze podcast. Check out his site for a variety of posts with a humorous twist, ranging from his take on right vs. wrong to top news in tech and mobile.

Paul Irish, HTML5 Boilerplate,@Paul_Irish
PaulIPaul Irish is a front-end developer and Google Chrome dev relations guy who has created a whole bunch of HTML5, jQuery, and other web-related projects including HTML5 Please, Move the Web ForwardW3Fools, and He is also a lead developer of HTML5 Boilerplate, a tool that our devs at Kinvey used to hack together a new HTML5 tool of our own. He recently wrote a blog post similar to this called developers we admire on his website, which is full of news, tips and tricks for web devs.

His words of advice: “Slick performance is key to UX success. How to get there? Measure, identify your primary bottleneck, refactor, and measure again. Do that before blindly implementing performance advice.”

Bill Dudney, Gala Factory,@bdudney
BillDudneyBill is a “NeXTStep Guy on Cocoa Development.” Bill has over 18 years of software development experience, from advanced systems that managed the Space Shuttle flight plan to business systems that manage over 1.6 trillion dollars annually in cash flow. Currently he develops iPhone apps with his company Gala Factory Software. He is the author of several books, including books on Core Animation for OSX and iPhone and iPhone SDK Development. Be sure to check out his blog – he hasn’t posted in a few months, but he’s got some great technical content (with plenty of code snippets) written in a refreshingly personal/anecdotal tone.

Bill’s words of wisdom: “iOS development is one of those fields where the subject matter is so deep that there is always something new to learn and explore. Learn enough every week so that looking back on 6 month old code makes you think ‘who wrote this!?’. Then, go out and do it better next time.”

Chris Coyier, CodePen,@ChrisCoyier
ChrisCoyierChris is a web development pro designing at CodePen, which aims to educate and inspire through the sharing of front end code, “penned” in a JS/HTML/CSS editor on their site. His own website is sleekly designed, as one would expect of a web designer, and also littered with funny quips and creative posts, like this how-to make an Italian sandwich post. Chris is also a writer at CSS-Tricks and a podcaster at Shop Talk Show.

Joseph Smarr, Google,@jsmarr
JosephSmarrJoseph is a web developer at Google working on the Google+ project and the former CTO of Plaxo. His website offers insights into web, technology, tutorials, and general life topics. He’s all over the web – from writing reviews on Yelp to recommending and rating books – and you can find all his profiles on his site, along with other projects he’s involved in, like TheSocialWebTV.

Because of the number of amazing developer talent doing awesome things for web and mobile, we just couldn’t possibly list all of the influencers out there. But we’d like to know – who are some developer thought leaders that you follow? Let us know in the comments!

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