I work at Walmart

@WalmartLabs, a division of Wal-Mart Stores, has acquired the Small Society team. We will continue to build great mobile apps, but now we will focus all of our attention on a single company – the largest one in the world. Our baker’s dozen team will be joining the existing @WalmartLabs team of five in Portland (and hundreds more located in the Bay Area), committed to growth and job creation here in the city we love. We’re not going anywhere. Portland is recognized as a leader in mobile, with contributions from individuals, startups, and large companies, too.

Walmart has made a number of targeted acquisitions in the last few months to fuel their innovation engine including Kosmix, OneRiot and Grabble, to advance work in social and mobile e-commerce. The team from Small Society now joins that list as part of @WalmartLabs, where we intend to innovate at the intersection of the mobile and retail experience. Already we are seeing the fruits of these acquisitions – recent launches from Walmart such as Shopycat on Facebook and their new iPad app. This is just the beginning.

When Small Society was founded three years ago, one of the key areas we wanted to focus on was re-imagining the retail experience. Mobile technology can play a profound role in changing how people interact with their physical environments and we are still very much in the early stages of this exploration. As an outside consulting agency, there’s only so much impact you can have, and rarely do you get the chance to work with a client over an extended period of time, iterating and responding to customer feedback and interest.

Walmart provides our team with the biggest canvas as the world’s largest company and the world’s largest employer. There are over 9,700 Walmart retail units under 69 different banners in 28 countries generating $419 billion in revenue annually. Walmart serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week . More and more of these customers have smartphones.

We are thoroughly impressed by the caliber of the team we will be joining. Gibu Thomas and Paul Cousineau at the helm of Walmart’s mobile efforts, both with a strong mobile background at Palm, along with Ben Galbraith and Dion Almaer, who came over with the Set Direction acquisition earlier this year. We also will be reuniting with Small Society alumni – Brandon Sneed, Sam Grover, and Steve Riggins. The size of the opportunity coupled with the caliber of the talent already assembled made this an easy decision for us.

Small Society has been a three-year adventure, working with some of the world’s greatest brands and companies, with great team members, some of who are no longer with us (special thanks to Jonathan Wight and Andrew Pouliot, who started this adventure with us). I can still remember October 2nd, 2008, like it was yesterday – launching the official Obama ’08 app for iPhone, receiving an encouraging phone call from Steve Jobs, talking to the press all over the world about our new app, with a vision of the future building great apps for great brands with a great team. That vision became even more clear a few months later when James Keller joined from Wieden + Kennedy to head up User Experience and Heather Penner joined from OHSU to manage Operations and we became a mobile agency called Small Society. We accomplished the goals we set out and are excited about our next chapter together.

Our opportunity as a team to impact the retail experience using mobile technology is huge. It honestly can’t get any bigger than Walmart.

I encourage you to read James Keller’s blog for another perspective on the announcement, as well as the official @WalmartLabs blog entry by Paul Cousineau.

4 January 2012 at 9:30 PT


  1. Congratulations to you and your team!

    Mike Reilly
    4 January 2012 at 9:46 PT
  2. Congratulations Raven!!!!

    Frank Jarolimek-Proner
    4 January 2012 at 9:47 PT
  3. Congrats to you and the team. You’re in good hands with the brilliant minds working with @WalmartLabs team. I expect there will be no shortage of great ideas as the team is brought on board.

    Brooks Grigson
    4 January 2012 at 9:54 PT
  4. [...] now Raven Zachary and James Keller, cofounders of Small Society, have confirmed it. @WalmartLabs, a division of [...]

    Quintessential Portland iOS shop Small Society acquired by Walmart Labs « Silicon Florist
    4 January 2012 at 10:00 PT
  5. Congratulations, Raven!

    Matt Gifford
    4 January 2012 at 10:07 PT
  6. Congratulations to the entire Small Society team!

    Bruce Elgort
    4 January 2012 at 10:18 PT
  7. Congratulations Raven. We really appreciated the trust you placed in hiring us to manage this transaction and we wish you and the rest of the smallsociety team nothing but the very best as part of walmartlabs.

    Nitin Khanna
    4 January 2012 at 10:25 PT
  8. [...] are thoroughly impressed by the caliber of the team we will be joining,” he wrote on his personal blog, “Gibu Thomas and Paul Cousineau at the helm of Walmart’s mobile efforts, both with a [...]

    @WalmartLabs Acquires Mobile Agency Small Society | TechCrunch
    4 January 2012 at 10:28 PT
  9. Congrats Raven! I love hearing about the successes of good people! best of luck in the future!

    Bill Miller
    4 January 2012 at 10:41 PT
  10. Raven, Congratulations to you and your team.

    stuart cohen
    4 January 2012 at 10:45 PT
  11. Raven – you worked hard for this and deserve it man. Wal-Mart is a tremendous exit for you and your team. Remember to take some time to celebrate this great win before you thrust yourself into the frenetic pace of the Wal-Mart engine.

    Again congrats my friend and enjoy!


    Chuck Goldman
    4 January 2012 at 11:44 PT
  12. RAVEN !!!

    Know that you have dramatically upped your exit value from the O’Rev experience we shared, not sooo many years ago !

    Delighted for you, your firm, your family…I love it when people surprise me by so consciously not just thinking but living outside the proverbial “Box”…

    You are a rare talent, and WalMart is fortunate to have you and your team…Enjoy, celebrate, revel in your success, and savour… well played, sir ! MVM

    Martin McCarthy
    4 January 2012 at 15:55 PT
  13. Congrats, Raven!!!

    4 January 2012 at 19:30 PT
  14. Congratulations to you and Small Society, Raven. I know you’ll continue to change the world. It’s great to hear Portland will still be your base. All the best…

    Jeff Bunch
    4 January 2012 at 20:28 PT
  15. Congratulations Raven. 8-)

    Todd Khozein
    4 January 2012 at 20:58 PT
  16. Wow Raven, that’s great news! Congrats & best wishes.


    4 January 2012 at 21:22 PT
  17. Congratulations from Denmark on the excellent achievement, Raven – Also Greetiongs to Aodan, who celebrated his birthday with us a couple of years ago.

    Jan Thogersen
    4 January 2012 at 21:33 PT
  18. Congratulations and best wishes.

    Do you see a WalMartLabsDevCamp in the future?

    ;< )

    Richard Wolff
    5 January 2012 at 20:34 PT
  19. Think of you and remember you often, so happy to see such wonderful developments ! Still in santa fe, but also I live in San Francisco now. steve ader

    steve ader
    7 January 2012 at 0:15 PT