A few days ago, some Clockworkers had a conversation around the kitchen table about the term technology agnostic — two words we throw around in our proposals and on our website. But it’s not really accurate. In our case, we mean that we embrace all kinds of technology and are open to picking the right tool for the job. Agnosticism, on the other hand, is the belief that the truth behind certain claims, especially ones regarding the questions of the existence of a deity, is unknowable. As you can see, the phrase technology agnostic isn’t quite right. 

I think a more precise phrase for our attitude would be “technology polytheistic.”  We believe in the existence and usefulness of a multitude of great technologies. We use a pantheon of technologies at Clockwork, after all, especially during our Lab Days.

You might have heard about Clockwork’s Lab Day. Maybe you’ve even downloaded Slydology, the result of one of our Lab Day projects. In the spirit of technological polytheism, we made Slydology for both iPhone and android phones. During Slydology’s creation, Michael Koppelman worked on iPhone development, putting together a working prototype of the idea by mid-morning. I was a latecomer to the project, putting together an android version a few days later.

Recently, Michael  and I visited the Minneapolis campus of Art Institutes International to talk (preach?) to a group of students about mobile development. I gave a high-level overview of developing for the android, and Michael would have made Steve Jobs proud with his presentation of developing for iOS using XCode.

Like the deities in a pantheon, programming platforms each have their own personality. Android is the Linux of mobile development, an open-source platform now maintained by a population of dedicated nerds at Google. If Android is the Hades of Greek mythology, iOS is the cooler older brother, Poseidon. While Hades toils in the underworld, Poseidon gets to use his awesome trident to rule the sea.

It was totally unplanned, but Michael and my presentation styles reflected the personality of the respective platforms. I used Open Office to prepare a slideshow about Android development, covering the basics with a high-level overview of the platform: project structure, user interface design, widgets, events, resources, intents, etc. Michael, on the other hand, cracked open Inteface Builder and wooed the students by putting together a quick app for dynamically resizing an image (a strangely wonderful drawing by Travis Louie).

The students at Aii were great. They asked smart questions about cross-platform development, screen resolutions, versioning, and other development considerations, along with a few strange questions. (I still don’t know how many indoor pools Steve Jobs owns, for example.) Clockwork has hired folks from Aii in the past, and I can tell why. We look for smart, passionate people who are full of questions, personality, and a healthy polytheistic view of technology.