From Esri to Calm Tech: My Next Steps

Amber Case - 2015Today I’d like to announce that I’m moving on from my position as Director of Esri’s R&D Center in Portland, Oregon, and transitioning to several new projects I’m very excited to share.

It’s been an amazing two and a half years at Esri. I worked with an incredible team, and I’m going to miss everyone very much. Many of us came from Geoloqi, a company I co-founded in 2010 that was acquired by Esri in 2012. We were privileged to then work on a series of challenging projects that reached over 5 million users. We built out a new version of the Geoloqi technology called the Esri Geotrigger Service, allowing more features and scaling for many more devices and use cases. Along the way, we also created a number of popular open source technologies, and spearheaded the effort for Esri to use Github. I have tremendous respect for Esri, and I’m confident the projects we started with them are in very good hands.

The Need for Calm Technology

Working at Esri helped me realize something important: Location is just one aspect of the information we need to make sense of things. And as people get increasingly overwhelmed by tech, they find it negatively impacts their life, getting in the way of doing great things. In the coming decades, it’s my hope — and passion — that we’ll develop more and better apps that use feedback loops to help people regain their mindfulness, and sense of focus. Call it “perspective as a service”. These concepts are not new – they take their cue from cybernetics, using data to give people a sense of their own perspective.

With that, I’m proud to announce that I’m writing a book for O’Reilly: Calm Technology: Designing interfaces for the next generation of things. Calm Technology is a perspective on the future of design. We can’t design the world the same way we would a desktop. Calm Technology is about designing technology that respects people and works with their lives, instead of introducing more abstractions. Good technology is invisible. With that in mind, I also started a website,, to help explain some of the concepts I’ll expand on in the book.

Which takes me to another announcement:

Applying Calm Technology to the Next Generation of Healthcare

Amber Case - 2015 In 2012 I hosted a biennial conference called CyborgCamp in Portland, Oregon, an “unconference” on the future of humans and technology. Last year, we held the conference at MIT’s Media Lab, where I met Chris Dancy, who showed me data from 600 devices he was tracking, all going into Google Calendar. He was able to modify his behavior in a positive way with this “perspective as a service”. Three years later, Dancy is applying the same methods to the wellness industry.

In addition to writing and speaking this year, I’ll be joining Chris Dancy to build out this platform as part of a new initiative at a company called Healthways. I’ll remain in Oregon while building out a Portland branch of the company. We’ve given our devices many senses, but we need to create a feedback loop to have those senses help us.

Upcoming Talks
I’ll be speaking about Calm Technology internally at the Institute for the Future on March 19th, 2015 and at Craft Conference in Budapest, Hungary on April 23rd, 2015.

Stay in touch!
I’ll be posting updates at @caseorganic and @calmtechbook, and I hope you follow me there. You can always reach out to me via e-mail: case at caseorganic dot com. For writing and speaking opportunities, please ping my business manager and advisor Vanessa Camones: vanessa at themixagency dot com.

Startup Happy Hour at Esri R&D Center Portland! January 14, 2015 5:30p-7:30p

Spock Conference Room

We’re having a Happy Hour at Esri R&D Center and we’d love to see you there!

Stop by between 5:30 and 7:30pm to check out what we’re working on, and meet lots of people interested in maps and the future of mapping.

Office Warming at Esri in May 2014

Are you a developer? Pick up a free license to mapping apps, APIs, and SDKs here.

Simply bring your curiosity and we’ll bring the food and drinks. See you there!


Wednesday, January 14, 2015
5:30 PM to 7:30 PM


Esri R&D Center Portland
309 SW 6th Ave., Suite 600, Portland, OR


Startup Happy Hour @ Esri R&D Center

Portland R&D Center Bike Racks

Esri Conference Room

Leaf Chair

Geordi Conference Room

Settler's of Catan Board

Esri R&D Center Office Warming and Open House Party! Wed, May 7th, 2014 from 5-8pm

New Esri R&D Center Portland Office!

Come Celebrate our new Office!

After Portland startup Geoloqi joined Esri in 2012, our office has grown from 6 to 20 people and our current space didn’t fit everyone! This year, we found an awesome new space downtown and moved into a new, permanent location. Now that we’re all settled into our new space, we’d love to invite you to join us in celebrating growth, community and all things geo! We’ll have Legos, toys, and even a custom-built Settler’s of Catan board for you to play! Feel free to bring other board games if you’d like.


RSVP on EventBrite so we can make sure we have enough drinks and light snacks (gluten free) for everyone! We are using Eventbrite to track RSVPs, if you know you are coming please reserve a ticket!
In addition to celebrating Esri R&D Center Portland’s new office, we will be celebrating Geoloqi’s 4th year anniversary, as well as both my and Patrick Arlt’s birthday! So many celebrations!

Custom Settler's of Catan Board

Who is invited?

The entire Portland tech community is invited, as well as friends and family of the Esri R&D Center team!

We have all of you to thank for helping us get where we are today. Special thanks to TiE, PIE, PSF, PDC, and many other organizations for funding us, providing mentorship and being patient with our crazy vision this entire time. It’s been 4 years since Geoloqi started, and almost 2 since we’ve been a part of Esri!

In town for Write the Docs or Webvisions? Feel free to join us as well!


309 SW 6th Ave, Ste. 600
Portland, OR 97204
Take any of the three lobby elevators to the 6th floor and you’ll be right there!

See you soon!

No need to bring a ticket – once you RSVP we’ll have your name and any +1 information on the list when you arrive.

Esri R&D Center Team!

What’s Esri Portland?

Esri R&D Center Portland is Esri’s Portland office (formerly Geoloqi)! We work on the next generation of location technology for mobile phones, Esri’s Developer website and initiatives, and a lot of open source projects like Terraformer and Esri Leaflet, and we’re really into open data and Civic Hacking

What is Esri?

Founded in 1969, Esri is the market leader in geographic information systems (GIS). Esri software is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities.

Esri applications run on more than one million desktops and thousands of Web and enterprise servers. Together, these apps provide the backbone for the world’s mapping and spatial analysis. Esri acquired Geoloqi, Inc. in Oct 2012, adding Geoloqi’s Geotrigger™ technology to Esri’s extensive suite of geo tools and applications for developers and enterprise.