Over two weeks ago I had the honor of joining my fellow BlackBerry enthusiasts and businessmen for a week full of BlackBerry! When I arrived in Orlando for BlackBerry World and BlackBerry 10 Jam, I expected to find a bunch of older businessmen in signature suits and fresh polished shoes, with the same attitude of the past, “we are strong, we have 77 million subscribers, our browser is competitive , etc.” To my surprise, I encountered the opposite. I saw youth , cool jeans and blazers , eagerness and hunger to prove a point, prove that we aren’t just the 3rd platform but we will be THE platform of the future. I saw executives walk up to me and say “hello” and strike conversation. When an issue came up in our conversation the answer I received was “I’m so sorry , give me your card, I will look into it and let you know”.
Lucas and I sat in a session for press about developing for BlackBerry10. In the back of the room quietly I saw Anders Jeppsson who is the head of gaming for Research In Motion. After the session, I just wanted to introduce myself to him. Jeppsson’s immediate response was “Hey what’s up, come let’s sit down. I want to show you some awesome stuff we are working on, and love to hear some feedback.” Both Lucas and I were shocked. We didn’t ask for an interview, we didn’t have to harass RIM PR, but a high level RIM exec wanted to eagerly show us some cool stuff on his PlayBook. To our surprise, RIM sure has some cool gaming stuff coming soon.
After an awesome slide show we proceeded to have a quick little chat about the overall state of RIM and Jeppsson told us two things I never thought I’d hear out of a RIM exec. First, he said, “I own an iPad and I look at our competitors. If we didn’t acknowledge they are doing something right we would be blind.” Jeppsson added, “Look at my Converse shoes, they are so cool and they have a Peace sign on them.” To understand why the Converse-wearing-shoes statement is so awesome, you need to understand the fundamental change within RIM. He was proud that he didn’t have to suit up. He is the head of the Gaming department and is all about fun, youth, energy, and his shoes symbolize that. He acknowledged that he “heard” in previous BlackBerry World events (or WES as it was before) that it was all about a suit and tie with a pair of black polished shoes. Mr. Jeppsson, keep staying awesome and you are everything that is right within BlackBerry!
Walking around the rest of the convention, I had the privilege to meet more and more of RIM’s youth. From the awesome BlackBerry App World Team to RIM’s awesome and very talented, revamped PR team. It was great to see BlackBerry evangelists such as Patrick Mollins, and the HTML guru Adam Stanley. The best part was to finally shake hands with the one and only Mr. “Stay Calm and Be Bold” himself, Alec Saunders. The BlackBerry team is focused with one goal and a new sense of urgency! Actually, the best part is the team finally feels like “A TEAM”! I have a brand new feeling for this company and can sense the “fun” surrounding those who are striving to win.