There is one word that comes to mind when you think of BlackBerry’s shortcomings and we all know it: Apps! Research In Motion has put all of its talent behind the implementation and development of BlackBerry10, BUT they absolutely understand that with no apps it doesn’t matter how amazing the software might be. That’s where RIM has made the best decision it could, which was to put in place a new Developer Relations team. Lead by the man himself , Alec Saunders, this team absolutely stole the show at BlackBerry 10 Jam.
RIM has already paved the grounds with the developer hackathons. They have been relentless in offering free PlayBooks and any advice you might need. You know what the outcome has been? It’s working! The success stories are there. Look at Angry Birds, Madden and the other awesome games that have been released. The app catalogue is expanding in a time where everyone is ready to bury our beloved company. Transforming a company won’t happen over night. While we may still lack apps like Netflix and Skype, after BlackBerry World and BlackBerry Jam 10 I am CERTAIN all these companies would be insane not to push their apps to the platform! Why am I so sure? I saw the amazing jobs the RIM employees are doing. Let me share some of my personal experiences from these events:
During my walk-through at BB10 Jam, I met Luca Sale, who I believe is one of the rising stars within RIM. Luca is a developer evangelist and HTML 5 expert. After chatting with him for a while, I realized how passionate he was about the company. The next day I was at BlackBerry 10 Jam ran into Luca again by the HTML 5 booth. I introduced him to a group of friends I made in a great BBM group chat. I walked away for a bit, while I greeted other RIM employees, and returned back to the booth within 5 minutes. To my surprise, their conversation had gone FULL HTML5 with Luca showing them how easy it can be to develop and passing his card out, telling them, “Email me, any question any time I am here for you guys”. He showed us all some amazing stuff you could do with HTML.
Conversation with my friends continued on about developing for BB10! Five of my friends who never thought about developing for BlackBerry, were now in serious thought of what and how can they build their first BlackBerry app. One of them wanted to create a sports app, another a special weather app for pilots. So many awesome app ideas were being thrown around I was shocked. My initial reaction was, “Are you guys seriously going to give this a go?” They all replied, “Hell yeah”, “Absolutely” and “Why wouldn’t we if we have RIM there to help.” Today my friends are all working on apps for BB10 for the simple reason that they know they have some one to contact in case of an issue. All of this was due to one RIM employee who took the time to sit with them for 30 minutes to listen and offer his help! RIM successfully gained five new developers in that moment. Luca Sale deserves a lot of credit for his achievements during BlackBerry 10 Jam and I thank him for taking the time to speak to us.
The next RIM employee I’d like to talk about is “THE HTML5 Guru” also commonly known as Adam Stanley (Though, I believe he enjoys that nickname). Adam for one more time, spent 3 days pouring all his knowledge and hard work into developers trying to pass his message about what BB10 can do. Adam is simply the best. It doesn’t matter what is going on, if you needed help, Adam was there. Not once did he say he wasn’t available or that he had an obligation. I was glad to find out he went on vacation right after BB10 Jam, he deserved it.
Last, but not least, I want to bring up one of RIM’s Evangelists, Patrick Mollins. Patrick is currently running a hackathon in Bogota, Colombia. I ran into Patrick at the Innovations Booth and we started chatting. A few minutes later the rest of the group joined and I had the pleasure to introduce them to Patrick. They engaged in conversation about HTML5, cascades and other capabilities of the platform. Patrick immediately picked up on their interest and quickly offered his services. He offered them assistance and devices if they set up a BB Dev Group. He promised he would attend their meetings and invite them to other shows. It’s a great incentive to know that if you do get together with a couple of developers and create a group that BlackBerry will be there for hands-on support! Cards were exchanged along with ideas and now a much better relationship has been formed between a handful of Devs and RIM. Patrick’s character is exactly how an evangelist needs to be. RIM is lucky to have his services.
These are three examples that I witnessed at BB10 Jam. There were plenty more and some amazing sessions and labs that took place. The seeding of a developer device was an amazing incentive for developers to attend the BlackBerry 10 Jam event. RIM guaranteeing 10,000 dollars for a good app gives a developer a great drive towards succeeding. RIM will also give out a limited edition BlackBerry 10 device if your app qualifies and you return the Dev alpha. The Developer Relations team is building the Relationships RIM needs for BB10 to succeed. After the BB10 Jam event I am now more confident than ever that success is finally within reach.