In early 1999, I experienced a technology that would change the world. From the backseat of a taxi in Las Vegas, I edited a press release on a RIM 950 Inter@Active pager. It was an early device, with email but no real PIM capability to speak of. Still, it was enough to open my eyes to the potential of wireless email. And, shortly after, employees all across the Microsoft campus where I worked at the time were carrying these devices, as they became the de rigeur technology that year.
On July 25th, I joined RIM’s QNX subsidiary as their Vice President of Developer Relations and Ecosystems Development, and today it’s public that I’m now Vice President, Developer Relations for all of RIM. Over on the RIM DevBlog you can find a short interview with me, describing my role. (Shout-out to Andy Abramson, who reported this on Sunday… always the bloodhound.)
Over the last few days I’ve been in San Francisco at the Mobilize conference, and speaking with developers. It’s clear from those conversations that the primary problem we face is lack of support from application developers. My team’s job is to correct that – to win the hearts and minds of mobile developers again.
The good news is that we have plenty of great people to help with this challenge, and a wonderful story that’s largely untold. Today, there are more than 120 million downloads per month from AppWorld, the RIM application store. And according to Evans Data, BlackBerry is the best platform for making money as a mobile developer. You might get more downloads with the competition, but with BlackBerry you can actually make a living! That’s a novel concept, I know…
And speaking personally, the best part is that I get to work with the software development community again. For most of my career – whether it was the early days of Microsoft C7, the 1993 launch of MS-DOS 6, the trench warfare of the Windows 95 vs OS/2 battle, the Internet Explorer vs Netscape battle, or the launch of QNX Momentics – I’ve worked with developers, platforms, and ecosystems. Authoring this blog for the last 9 years has been a constant reminder of how much I enjoyed doing that.
It feels great to be in the thick of it once more.
P.S. We’re hiring developer evangelists – technical articulate people with a passion for mobile platforms. Interested? Contact me at alec dot saunders at rim dot com.