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So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye!

Alec, Chris and Marty at Jam Asia

In September of 2011, I sat down with the BlackBerry Developer Relations team, after being introduced as their new leader. I vividly remember telling the group that opportunities like BlackBerry 10 only come along rarely in a person’s career; that we were all going to work harder than we had ever worked before; that we were going to learn from each other; that it would be a roller coaster to get there; and that once BlackBerry 10 had launched, we would all look back on that experience as a “career defining moment”. They gave me their support and loyalty and we accomplished truly remarkable things in the two and half years until launch.

As you know, times and business circumstances change. Sometime between now and November 3 will be my last day at BlackBerry and QNX.

A number of folks have expressed regrets, or said they were sorry. No need. During my time at BlackBerry and QNX, we’ve achieved significant business results, built lasting friendships, created hundreds of fantastic memories, and learned lessons that we couldn’t have learned anywhere else. These are far more important to me than a pay check, and I look back on what the company and our teams accomplished over the last three years with pride.

How about growing from just 16,000 applications in BlackBerry World to 265,000 in two and half years? That’s a 1,650% improvement. To get there, we had to grow our developer base from 7,600 to over 70,000. We orchestrated programs in 44 countries, built three generations of dev-alpha handsets, and seeded over 40,000 devices in 18 months.

Or how about going from zero to launch with Project Ion, including recruiting a team of 8 people, in just 90 days? Nearly 1,000 companies signed up for early access to information on Project Ion as a result.

Numbers aside, my favorite part of the last three years has been the people I worked with.

  • During the BlackBerry 10 launch, my team of 200, the Global Alliances team, the BlackBerry App World team, the amazing engineering and sales teams, and our unflappable PR teams.
  • Of course, the tiny Project Ion team, plus all of the fantastic folks at QNX who welcomed me back for a third stint at the company and pitched in to help with the Project Ion launch and marketing afterward.
  • And how about the legions of BlackBerry fans and developers I’ve met? You know who you are… BlackBerry Hank, Morten, CrackBerry Kevin, Jerome… to name just a few. I met thousands of you over the last three years. It’s impossible to name all of you, but know that you made my work rewarding and memorable.

We worked hard, but we also played hard too. Whether it was recording goofy music videos, the “Leap of Faith” at the Stratosphere hotel, or eating roasted bugs to encourage developer teams to fix software bugs, there was always time for a few laughs on the way to achieving our goals.

So I leave with a light heart, and best wishes for today’s BlackBerry team. I know that turning BlackBerry’s business around will take heart, gumption, and hard work. I have faith that you will succeed, and I wish that you may look back on this period as one of your own “career defining moments”.

And just as I promised my team in September of 2011, you have individually and together — every one of you BlackBerry employees, BlackBerry developers, BlackBerry customers, and BlackBerry fans — given me the gift of three years of “career defining moments”.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for that.

{ 23 comments… add one }

  • mentorsconsultants October 7, 2014, 10:09 am

    Ciao, Hasta luego, See you again soon. All the best in your next adventure ( you haven't said). Hope KW will still have the pleasure and benefit of your presence.

  • Victoria Berry October 7, 2014, 10:15 am

    Alec, may the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. I learned so much working with you and your amazing Developer Relations team. All of you did amazing things and I was so lucky to have been in the fight with you. I wish you all the best and look forward to our paths crossing again.

  • Simon Sage October 7, 2014, 10:38 am

    Alec, your presentations were always very lively and a pleasure to cover. Sad to see you go, of course – BlackBerry can use good people like you, and having familiar faces around always make work a joy.

    Good luck in your future endeavors, and hope to see you around Ottawa!

  • BAnthon October 7, 2014, 10:40 am

    Thanks Alec. I always enjoyed knowing there is someone in charge who knew how to handle that difficult job.
    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

  • Diego Nei October 7, 2014, 10:59 am

    Best of luck!

    Sent from my BlackBerry Z30

  • Gord Cluthe October 7, 2014, 11:04 am

    Best wishes, Alec :)

  • zukka75 October 7, 2014, 11:05 am

    Hey Alec Thanks for all :) You are a awesome man ({})

  • FS October 7, 2014, 11:06 am

    Why! :-(

  • Xu Jiazi October 7, 2014, 11:06 am

    You will be missed, Alec… Goofiest, and craziest leader ever, but also, the best kind to work for!!! Don't forget to let us know if you happen to be in Asia!!!

  • Oliver Martinez October 7, 2014, 11:17 am

    We love you Alec… You’re the best leader… I miss those days you run us bb10 devs. Goodluck to your future.

  • @OurBerries October 7, 2014, 11:28 am

    It is so sad to see you leave the family, but yes, it have been fun with you around. Could we have a last Music Video from you before you depart? :)

  • Mauricio G. October 7, 2014, 11:28 am

    ¡Good luck Alec! I'm sure you'll succeed wherever you go. http://bbquicktips.com/posts/8761

  • ekkescorner October 7, 2014, 11:46 am

    Hi Alec,
    wish you the very best for your future.
    I will always remember the great work you did and the many conferences we could discuss or drink a beer or more.
    Without you I wouldn't do development for BlackBerry 10 – thx for motivation in early Cascades pre 10.0 days.
    It was always a pleasure to work with you and the Developer Relations team.
    If you'll visit Germany at any time you're always invited to stay some days here south of Munich.
    Hope to meet you again

  • BB10 rules October 7, 2014, 11:54 am

    Ohh no…. Why do You Leave us ?

  • Alexandre C. Matti October 7, 2014, 12:45 pm

    Wish you all the best for the future Alec !

  • Branko Nikolic October 7, 2014, 1:59 pm

    It was fun this 2 years!!! Wish you all the best dude and I hope to see you soon on some new projects and ideas!

  • Ann-Louise Winter October 7, 2014, 3:23 pm

    Best wishes, Alec! It’s been quite a ride from the fan/user’s point of view as well and I appreciate all the hard work you’ve done. Hugs.

  • Günter Dußmann October 7, 2014, 4:25 pm

    H-…. Mir großem Respekt habe ich den Artikel gelesen! Wieso verlässt man Blackberry! Was ist dein Traum? Dein Einsatz war so sensationell! Du warst für mich BlackBerry mit Empathie , viel Gefühl und authentisch dabei! Was ist passiert um solche Fähigkeiten zu verlassen!

  • Titus October 8, 2014, 4:27 am

    Dear Alec,

    Thanks for all the great motivational keynotes, the interesting conversations and all the effort you put in recruiting new developers together with your team.

    Good luck in the future and don’t forget to do what you love and love what you do!


  • Anna October 9, 2014, 7:13 am

    Alec. It was a great pleasure and learning experience to work with you at RIM and I wish others the benefit of your expertise and humour. Looking forward to seeing what your not chapter brings. All the best.

  • Neil Wick October 9, 2014, 11:38 am

    Thanks for everything you have done at QNX and BlackBerry. It has indeed been an exciting and defining time, not just for you and your team, but for the company itself, and all the users of its products. Nobody else could have done it the way you did.

  • Benjamin October 23, 2014, 3:08 pm

    Thank you!!!

    Your energy and skills are exceptional.
    BlackBerry can be proud of what you’ve achieved there with all your talent and passion.

    I am sure they’ll miss you as much as you’ll miss them.

    Good luck for your new ventures, keep up the good work with photography, you’re making good progress!!!

    (try one of these sigma art series lenses once…)

    All the best!

  • david paterson November 8, 2014, 11:58 am

    Alec. It was indeed a blast working with you and your fantastic team on so many continents. Life’s great and you know it! Keep on truck’n. David Paterson

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