Back at El Rancho de IoT

This week I’ve been up at QNX HQ in planning meetings.  This was a great experience for a number of reasons, but, primarily just seeing the QNX leadership team in action.  I’m a guy who bears the scars of product review meetings with Bill Gates over the years, so, when people say technology isn’t a contact sport I beg to differ.  I have to say what I saw this week was very close to sessions I remember from Microsoft at it’s peak in the 1990’s.  The good news, seeing the emphasis on architecture.

Having been @MSFT for the genesis of the Windows NT operating system in ’89/’90, and the long run it’s had for the industry I can testify first hand about the importance of getting your architecture right, the pay off is obvious.  I worked closely with Dave Cutler’s team (now Chief Technical Fellow @ MSFT) and took their designs and reviewed them with the leaders in technology of the day, ecosystem friends and competitors.  There are subsystems in Windows that still manifest the impact of this review loop today.
I’m pleased to report we’re doing the same thing for my new products, talking to customers early, working hard to get things right.  We’re both building a cloud based system, but also getting it right on the device.  If your on device agents processing markedly changes device state, you’re really not measuring the true device state, are you?   Architecture matters, it’s not easy to do, but will show it’s value over time.
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Don’t stop believing

Not to worry, I’m not going to launch into Journey’s power ballad….

It appears that the negative coverage is now increasing on my old friends in Windows Phone.  I joined the BlackBerry team just over a year ago, and in that time one skill I’ve “exercised” is to read the recent coverage of BlackBerry, process that information and to simply continue executing on the path we’d already charted.  This is something that a good Evangelist needs to do, believe in your own technology.  In the face of such constant, negative and well, sometimes actually quite amusing coverage, how do you keep the team moving forward?

Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t control.

It’s easy to get caught up and react to negativity.   So, early last year we learned that we had to carry our message out to developers ourselves.  This lead us to launch our now infamous 44 city BlackBerry Jam World Tour.  We could control our own messaging only if we could deliver it directly to developers without someone else’s spin or agenda.  We counted on this core of developers to carry our unfiltered message out to their community.  It seemed like a good idea and really was the best option available.  So we did, simple as that.

Another example was fighting the “vaporware” problem.  Being a former Microsoft Technical Evangelist, having to manage an Ecosystem to a new set of target dates was something I, er, was used to doing?  Anyways, we couldn’t control the speculation about “if BlackBerry 10 would ever ship” but what we decided to do is let developers experience it first hand.  We launched the biggest seeding program of it’s type in the industry.  Developers could monitor our progress build to build, SDK release to SDK release and see that BlackBerry 10 was real.

When you’re facing a situation like we’ve faced at BlackBerry, set realistic expectations with your team and management &  know it always takes longer than you think for your message to carry.   But the most important thing is to actively go out into the Ecosystem, tell your story and watch something great happen.