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Living the dream

As those who know me well can attest to, I’ve always dreamed of living and working in the mountains.  The challenge has been finding an opportunity that balances both my professional and personal ambitions – until now.

After an incredibly rewarding two years at BlackBerry, I’ve resigned from RIM and moved west to Park City, Utah where I’ve accepted a new role as Senior Vice President of E-commerce and Mobile for a specialty online retailer owned by WellPoint that has two primary sites today in 1800CONTACTS.com and glasses.com.

In my new role I’ll be responsible for PC, mobile (App and Web) and social customer experiences, SEM & SEO, building an E-commerce strategy, implementation of a new corporate E-commerce engine and all related operations.  It’s an exciting role that will also integrate closely with the CMO and CIO office while reporting directly to the President.

The last two years at BlackBerry have been a great experience and it has been a privilege and pleasure to work with so many passionate, dedicated and talented people.

I’m most proud of the fact that we:

  • Built an industry and category leading experience for the tablet web
  • Re-launched blackberry.com for mobile and being recognized for it as being best in class internationally
  • Evolved the way BlackBerry measured the digital business by creating new (and industry leading) funnels across all digital channels while building a global dashboard to aggregate and present all of it in a way that can be both digested and actioned against
  • Built relationships across the organization to positively influence and align digital user experiences to best practices.  We also improved blackbberry.com to be a best in class experience again with several enhancements that were made using analytics and research
  • Successfully led, managed and facilitated the ongoing migration of 300 websites across desktop, mobile and tablet from 3 different CMS platforms to one.   This project is not only the largest ever for Adobe CQ5, but the most complex and guess what – we are on time, on budget and still on strategy.  This is unheard of for a technical project of this scale

BlackBerry has a great comeback story that is building with each day and I’m looking forward to being among the first to buy the first BB10 device next year.

Leaving BlackBerry also means I can start blogging again with some regularity as my thoughts and opinions will no longer be perceived to be biased or somehow representing BlackBerry.  Of course a lot has changed in the last two years and I’m looking forward to being an active participant in today’s digital ecosystem.


October 23, 2012   6 Comments

Carnival of the Mobilists #201


Welcome to the 201st edition of the Carnival of the Mobilists and the second edition hosted here on my blog.

Although it’s only been a few months since my inaugural hosting, there have been lots of news in Canada has it relates to mobile. For one thing, the iphone is now available on all three major carriers in Canada now (Rogers, Bell, Telus) after Bell & Telus announced the early activation of their new national high speed HSPA network. Canada is one of the first countries globally to have this coveted device readily available to pretty much everybody.

This will have huge ramifications going into the new year for mobile in Canada – especially as it relates to the mobile web vs mobile applications discussion.

Who would have thought even 3 months ago that Canada would suddenly be an influencer in global mobile trends?

Speaking of mobile trends, the hyperbole over the Apple tablet which will further blur the definition of mobile and traditional computing is reaching manic levels of attention in the media. Randy Giusto from NewDigitalCafé thinks Android based tablets could actually be the next big thing and outlines how the latest entry into the convergence space could change your disposable income patterns in the near future.

Volker Hirsch also joins the convergence discussion with an assessment of the Nokia 5330 Mobile TV Edition. As he rightly points out, no matter how advanced and technically impressive a device is, user experience will always trump tech.

Will RIM become the new Palm with the rollout of the Droid? Palm as we know took the biggest hit when the iphone first came to market and so Francisco Kattan predicts and outlines why he believes the new Droid will also fail to impact the iphone and will instead take a bite out of the blackberry.

Mark Jaffe over at Mobile Mandala writes about the ubiquity of SMS in today’s society and explores some useful SMS push alerts that are readily available while wondering why there aren’t more.

Another area of mobile that has been slow to meet our hopes and expectations is near field communications (NFC). With so much promise to revolutionize payments, loyalty and information sharing, we aren’t nearly where we thought we would be by now. C. Enrique Ortiz provides his perspective on where the NFC industry is at and what it needs to do to start reaching its potential.

That wraps up this week’s Carnival of the Mobilists. In case you missed the Carnival last week, drop by Mobilestance and catch last week’s post.  Be sure to drop by Mobile Strategy next Monday as they are hosting Carnival of the Mobilists #202.

November 23, 2009   9 Comments

Mobile Monday recap: RIM’s App store rollout and market positioning

It was great to see another big turnout this week at Mobile Monday Toronto with over 200 people packed into the Mars venue on College street for the second month in a row.

This month’s event featured Tyler Lessard who is the Director of blackberry alliances & developer relations at RIM.

The session provided some updated information on the BlackBerry Developer and Partner Ecosystems, and the upcoming BlackBerry Application Storefront

Here are some of the highlights:

  • App store is scheduled to launch in March 2009
  • Apps can be ad supported
  • Developers can distribute apps any way they wish… and do not need to be exclusive to their App store.
  • Not intent on blocking Apps… but they need to be mindful of Apps that may impact network stability. Does this mean Adult oriented Apps will be accepted?
  • North America, UK or English speaking Europe will be the first priority
  • Expansion into broad set of languages with an international platform will roll out “soon” after initial launch
  • Developers can choose what carrier and device to optimize for… one sign that it’s difficult to build once for all? Why else would you need that?
  • Alerting feature on device will enable one-click to update Apps
  • No mention of whether or not subscription fees will be possible, but developers will be able to set their own price (including zero)
  • Consumer storefront is the primary focus – and App categories will reflect that
  • Payments will be made through paypal
  • Push to Java apps coming soon – which will be fantastic as Apps can auto-update without forcing user to go through multiple-steps
  • Today they have over 100,000 developers on their platform and expect that to grow once the App store is released
  • Tyler spoke to the growing importance of context, personalization and social integration

One of my favorite quotes from the evening was when Tyler said he believes the App store will change the way people use their mobile device. I couldn’t help but think… ummm hasn’t that already happened?

Even though RIM is a bit late in coming to the App store party, they have an opportunity to capitalize on  industry momentum – assuming they have applied sufficient energy into usability and focus on launching with a deep and rich applications.

February 5, 2009   2 Comments

First look at the blackberry storm – better than expected

Check out the video preview below of the new blackberry storm – coming soon from Bell and Telus in Canada.

Overall the touch screen looks impressive with its “tactile” enhanced keyboard – although it’s ironic that zoom in and out and other common features are menu driven instead of touch, pinch, or pull driven like the iphone.

Having said that, full marks for a great looking camera with flash and gosh – a copy and paste option – something iphone users have been begging for from day one.

November 26, 2008   2 Comments

iphone sales top blackberry… but here comes the gphone

Although it’s impressive that the iphone outsold the blackberry and it’s also impressive that the gphone has 1.5 million pre-orders, keep the following in mind:

  1. RIM has not been able to launch the Blackberry BOLD in the U.S. (the largest market for them) due to issues AT&T has been having with certifying it. If the BOLD had been on sale the last few months as expected, the numbers would look very different
  2. RIM is releasing a few new consumer driven devices over the next two months including the new clam-shell pearl, a curve with push to talk, and the thunder – RIM’s touch screen version meant to compete with iphone head-on
  3. Don’t confuse pre-orders by a carrier with sales to consumers. They’re very different… and most initial reports on the gphone say it’s no iphone killer as it’s heavier, clunkier and the interface is nothing new or innovative. No word yet on who will be the first carrier in Canada to carry it either.

2009 is shaping up to be the year of the smartphone as all the major players are releasing “iphone killers” and you can expect Apple to have a few surprises of their own. More competition and choice can only mean good things for consumers. 

October 26, 2008   No Comments

iphone no longer just a fashion accessory


Many people buy Apple products because they are great fashion accessories.

The ultimate fashion accessory was big news last week as Steve Jobs announced the much anticipated SDK (software developer kit) for the iphone which will allow developers to create applications, utilities, and games leveraging the same platform Apple used to create their own widgets. Starting in June of this year, consumers won’t have to “jailbreak” their phone in order to customize it.

Also starting this June, enterprise users will no longer have to beg their I.T. / technical support department to open up the corporate email server to hackers and SPAM attacks in order for them to access their email from their nifty iphone.

The iphone will be getting some proper business chops.  

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March 11, 2008   2 Comments