Tag Archives: Professional

It is Easy to Do Something, Difficult to do the Right Thing

Post-Graduate Blues

I graduated two years ago from college and there is one striking observation that I think warrants some attention. College graduates really have it tough nowadays. If you take a moment to skim the headlines, it is easy to realize that the state of post-graduates in talked about in the news fairly regularly. You’ll hear stories about how graduates are having a hard time finding employment and you’ll hear stories about how graduates are being underemployed, which is to say that their current employment under-utilizes the skills gained from their expensive education. For instance, no one went to school for four years with the intention of becoming a barista at Starbucks. Nonetheless, you’ll also hear a lot of stories about graduates who are employed. While I haven’t been under-employed, I do fall into the other two categories. Now, more then ever, I truly believe that graduates have to make their way through there post-graduate lives with a focus on the center.

Leaning Your Ladder Against the Wrong Wall

Two years out of college, I’ve realized that it is very easy to do something, but it’s very difficult to do the right thing. I’ll explain this further. Have you ever gotten so caught up, that it has really felt like momentum has pushed you forward rather than desire? I think that it is very easy to get comfortable with something gives you a certain sense of security. When you’re in that state of comfort, it can be very easy to keep working on something further, if only because it is providing you a sense of achievement. The scary part happens when you take a moment of pause and reflection. I think that many people at a point like this likely have more questions than answers. If you’re walking up a ladder, then you’re making progress towards the top, but if you make it to the top and find that you’ve leaned your ladder against an incorrect wall, then that progress can become less significant. It is easy to do something and it’s normal to want to find that position of security, but I think that it’s more important to focus on and to do what feels right. It takes aptitude to do something well, but courage to do something great… and something great doesn’t have to be big. It just has to be right.


Why I Bought a Blackberry Z10


A couple of weeks ago I found myself in need of a new phone so I started weighing the different options. We live in pretty incredible time when there is no shortage of smartphone options. You can go with the iPhone, which at this point is a seasoned veteran. You can go with Android, which is arguably the cool younger brother which is constantly on the cutting edge of tech, as its supported by such innovative companies as HTC and Samsung. You can go with a nice, yet misunderstood relative, such as the Windows Phone or in my case you can go with the old Blackberry, which at this point is arguably on life support. 

I have written a lot about Blackberry (formerly known as RIM) in the past and my comments while positive, have been put against the back wall of failure. There is no shortage of news about Blackberry facing the threat of financial failure, massive layoffs, and the simple fact of being irrelevant. In a few weeks, a financial deal is likely to go through in which a financial subsidiary of Blackberry is likely to purchase the company at a massive discount. This all being said why would anyone elect to purchase a Blackberry at this point, whether it be the Q10, Q5, Z10, or Z30? The answer isn’t that complicated.

After having done my research in weighing the options and having the Blackberry Z10 for a little over a week now, I have to tell people that the Blackberry Z10 is a solid phone with a very innovative and professionally driven Blackberry OS 10. The operating system on the Blackberry Z10 is fundamentally different from iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. I make the argument that it is vastly superior and the future of the mobile OS. It is just simply fluid and intuitive. It is an interface that simply stays out of your way and let’s you do what you want to do, both quickly and effectively. It also goes without saying that Blackberry is still the gold standard of business. It is designed with professionalism in my mind and for me it still feels like the phone you take into work.

Phone Design

This isn’t meant to be a phone review, but I’ll talk a little about the phone design. I bought the Blackberry Z10 (Black) and there’s very little you can criticize about the phone’s appearance. It is simple, but elegant. Every feature meshes together to present you with a solid package. While some might argue that the phone is lacking in design, the aesthetic is still enough to draw the attention of anyone. It feels great in the hand and it is a phone you will always be happy to pick up.

Blackberry OS 10 (QNX OS)

The principal reason I bought and like the Blackberry Z10 is because of BB OS 10. In my opinion, the QNX based OS is vastly superior the the other smartphone platforms out there. As always, I’ll name my five favorite features in BB OS 10.

BlackBerry  Z10

1. Blackberry Hub

Blackberry Hub is a feature that lives to the left of your OS. You simply have to swipe from the left at any screen to bring it up and see your calendar, as well as all of your messages, notifications and e-mails. All of your communications live in one location on your device. This is so incredibly useful and intuitive. You can view everything in one big pile or you can view them by type or account. Blackberry Hub makes it simple to use your phone as a phone and it’s arguably my most favorite feature of BB OS 10.

2. A Truly Gesture Based OS

Essentially everything on the Blackberry z10 can be completed with a simple motion. It allows you to control your applications, currently running applications, and your phone in general, with simple gestures that truly make you feel like you are in control of your phone. Once you have gotten used to the gestures on BB OS 10, iOS and even Android will feel slightly archaic or even in some aspects overly complicated.

3. Android OS Included

It is true Android comes preinstalled with every BB OS 10. The architecture of BB OS 10 allows you to essentially run both operating systems in a non-obtrusive way. You’ll rarely ever notice that you are running an Android application. It just works and with new releases of the OS in the form of updates you will always be up-to-date with the latest Android OS. You can find Android apps on Blackberry World, but you can also sideload them onto the Blackberry Z10 with a little ingenuity. Google search the topic for instructions.

4. Evernote and Dropbox Integration Included by Default

It is features like this that reminds you that this is a phone targeted at the professional community. Blackberry OS 10 comes preinstalled with support for Evernote and Dropbox. Evernote syncs in with the Remember application and your Dropbox folder syncs in with the file manager. In this way, neither Evernote or Dropbox feel like separate apps living in their own space. They feel like integral parts of the operating system that once again contributes to the fluidity of the OS.

5. Minimalist OS

One of the key reasons why I gravitated to the Blackberry Z10 is because of its (in my opinion) minimalist design. Unlike iOS and Android, it is not trying to be a phone for everyone. It is clearly a device targeted at the professional community and acts as such. This is not to say that the phone does not have mainstream appeal, but rather that it fulfills its principal purpose first, before giving attention to other uses. I can use the Blackberry Z10 without getting caught up or distracted by a million different applications or a very flashy operating system.

The Negatives and Personal Phone Choice

The truth is that while I am making a positive argument for the Blackberry, I am not denying that the Blackberry has its negatives. I’ll even name a few. The battery life leaves much to be desired. I rarely make it through a whole day without having to charge the phone. The Blackberry app store is lacking in a major way. If one of your primary necessities in a phone is a rich app store, then you are not going to find that in the Blackberry right now. While the phone does have all of the basics, you’ll find yourself browsing through an app graveyard when you click on the Blackberry World icon. To name just one more the Blackberry Z10 screen often appears dim and while you might want to maximize the brightness, this is often undesirable given the battery life hit you will inevitably take. For me the positives outweigh the negatives.

I value a simplistic, minimalist and professional phone. The Blackberry z10 and BB10 provide this for me. For anyone interested in getting a Blackberry, I would say do your research and know what you are getting into. If you decide to go through with the purchase, then you will not be disappointed. With so many smartphone options out in the market right now, the right phone for you really comes down to what your needs are and what you would like in your phone. iOS and Android might be the two goliaths out there right now, but oftentimes you will find a great deal of value in one of Davids. BB10 for me is a vastly superior mobile operating system and I hope that Blackberry lives on to continue to innovate on it. 

P.S: It is my hope that Blackberry reconsiders releasing BB10 for the Blackberry Playbook because it is still one of the devices I use the most and I believe that with a refocusing and better management at Blackberry, the Playbook along with the new BB10 Blackberry Phones do have the potential to resurrect the company. 

A Post-Mortem for Blackberry

The Blackberry Q10, us.blackberry.com

The Past

A few years ago if you heard the word Blackberry you automatically associated it with professionalism and highly-polished smartphones. As far as messaging and e-mail were concerned, Blackberry did both best. The Blackberry was the corporate device that had a great deal of appeal to the general consumer base. It’s messaging capability made it very popular amongst the younger crowd. This was surely something that Blackberry (RIM at the time) did not foresee happening, but the truth is that the Blackberry was very popular with teenagers and young adults. Even to the present day, the Blackberry (the brand) is highly valued and respected, but has clearly fallen by the way side when compared to brands, such as Apple and Samsung.

The Present

It’s not news that Blackberry has been on the decline for a number of years now. Blackberry has already announced that it is up for sale, following abysmal sales of it’s new flagship phones, the Blackberry Z10 and the Blackberry Q10. The key phrase is that Blackberry has done too little much too late.  Blackberry is hemorrhaging money and one has to wonder whether or not the property will be bought before it’s strictly in the red. The most valued asset has to be the Blackberry name, which is still a valued brand. Aside from that, one has to wonder if Blackberry’s patents, phones, tablet, and team are desired enough to attract the attention of potential buyers. Blackberry’s story is really a tragic tale of how inactivity and sluggishness can lead to failure.

The Post-Mortem

Slow Response to iPhone

When we take a look at what’s lead to the downfall of Blackberry there are several problems we can focus our attention on. One of the biggest problems was RIM’s response to the debut and release of the original iPhone back in 2008. What was their response? It was nothing. While companies, such as Samsung, immediately started working on new phones that sought to mimic the functionality that Apple was offering and other companies, such as Microsoft, sought to innovate in new directions, Blackberry (then RIM) did absolutely nothing. One can even say that they had done absolutely nothing up until their two handsets release now in 2013. Blackberry did nothing to compete with revolution in smart phones following the release of the iPhone. There have really only been two attempts by Blackberry to compete with the iPhone, prior to 2013. The first was the Blackberry Torch and the second was the Blackberry Storm, which were both failures because all that Blackberry did was to put a touchscreen on their phones. That’s it. They saw the iPhone and decided that in order to compete all they needed was a touch screen. This isn’t the kind of response  you would expect from a well-established and reputable company.

Resting on Corporate Business

Blackberry has essentially coasted on its corporate business for the last few years. The Blackberry was not going to be easily displaced in the work place so perhaps RIM thought that Apple, Samsung, Google, Microsoft and several other companies weren’t a threat to it’s business, but clearly management was over-confident. What we’ve come to realize is that as phones, such as the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy, become popular to general consumers, demand arises in the corporate setting. Corporations and government agencies were secure with the Blackberry, but as other smartphone’s quickly far advanced the phones offered by Blackberry they became more open to change. RIM was short sighted to think that focusing on their corporate business would be enough to stifle the advance of vastly superior smartphones.

The Blackberry App Marketplace

Blackberry’s app marketplace to this very day is abysmal. When I turn on my Blackberry Playbook and visit the Blackberry World Marketplace, I find myself journeying through a desert of destitute apps. There is dearth of apps that is so blatant it would lead a consumer to believe that the enterprise had been abandoned. Developers have simply not adopted the Blackberry platform. Blackberry was smart to have allowed Android apps to run on both the Blackberry Playbook, Q10, and Z10, but even that was simply not enough. It’s the theme of this post-mortem. It’s simply been too little and much too late.

A Non-Mainstream Tablet

I do have to admit that I am a Blackberry Playbook user and while I’ve had problems with Blackberry support in the past, I still enjoy my Playbook. It does everything that I need it to do and it does it well. The Blackberry Playbook has had a lot of problems. It was again another device that was late to the market. With the iPad and a large proliferation of Android tablets, the argument for a Blackberry tablet was weak. Aside from this the Blackberry Playbook, from the viewpoint of a user, is not much a mainstream tablet. There just simply isn’t that much you can do with it and with a destitute app store there isn’t much functionality that can be added to it. It’s not like an iPad or an Android tablet, where the app store can extends appeal to just about anyone. We’ve come to realize that a device lives or dies with its app store and if platform lacks it, it will surely struggle to gain in popularity.

Blackberry Messenger, BBM

A few days ago Blackberry debuted its Blackberry Messenger app, which brings the BBM functionality of the Blackberry to both iOS and Android. This is a great move by Blackberry, but once again, it’s much too little, much too late. Knowing that Blackberry is looking for a buyer, this is almost an attempt to gasp for air. This might have been a great move on Blackberry’s part had it happened a few years ago, but simply comes across as forced now. Aside from this, I just don’t see anyone adopting the application. Why would anyone? There are so many other solutions out their now that I don’t see anyone sincerely having interest in BBM, which might be associated with the earlier part of the past decade.


These have just been a few of Blackberry’s many problems which I decided would make up a great look into the post-mortem of Blackberry. I believe the company to be dead, but, of course, you could argue it’s simply on life-support. Whatever the case, if a buyer does not present itself soon, then surely Blackberry will be on its last knees. I’m sure that this will be a business case that will be studied for many years by business students as a prime example of how a company can shut down and simply fade away through inactivity.

Top 5 Features I Want to See From Linkedin

1. More Graphical Representations of Job History and Data

With the most recent incarnation of Linkedin, the team has managed to include many more graphical representations of data, but I would like to see a lot more. The ability to graphically see how you’re connected to a particular member is great. The ability to add digital media to job history entries was not only a great addition, but also essential, especially to those in creative industries. Further, the graphic that displays your skills and subsequent endorsements has taken the recommendation feature of Linkedin to a much more baseline level. It’s a snapshot of the synthesis of one’s recommendations. Despite the above, I look at sites such as Re.vu, which is a service that allows you to create a digital/interactive resume, and see a lot of features that are lacking in Linkedin. For instance, the timeline feature of Re.vu gives a person an immediate snapshot overview of a person’s professional history. It’s an effective way of immediately giving a prospective employer or anyone a great, rough sketch of where a person has been and where they’re heading. These kind of graphics are what I would like to see in the future from Linkedin. Of course, in the meantime I’d recommend that everyone take a look at Re.vu. I have a profile there and the great thing about Re.vu is that it has import tool that makes it very easy to create a profile from your Linkedin profile. It’s the perfect professional companion to Linkedin.

2. Widgets, Such as Twitter and other Blogging Services

Prior to the most recent Linkedin update, the site offered many options for addition of third party services as well as social media integration. In the aftermath, it seems that most if not all of these optional additions have been removed and though it was my hope that by now they would be added back; they have not. I am thankful though that my WordPress automatic posting to my Linkedin profile still works. I would like to see greater customization of Linkedin profiles through the use of widgets. I think it’s a great way to keep a Linkedin profile dynamic and to demonstrate a person’s abilities. Blogging, for instance, helps a potential applicant to demonstrate that they are up to date with current events and can help to fill in gaps in employment.

3. HTML Embed Codes

I think that Linkedin should make there HTML embed codes more prevalent to users so that they can make they’re Linkedin profiles more easily viewable on personal websites and blogs. I utilize this feature already, but it did take me a bit of Google searching in order to find my own personal code that would work. I think that Linkedin should make this more accessible to users by including it in the user settings.

4. Lower Price for Premium Features

I think that Linkedin would see a higher subscription rate for their offerings of premium accounts is they offered a tier at lower rates. I’m not attempting to say that $19.95/mo for a basic job seeker account is unreasonable, but given prolonged unemployment times, it might be best to start out at a lower rate. I for one would be much more receptive to continuing my premium subscription if the basic rate was lowered by 25%.

5. Linkedin Storage for Files

The way Linkedin functions right now, you aren’t able to store any files on Linkedin. Everything has to be linked to from somewhere else. This itself isn’t that big of a problem. Many users, such as myself, obviously circumvent this problem by storing files on a cloud solution such as Dropbox and linking to files there. There are obviously also many other options, such as, Google Drive, Sugarsync, Box.net, and Amazon Cloud storage. I think that Linkedin should include some degree of storage in order to make these already present features more accessible for less tech-savvy users.

%d bloggers like this: