A Short Story About I.T. “Professionals”

Rant

This is a rant.

I work for a regional investment consulting firm with over 8 billion dollars in assets under advisement, over 90 institutional clients, and 35 employees. I am the director of business development there and our firm recently selected a new I.T. vendor to help us with some hosted applications, a file server, some network printing, and the like. (For anyone who thinks my job sounds cool, please PM me and I will relieve you of that mistaken idea.)

My job isn't THIS bad...
My job isn’t THIS bad…

Our company recently had a conference call with the vendor where we went over the DNS (domain name server) cut-over plans, part of which covered using email with mobile devices. I was participating on ‘mute,’ expecting that I would not be required to contribute anything as I am merely a user and since I don’t participate in the hosted applications or managed desktop environments, my requirements are few. I was leaving the bathroom, talking with a guy in our building when my name was called, so I touched the mute button between the volume buttons on my Z10 and asked what was needed of me. One of the I.T. consultants asked if I was still using a BlackBerry and I told them I was. They commented about how I could get my email and I told them I have been using MS Exchange server for the past few years and since they were going to continue with that, I would just need the domain name and server address and I should be fine. Then they asked why I was still using BlackBerry to which I replied that I didn’t think the partners of my firm wanted to spend time on the call discussing this (our entire company was on the call), but that BB10 is the most secure, efficient mobile OS available and I said I expect BBRY to be around for a long time to come. Someone mumbled something in the background and then one of the consultants said “it’s nice to talk with the last living BBRY user,” and the consultants had a hearty laugh and we moved on to another topic.

Shout out to the Z10! I still use it and love it!
Shout out to the Z10! I still use it and love it!

I am an introvert, which according to the inventor of the term, Carl Jung PhD, means in part that I process emotions more slowly than others, and I found myself frustrated initially and then getting progressively more angry until I was almost irate about 20 minutes later. I sat down at my computer and contacted the firm via their website and asked for the names of the people on the call. Shortly thereafter, I received a note from someone claiming to be our account rep and he gave me the names and email addresses of the three consultants. I sat down fuming and wrote the email you see below, word for word, having only changed the names of the people and my company. I looked at it and edited it and looked at it some more. I tried to make sure I was striking the appropriate balance of being firm but also being professional. This is what I ended up with.

Hello

During our conference call earlier today, I was asked “why I still use a BlackBerry” by Steve or John and then was told by Jane that “it’s nice to talk with the last remaining BlackBerry user,” while everyone had a laugh at my expense. My issue was not with the initial question “Why do you use BlackBerry,” because that may have been a sincere one, I don’t know. My issue is with how the question was handled immediately afterwards.

There are many thoughts I have on this, but I don’t have a lot of time to enumerate and expand on them, however, I am going to be quite candid with you, as your customer, and share some thoughts.

1) It is utterly unprofessional to attempt to humiliate me in this manner. Who do you think you are? Do you really want to discuss the technical merits of the BB10 platform vs iOS or the Android operating systems? If so, I am ready for that discussion. Clearly that is not why you asked the question, because you would not have done so during that public call. Do you support BB10 or not? If not, why haven’t I been told? If so, why do you ask the question? If someone wants to talk technologically about the different mobile platforms, that is a fun discussion to have. What happened on the call this morning was ridicule for using a platform the general (uninformed) public believes is “dead.”

2) As an I.T. “Professional,” I would expect you to be more informed. BB10 is the most secure, efficient mobile OS on the market today. It supports over 90% of all Android apps, which are easily downloadable through the Amazon app store, which comes pre-loaded on BB10 devices. The time when BBRY was behind technologically has long since passed. Current BB10 devices are far superior; BBRY’s market share issue in the US is not one of technology, it’s one of marketing and mindshare. (If you have any questions about my claims regarding BB10, feel free to ask)

3) As an “independent” I.T. services firm, you should be platform neutral. I spent several years with a large, multinational I.T. firm, supporting several larger customers in the banking, finance and securities industries as a very small cog in the marketing division. Even though we offered branded hardware and software, we still needed to be sensitive to disparaging what a customer was already using. When you disparage a person’s decision you disparage the person. I have been using email via the MS exchange server for the several years I have been with this firm. If you believe my choice puts the [my company] system in jeopardy then speak up, otherwise, you shouldn’t care what phone I use; be quiet and do your job.

There is NO action I want you to take at this point because I don’t want my personal dissatisfaction to have any impact on the overall work your firm is doing for [my company]. In the big picture, this is an irrelevant issue since I will easily be able to continue using my phone. However, I would suggest you consider what I’ve said for future engagements. It is not unusual for technology people to require customer service training.

James

I thought I gave it to them good!
I thought I gave it to them good!

I hit send and waited for the fireworks. Leaving out some minor drama with some back and forth regarding whether a help desk ticket needed to be opened, and several phone calls and hangups made to my office phone, I finally received a call a few hours later from their President and CEO who was very apologetic and embarrassed. He said he believed and supported “every word in my email,” and that “nothing like this will ever happen again.” He claimed his firm absolutely supports BlackBerry and that “this language is in all [their] contracts,” and said his people have been reprimanded and that they will get the customer service training I mentioned they probably needed. Basically, he said all the things I would have said in the same position and he did it in a very serious and sincere fashion.

Personal Assurance

This story has a quasi-happy ending for me, but the larger issue is one that I know none of you serious BBRY fans are surprised to hear, which is, a solid I.T. Services company has consultants running around who have a negative attitude about BlackBerry and apparently ostracizing BBRY users! I am quite confident those consultants at this particular company will no longer be engaging in this stupid and unethical behavior, but if I didn’t respond so strongly, maybe they still would! How many other firms are there like this and how many other I.T. “professionals” are discouraging people from using the BBRY platform!? And if Gellar, as big an iDiot as he is, or CB, or Not4 are going to crap on BBRY, I am not surprised, but an “independent” I.T. consultant!? Jeesh!

Troll-300x291

I guess we all fight the battle for BBRY in our own ways. Just being a member of UTB is a good start! I must say that until I got involved with UTB, I was getting really bad information from ClickBaitBerry and would not have been armed to respond to this situation as confidently as I did. When you encounter these trolls, whether online or in person, and whether they have credentials or are just run-of-the-mill idiots, don’t miss your chance to be as professional as you can but to put them in their place! Call them out for being idiots!

james pisano

RIM/BB fan since 2009. Wouldn't consider entrusting my career, life or privacy to another platform. Foremost, I am a student of life. Some likes: longboarding, nature, Baltimore Orioles, technology, driving, music, reading and Taoism. Politically independent.

Top