I have noticed an alarming trend in the BlackBerry community. I’m sure it’s always been there, in some form or another, but it seems that people are getting much more vocal about it. And I think it is time for a bit of a reality check.

Reality... It's a GOOD thing...
Reality… It’s a GOOD thing…

Let me start with an example. I had a conversation with a developer today through social media. I had spotted him calling out to BlackBerry, complaining about what he sees as a lack of effort by BlackBerry to support developers. Specifically, he had obtained the coveted “Built for BlackBerry” status and had expectations that to me were unrealistic. His issue was that his app had not achieved the amount of downloads that he would consider acceptable. Me being the person I am, saw what I saw as negative commentary towards BlackBerry and of course had to jump in and figure out what was going on. After all… this was a developer of a Built for BlackBerry app that was not happy. But why?

After some conversation, it seems that this developer wants BlackBerry to market his app for him. Being in the Built for BlackBerry category is simply not enough for him. If I understand correctly, he wants BlackBerry to build a suite of apps from developers, and market these apps to enterprise customers. Now… before I get too carried away, I am leaving the developer unnamed because honestly, he seems like a nice guy who is developing for BlackBerry. I would rather support him than fight him.

We spoke about his expectations for his app, and how he was in the red as far as costs to create vs what he has earned off of downloads.  I was having to bite my tongue a bit at the beginning because he was accusing BlackBerry for his lack of downloads. As we were speaking, I went and purchased his app.

Without going in to specifics of his app (let’s call it a utilities app) it serves a specific function, and a function that is served by numerous apps in BlackBerry World. He’s competing with free apps and 99 cent apps. His app costs $1.99. Additionally, his app has not been updated since November of last year, and his most recent reviews are saying that the app does not work. These are major strikes against getting downloads. Absolutely none of these issues are the fault of BlackBerry. In all fairness to the developer, I downloaded the app, I tried it. It’s a nice native app. You can tell time was spent on it. It works perfectly. I could not get the errors that the reviewers said they got.

It’s not just a few disappointed developers. I have seen bloggers calling out to BlackBerry telling them how to do things. Calling for BlackBerry to have functions, to focus on the consumer, to have kiosks in malls and colleges, to add every new function and every highest spec to each device. Truthfully, I would LOVE to see this happen. But let’s be realistic here…

BlackBerry is a company in transition. They are in the middle of a turnaround. BlackBerry has been bleeding money, and needs to stop bleeding, and start earning again. BlackBerry is not Apple or Google with deep pockets to spend willy nilly. They need to be strategic regarding where this money is invested, to where they can get the highest return, and with that return, have more money to spend on the next phase. This is reality. And I don’t understand how so many of our community, those with the loudest of voices it sometimes seems, have such a lack of sense of reality, but a huge sense of entitlement.

Look what BlackBerry has done with the Z3. It was a pinpoint strategy. They designed and built the right phone for the right market, with the right partners, and the right marketing. And it has been a success. Enough to pull BlackBerry out of the hole it’s been in for the last year? Probably not. But one big step in getting there. And a step that will lead to the next step.

We live in a “Want it now!” time. I understand that. And when it comes to my BlackBerry devices, I too want it now. But would I rather wait for it, and continue to have it in the future? Or get it now and not have any BlackBerry 2 years from now. The answer is obvious to me. I’m more concerned about the future of BlackBerry than having the highest megapixel camera, or having a fair to go to with other BlackBerry fans this year.

I’m pleading with the BlackBerry community. Developers and bloggers. You chose this path because you liked BlackBerry.

You chose BlackBerry.

We know that BlackBerry is fighting for a return to greatness. And with Chen at the helm, this is more than just a possibility now. It is happening. And when known people in the BlackBerry community make attacks on BlackBerry pretending that they know how to run the company better than our man Chen, that does not help BlackBerry, the community, or your chances of having a new BlackBerry flagship with all the bells and whistles you ‘want now’. It makes you no better than Jonathon Geller over at BGR who trolls BlackBerry just for fun.

As a former employer of mine used to say, “Do you want to be part of the solution, or part of the problem?”

I will be part of the solution. How about you?

And while we’re at it…

Suck it Geller.


BlackBerry Elite Founder & Owner of UTB Blogs and UTB Geek. When I'm not talking or writing about BlackBerry, you'll find me using my BlackBerry.

  • nnik

    Great observation Brad! And I really like the “suck it Geller ” at the end, that idiot really needs to get a life

  • Gnomesane

    Well said.

  • twstd.reality

    So true these days and IMO a fault of the current landscape of society as a whole.

    I was in an engineering R&D seminar a couple weeks ago and there were some people who basically wanted the test company to do their jobs for them. They provide the tools and equipment. It’s up to you to get the leg work done to do your job and bring successful products to the market based on your goals and requirements.

  • Canuckvoip

    Not sure if it’s a youth culture thing, or because technology is so entrenched now (making things easier).
    But there it is… that sense of entitlement… growing like so many unemployed… looking for handouts. It’s dangerous for humanity to get used to such a thing.
    Sad really…

  • ital1

    What really upsets me is when those who claim to support the brand take to social media with their entitlement, without realizing that it has the potential to be shared exponentially and foster additional negativity. Under John Chen BlackBerry has been very transparent about their priorities, and their commitment to both the enterprise and the consumer spaces. In a few months OS 10.3 will be here; with what we have seen so far, this is going to be a very big update. My Z30 running 10.2.1 does everything that I could ask of it, thus I am not missing a thing. I wish some people would realize how good the current OS is and how well it works with the devices and have a bit of patience.

  • Well said Brad. I am familiar with this “entitlement” phenomenon, but from the BB user community rather than from developers. Fortunately, I have not had to suffer through it since becoming a member of UTB, but at another site it was pretty rampant. It’s tough because all BB users want BB to succeed (presumably), but sometimes in their zeal, they go too far and complain about BB and become derogatory voices that potentially hurt the brand.

    I’m happy to be part of an endeavor (UTB) that has at it’s core, the objective of supporting BB’s long term success.

  • Undbiter65

    Spot on Bradford. It’s sad a whole blog had to be done about this when it should be common sense.

  • G-bone

    Well written, well thought out article.
    Geller should indeed suck it. That thought could be the closing for all articles. A sort of mantra if you will. Our little version of a well known Saturday Night Live skit…


    • Brad

      Jane you ignorant….

      Am I on the right track?

  • Vorkosigan

    Great article Brad. I’ve noticed this from users though not so much from Devs. Makes you shake your head some of the things people think they should get.

    • Brad

      The vast majority of devs I know are very pro BlackBerry and are either a) in it just as I am, looking forward to BlackBerry’s success, or b) actually enjoying the downloads they are getting.

      With the amount of apps that are lifeless with 0 downloads in Google’s and Apple’s app stores, I am surprised to see BlackBerry developers speaking out like this. Again, I’m not being harsh about the developer. Seems like a great guy with a good app. Just unrealistic expectations.

  • ray689

    Great article Brad. To add to this, I was also in discussion with this same developer and even offered that we at UTB review and showcase his app. Of course he did not respond to that. People can sit around and complain but if they aren’t going to take an opportunity to help fix their problem then they lose all credibility in my eyes.

  • PING

    Point well made, I’d say it’s not a new phenomenon but one that needed to be addressed. Many people including myself are putting ideas forward. To ensure that the thought/idea, at least gets processed. But it’s BlackBerry and Chen who decide how to run the Co. I for one am happy about that.

    • Brad

      Ideas are great! We all have them. But to then bash BlackBerry for not taking those ideas and acting on them immediately if at all? Ridiculous and immature.

      I’m reminded of college kids. You’re getting an education, you’re learning what amounts to a small amount of information in the big picture. All theory and books with no practical knowledge outside a lab here or there. But that small slice of knowledge gives the impression that they know everything. And the reality is, they need to get out in to the real world and have reality slap them in their fresh faces a few times before they will really begin to learn.

      Chen is proven. He knows what he’s doing. And there should be no expectation that he should listen to those of us sitting behind keyboards thinking we can do it better. If we could, we would be, not just judging those who are.

      Oops… sorry. I think I strayed in to another blog post. We’ll, guess I don’t need to do that one now. :)

      • PING

        You’ll find no argument from me :) I agree 100%. Thanks, keep doing what you do!

  • newcollector

    Well said, Brad. Every person has an opinion. The problem comes from people who think their opinion is the end all and be all of a discussion no matter what the facts indicate.

    Personally, I liked the professionalism of the article. Unfortunately you descended into immaturity with your aside toward BGR. It smacks of stooping to his level and gives him more attention than he deserves. Just my opinion, so you know what that is worth. ;) :)