Thorsten has no regrets


An interview with Thorsten turned up on CNET today:

Looks like he wants to claim credit for designing the Passport. We do tend to forget who was at the helm during the design phase, what exactly his contribution was is not known. But he does curiously use the word “I” as if he were a design engineer. Kinda doubt that but I’m sure he had veto authority. At any rate, well done!

Q: As the CEO of BlackBerry, you tried something that ultimately didn’t work. What do you think you can bring to Powermat to help it succeed?
Heins: My experience in wireless goes way back in my career. I’ve always loved wireless. With all the growth in Powermat ahead of it, we need to scale. That requires operational skills. Given what I’ve learned at Siemens, and then at BlackBerry, when we had phenomenal growth between 2009 and 2010 where we had to scale dramatically, that [experience] will be a big deal for Powermat.

Q: Any regrets about your time at BlackBerry?
Heins: I have no regrets about my seven years at BlackBerry. I had a fantastic time there. And I’m especially proud of the last two years.

When I took over as CEO, it was a tumultuous time. I had to stabilize the company, financials, strategic direction, cost and operations. And I had to do all this while innovating on BB10 [BlackBerry 10], taking BBM [BlackBerry Messenger] cross platform and introducing BES [BlackBerry Enterprise Server] 10.

I was restructuring the company while asking people who remained to run huge programs under huge pressure.

I’ve been proud to lay groundwork to give them the platforms that they can take to market. I think it’s quite an achievement given the circumstances.

Q: What do you think of John Chen?
Heins: I will not judge John Chen and what he’s doing. He’s a very capable manager and CEO. He’s executing on a strategy based on these [platforms] I was talking about. He has to complete the turnaround. He’s working diligently.

I wish them all of the best success. They will have to work to look at where…they go from here. With components they have [in] areas like the Internet of things and secure networking, there is space to go. I wish him the success they deserve.

Q: So are you going to pick up the phone and call up your old buddies there to get wireless charging in BlackBerrys?
Heins: (chuckles) BlackBerry and Powermat were actually talking way earlier than this announcement. They’ve been in discussions for more than a year. But with BB10 and NFC [near-field communications], there was only so much you can impose when you build a new hardware and platform.

Q: So what phone do you use now?
Heins: I use the [BlackBerry] 9982, the Porsche version of the Z10. But I just received a package at home with a new Passport.

It was the last phone I designed with my team. That keyboard as a touchpad — it’s so cool.


I am a long time BlackBerry user and fan. Beginning with the 7520, I have recognized the value of subtle productivity enhancements in BlackBerry devices for business communication and have never since strayed. Even when the iPhone took the market by storm, I was unimpressed, because it did nothing to help my business needs. Currently enjoying my one handed dream phone, the Classic! BB10 with a toolbelt! Today I contribute to UTB whenever I feel that I can help enlighten someone on the benefits of using BlackBerry over any other platform.