Monthly Archive: March 2010

Adam’s rib

Nick Waddell, editor of the Dollarton Cantech Letter, has done a great job in his April edition. In addition to a Q&A with me about my book, the package also contains reminiscences by Adam Adamou. Adamou was the first investor Jim Balsillie told his story to during a one-day Bay Street blitz to raise capital in 1996. That part is in my book. Adamou’s version of events is both hilarious and offers a lesson to early-stage investors. Here’s the link.

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Some chicken, some neck

If you live in Mississauga or Brampton (and one million people do) tune in on Thursday at 2 p.m. for In Business with David Wojcik. The half-hour segment on Rogers Cable Channel 10 also features telecom analyst Lawrence Surtees. Surtees explains why Nortel failed; I talk about how Research In Motion succeeded. In the show taped today we both agreed on one thing: the best technology CEOs in Canada right now are RIM’s Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie. We are good company. Barron’s today announced that Mike and Jim are on the magazine’s list of the the 30 most respected...

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I was Heather Reisman

Of all the prestigious invitations issued to authors, at the top of the list is an interview with Heather Reisman. The event takes place every month or so at the flagship Indigo store in mid-town Toronto at Bay and Bloor. Elizabeth Gilbert and Jack Welch are among the five-star authors who have been interviewed by the CEO of Indigo in front of an audience and then stay on to sign books. I’ve never been invited; that’s how I know it’s prestigious. But today I went one better: I was Heather Reisman. Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts and author of...

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Inspiration and perspiration

Last night I spoke at the Rotman School of Management about my new book. About 110 attendees bought a book and more than half of them lined up to have it autographed. Another 25 people were there to hear the half-hour talk and the Q&A that followed. I was surprised at the breadth and diversity of the audience. One couple had driven 45 minutes from Newmarket, there was a recent PhD grad from McGill, a freelance writer, a smattering of lawyers and accountants, small business owners, teachers, a RIM employee and many others who were giving the book to a...

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Radio GaGa

In the last two weeks I’ve talked about my new book on more than 40 radio stations across Canada from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island. The most efficient time spent was doing what’s called Radio Syndication at CBC. From a Toronto studio the size of a broom closet I taped 11 ten-minute interviews, one after another, in a three-hour blitz.┬áThe marathon included Corner Brook, Sydney, Sudbury, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Yellowknife, Vancouver, Prince George/Prince Rupert, Kelowna and Victoria. The hosts in all 40+ cases were, without fail, genial and gracious. Radio is a great connector in this country. Hockey might be Canada’s...

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The invisible giant

Of all the themes I encountered during the the four years I spent researching my new book on BlackBerry, the most repetitive was this: Research In Motion has done fine, but it’s all over. Or, BlackBerry has done well but there’s a new rival on the scene that will end the device’s supremacy. A variation appears in today’s Globe and Mail in a piece written by Simon Avery, an able journalist who has been covering technology for more than a decade. Today’s version of the thesis is that RIM’s technology is outdated and investors are shorting the stock, betting it...

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Selling well is the best revenge

This morning I was a guest on The Current, the national CBC Radio show hosted by Anna Maria Tremonti. The topic was billionaires using last week’s Forbes list as a jump-off point. I knew there was to be another guest who would discuss the international scene. I would talk about Canadian billionaires in general and the three from Research In Motion in particular: Mike Lazaridis, Jim Balsillie and Doug Fregin. As I approached the waiting area outside the studio, I could see the other guest, but didn’t know who it was until a CBC staffer made the introductions. “This is...

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Number five

My new book landed on the Globe and Mail best-seller list today in the number five slot. I’m in good company with three books by Malcolm Gladwell and one by Eckhart Tolle (praised by Oprah) ahead of me. Gladwell, who is from Elmira, Ontario, has a BlackBerry connection. He and Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of Research In Motion, knew each other at Trinity College and have kept in touch since their college days. Being on the best-seller list is a real thrill. Thousands of books are published each year that never achieve this status. But I’ve long since learned not to...

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Speech at the Rotman School

On Monday March 22 I’m speaking about my new book at the Rotman School of Management. It’s an honour to be invited to this prestigious venue in the Fleck Auditorium at 105 St. George Street on the University of Toronto campus. The event starts sharp at 5 p.m., I’ll talk for 25 minutes, then take questions until 6. Cost for the event is $32.95 and includes a copy of BlackBerry: The Inside Story of Research In Motion. Here’s the link to register. See you there! I’ll be happy to sign your book.

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Two questions

Whenever I bring out a new book, people always ask two questions. First, what’s next? It’s a crazy question, really. I’ve just spent four years on this project. Couldn’t we enjoy the moment? Second question is: How’s it doing? I’m delighted to report that in its second week of availability my book seems to be doing very well. The Globe and Mail today says “BlackBerry” is #2 on the business best-seller list, right behind “Who Moved My Cheese?” which has been off and on the lists since it was first published in 1998. On Amazon.ca “BlackBerry” is ranked #54, not...

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The eternal life of radio

Time was when an author’s publicity tour was a national campaign. In the 1980s, I’d spend two days in Toronto, a day elsewhere in Southern Ontario, then head out to do a day in each of Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria. In each city a local publicist hired by the publisher would ferry me around to six-or-eight media interviews she’d arranged, drop me back at the airport and on I’d go to the next city and repeat the process. It could be a bit of a blur. There would come a point during interviews when I’d...

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Wedding crasher

Authors enjoy reading reviews of their books, even slightly misguided ones like the review that appeared in yesterday’s Montreal Gazette. Reviewer Roberto Rocha is unhappy because I didn’t write more about work burnout, carpal tunnel syndrome or Tech Neck, a malady caused by spending too much time hunched in the BlackBerry prayer position. It’s an odd point of view, really, because what Rocha seems to be saying is he’d rather read about things he already knows. Not a very adventuresome view, is it? Prior to beginning my research, I knew all about those topics, too, but I decided to write...

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No bones about it

When you appear on daytime television, you never know who else will be on the same show. In the past, I’ve shared studios with magicians, chefs and animal acts. Yesterday, on Canada AM, was the first time I’ve ever been the lead-in to a skeleton. Here’s the link to my interview. The bones were among the props used by a physiotherapist whose message was don’t carry too much in your purse or laptop satchel because excess weight can be hard on your back. In addition to the skeleton she was lugging four heavy bags of stuff, an irony not lost...

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Bookends

The day began with breakfast. John Spears from the Toronto Star interviewed me yesterday at Creme de la Creme, a cafe in my neighborhood. His questions about the book were informed and the interview lasted an hour, punctuated by the arrival of a photographer from the newspaper. When the waitress brought my bacon and eggs, she proudly encouraged him to take a picture of the plate “before he messes it up.” Broadcasters are different from print reporters. I’ve noticed over the years that broadcasters who talk to me about a new book usually have never read the book. That’s OK,...

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Off and running

There wasn’t much pre-interview chit-chat as I sat in the CBC-TV studio last evening with Amanda Lang and Kevin O’Leary. They were both busy on their BlackBerrys which I took to be a good sign since I was there to talk about that very product as part of a series of media interviews this week to promote my new book. I did hear that O’Leary attended the Canada-U.S. hockey game Sunday and left Vancouver on a 6 a.m. flight for Toronto on Monday to be on hand for the inaugural Lang & O’Leary Exchange in prime time. Until this week,...

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