Recently, I was speaking in Romania at the Global Forum. As I do in many of my travels, I take notes on my Blackberry. This often creates situations where someone will make a comment. Not so much about what game I am playing or why I am working on my emails while people are speaking, but simply the fact that I have a Blackberry. In fact, I have a Blackberry Bold, which people often want to look at or talk with me about its various features. Some days I think I work for RIM.
I have also noticed that there are many people of all walks of life who have a Blackberry. Everywhere except in Seoul Korea, where Samsung seems to have a strangle-hold…and in the Nordic countries. But Wait! There are actually “Closet Blackberry” users who pull out their Blackberries to do business, even though they have Nokia phones. While at a gathering in Bucharest, I met a senior business person who worked for Nokia, and guess what he was using? A Blackberry. Quizzing him on why he was using it, he simply responded that it was a better business PDA. But, shhhh. Don’t tell anyone! Wink-wink, nudge-nudge.
So, as I travel the world, what better ambassador for the Waterloo Region than the ubiquitous Blackberry? In fact, it is truly the all-time best all-around ambassador for the whole country. Problem is, many of these folks that I meet abroad think that Blackberries are not actually Canadian. Many are often quite surprised when I tell them it’s home-grown from Waterloo. I tell them the stories about how it came out of the University of Waterloo; I give them the quotes from Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie; the stats, and all that.
I even tell them about my neighbor at the cottage in Collingwood who heads up one of the Blackberry teams and how he is an alright fellow – not the kind of guy who has to wear a helmet to walk around while he uses his Blackberry.
(check out this unique tribute to “helmet wearing” Blackberry users)
Even then, they still might not believe that the Blackberry is originally from Waterloo. “But it says right here that it’s Verizon, Reliance, Etisalat, China Mobile, T-Mobile, or an Orange Blackberry?” These are service providers in various places around the world that RIM has agreements with at the local level. However, it is interesting to see people’s faces light up when I tell them where it comes from: “Hey, I didn’t know that! …You sure?”
So, I am able to use my berry as a nice icebreaker. Then I show them my video of the Waterloo Region on my media application. In quick succession, I show them my new Prizi presentation about the Waterloo Region using my browser and then as quickly return to check my most recent emails, thumbs blazing and toggles twirling.
Needless to say, CTT loves it hundreds of community ambassadors. People who are armed with information and stats about the region – individuals who travel around the world and represent and promote the region, and its best points while traveling abroad. The very best ambassador that I have to work with is my handy, always-on Blackberry!