This was the scene that greeted me last night as I arrived at the BlackBerry World welcome reception. The event starts properly today — but last night was an opportunity for attendees to have a drink and some food and network with each other.
The place was packed. Absolutely packed.
I have to admit that I was a little surprised. It’s far too easy to get sucked into the ‘media machine’ telling you that RIM has no future — and I’m a fundamental fan of the company! So it was rather exciting to see the hall rammed with people all here to do business in the BlackBerry ecosystem.
I took a stroll about and thanks to the bright-red press badge, I was stopped by quite a few folk, many of whom wanted to show me their apps and services. That’s what I was there for. Each time I asked these entrepreneurs and executives about BlackBerry.
I used an emotive phrase every time: “Is BlackBerry dead?”
I felt a bit silly asking that question — especially after I’d just received a pitch from a chap illustrating just how much business they were doing on the BlackBerry platform. But I thought I should soldier on.
Each attendee I spoke to acknowledged the media message — but (and I’m paraphrasing here) went on to explain why they were actually rather bullish on RIM. My conversations were all informal so it’s not right for me to quote specific examples, but I’m going to try and get some participants on camera discussing their viewpoints.
Today, though, is a defining day.
The CEO will step up on stage and — hopefully — detail his plans for leading RIM out of their malaise. The gathered faithful are here for inspiration, for excitement and for clear proof that the lights are on — and that we should expect fireworks soon.
Bring it on and let’s see what they’ve got for us.
I’ll be tweeting the keynote live via @ew4n.