Video Of The Week: The 2007 Blackberry Shootout

We are going back in time for this one. This went down before Twitter, Tumblr, Zynga, and a host of other things that happened in 2007. This also happened before I had done a deal with Bijan. Maybe the spanking he gave me here was the catalyst to change that. Anyway, this one's a reminder that you may be here today and gone tomorrow (RIMM).

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. aminTorres

    HAHAHA, I still think I am dreaming.

  2. William Mougayar

    Time for a re-match with iPhones & Androids?We need more WallStrips!

    1. andyidsinga


  3. tsella

    This is too funny!

  4. Jorge M. Torres

    “The mobile email market”. Wow.

  5. Ana Milicevic

    And to think that was only 6 years ago…The headbands could be a hot item on the VC memorabilia market 😉

  6. JimHirshfield

    How come you don’t this kind of thing anymore?

  7. jason wright

    you cannot be serious

  8. btrautsc

    Too intense for Saturday morning. Wish we had Barkley commentary.Ironically this brings up a discussion I had with friends (non-techies) about 3 days ago. We were getting drinks, and an iPhone vs Android discussion started up. One friend asked, ‘Why would you buy anything other than an iPhone?!”… I just watched it unfold. The points generally spoke to the fact that the branding and consistency around iPhone feels very safe for a ‘typical’ mobile user.But in my mind I was thinking – this had to be the exact same conversation people were having 6 years ago… ‘Why would you buy anything other than a Blackberry?!”And at what point will people say “OMG, why would you buy an iPhone???”

    1. awaldstein

      Never honestly!Cause there is never one market.When tech starts to understand consumer marketing, more money will be made, more products built that suit really large niches and this all of nothing kind of tech approach will be seen as legacy thinking.

      1. btrautsc

        good point re ‘all or nothing’…

        1. awaldstein

          Didn’t mean to jump on this.So fatigued at the tech world really poor marketing and market understanding lately.

          1. Tyler Hayes

            “Lately” — any plans to elaborate on this more in a blog post? I’m always intrigued when I hear people naturally feeling trends that haven’t had a deep dive analysis yet.

          2. awaldstein

            Hadn’t thought of it but will. Been blogging much more consistently so I’ll give it shot.What is intriguing (and what I should blog on) is that it cuts both ways.Tech world really needs to get over itself on the market understanding side. Consumer and cause side really needs to learn from the tech world how use the web to initiate change.Thanks Tyler!

          3. LE

            “tech world really poor marketing”I’m trying to remember back to the days when we bought “stereos” and had a particular reason we wanted Marantz or Ohm speakers vs. buying Pioneer or Panasonic. IIRC the marketing was done around building the image “party” as well as quality of the product. And using those stereo store salesmen who would buy into the whole thing and push a particular product. When the channel changed all that went out the window. Then it became who can move the most boxes.Computers started by being sold through small computer stores but then moved mass market. In mass market it’s easier to sell by pushing number 1.8 is larger than 1.4 and 400mb is larger than 200mb. So that’s what was done.Apple has moved away from that (although it still does that a bit to get you to trade and upgrade). But it has it’s own version of the stereo store salesmen which can certainly be credited with it’s success. If you frequent Apple stores you will see this in action anytime any day much to @kidmercury dismay.To @brautsc “blackberry” point: My daughter, my father, my sister, my niece, my father in law, my mother in law (I could continue here) never would buy a blackberry or ever need one. But they all have iphones.Attached two ads but not the best in proving my point (perhaps my memory is wrong but I seem to remember better marketing than this).

          4. laurie kalmanson

            speakers were easy — people bought the biggest onesbest audio ad ever doesn’t talk about specs; it shows the feelsspecs is Microsoft feelings are Applehow about that surface tablet?

          5. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          6. awaldstein

            I have no idea what the definition of nerd is anymore.In today’s world where information is ubiquitous, everyone is kinda a geek when pursing their likes.Why marketing is generally poorer is possibly that the number of companies in play is larger and the percent of those that succeed, and market smartly is just way way smaller.

          7. Dave Pinsen

            “In today’s world where information is ubiquitous, everyone is kinda a geek when pursing their likes.”There’s something to that. You even have barbell geeks these days. I think that’s a good description of the guys who wrote the latest article here: said, there remains a challenge of bridging the knowledge and interest gap between geeks and non-geeks. Which brings to mind our friend @aaronklein’s shift of focus to advisors with Riskalyze. Good advisors should be geeks about risk and portfolio construction, so it should be easier to interest them in a tool that facilitates that. Then they can bridge the interest/knowledge gap between themselves and their clients. That’s what they get paid the big bucks for.

          8. awaldstein

            Great comment.I agree to a point.I don’t thing you bridge the gap, you shift the focus and verticalize.Aaron is one example. Crossfit is another. Soul Cycle is another.The more ‘geeky’ the population gets the easier it is to build markets and the easier it is identify them and market to them.The really horizontal segments are the hardest and the most expensive, like commodity cruise line for example.I”m going to blog on this and claiming the “Geekification of the market’ as my title 😉

          9. Dave Pinsen

            Interesting you mention Soul Cycle and Crossfit. Both have done a good job of filling deep needs in their markets, but there’s some overlap and friction between Starting Strength and Crossfit. The founder of Starting Strength used to be associated with Crossfit and then had a falling out with them, but some of his certified Starting Strength coaches also run Crossfit gyms (or “boxes” as they call them).Starting Strength is probably “geekier”, in its focus on empiricism, but Crossfit is much bigger.

          10. awaldstein

            LuLiTonix will start distributing through its first CrossFit this month BTW.

          11. Dave Pinsen


      2. CJ

        Apple understands consumer marketing or maybe it was just Steve Jobs that understood. Good products that worked reliably, are easy to use and beautiful to behold wins the hearts of consumers. Features are great…eventually. But the mass market consumer wants a showpiece that works well.

        1. awaldstein

          Yup…Apple was the master but of course, Apple isn’t a tech company!

          1. george

            Good hook, “Apple isn’t a Tech Company.” Could you expand on that…curious



      1. Will Uffhounder

        Grimlock, first of all I am a big fan of yours, but on this one I have to disagree. I wouldn’t say that innovation has ‘stopped’ at Apple, but there seems to be a noticeably slower rate and more missteps than during Jobs’ reign.Additionally, Apple faces a threat that they themselves famously played midwives to: the ‘increasing ethereal transparency’ of the device, slimmer and lighter and almost not there at all. Meaning, the hardware takes a big step away from the limelight in deference to what experience the user is provided. For example, ‘not the screen so much as the apps and app store’ and ‘not the OS as much as the developer tools and community’.Yes, this device is beautiful and that device is gorgeous, and blah blah blah. I would argue that we (a) passed the zenith of that view of the tech market several years back, or (b) at the very least that is a very tired perspective, anyhow (c) the market(s) is fatigued by it, and (d) we are on an arc towards a tech world where the devices become less and less obtrusive, more and more ‘intangible’. The customer will lead a marketing shift away from the devices themselves, disrupting the current (sorry to use this word, but it fits) paradigm.Anyhow, that’s almost entirely subjective opinion without meaningful data points – but I will say that, as always, the market will be the ultimate judge…

  9. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Ha ha! That was delightful 🙂 Like the artwork in the arena, too.

  10. Richard


  11. John Revay

    #Mailingitin 🙂

    1. jason wright


      1. Tyler Hayes

        emailing tin?

    2. fredwilson


  12. William Mougayar

    What is not funny is that was the same year Apple introduced the iPhone.well, maybe it was funny for apple, but not for blackberry.Trivia Q- In what year did you get in and get out of the BlackBerry? Me: 2000-2008

    1. Tracey Jackson

      What I remember is carrying around one of each, an iPhone and a BB as I was scared I wouldn’t like the iPhone and hated losing the typing keys. Now I can’t work a BB anymore.

      1. LE

        I got the very first iphone (on the first day paid someone to stand in line) so I could have it on a trip I was taking the next day. But I used it as an additional phone and phone number for quite some time.

        1. William Mougayar

          Interesting…same with Tracey, I was a skeptic initially, but then, I went cold turkey on the BB when I switched.

        2. Tracey Jackson

          That’s what my husband still does. It took me longer than it took William, but once I made the switch, that was it.

    2. Will Uffhounder

      Good question! 2002-2009 but I still miss their keyboard on a regular basis. have tried various soft keyboards etc. and even bought a mini Bluetooth keyboard for my Samsung GSII at one point lol. I will say that my older iPod and iPad mini provide the distinctly best / most accurate soft keyboard typing over any other device i have owned or tried. still, tho, I must be hard wired for a physical keyboard or something. must be getting old and in the way haha…

  13. Dennis

    Twitter launch July 2006. So yes, they were around.

    1. fredwilson

      I meant my investments in those companies. Sorry for being cryptic

  14. Elia Freedman

    I’ve written apps for Palm OS, Windows Mobile, Windows, iOS, Android, and BlackBerry over the years. The worst platform we ever wrote for was BlackBerry. The tools were nasty and the revenues were even worse. It was very sad as their business should have aligned perfectly with my own.

    1. Novay Jose

      BB10 is soooooooooo nice to develop for in comparison to ye olde bb5/6/7



  15. Tracey Jackson

    The Olivia Newton John sweat headbands circa 1980 really make it work.What is scary is my super smart husband still thinks Blackberry technology is cutting edge and won’t give his up. There aren’t many but a few are holding on those for dear life.

    1. LE

      “my super smart husband still thinks”Remember from that big fat greek wedding movie it has to be the man’s idea. At this point he is going to have a hard time changing just because you are trying to convince him he is wrong (or he knows how you feel whatever..).

      1. Tracey Jackson

        I have given up trying to change his mind. He wants to buy six and stockpile for when they go under. I said but they will be under.

    2. laurie kalmanson

      A mom I know who is an exec that travels a lot for work has iPhone and blackberry; she says she can manage calls and email better on the blackberry but I have never seen her without her iphone on the weekends

  16. george

    Could be time for a sequel, headbands are coming back. By the way, you definitely won on style points! I’m still trying to figure out how BB blew it so bad, they had such a captivated audience and high user allegiance.

    1. CJ

      They didn’t think people wanted more than they needed.



        1. CJ

          And when the MARKET tells you different than you believe…adapt anyway.

  17. bijan

    Good times.

    1. fredwilson

      Always is when you win 🙂

      1. Vineeth Kariappa

        Has your thumb work improved? 🙂

    2. Rohan

      Bijan! We should so do this with iPhones!

  18. Will Uffhounder

    lol – very well done, love the Wimbledon-esque narration! 8P