During our CES interview with BlackBerry CEO, John Chen, we asked him about the cancelation of this year's BlackBerry Live event. Here's what he had to say:
For 2014 we decided to spend the money differently and focus on a more targeted audience - CIOs of the regulated industry that we talk about, or hosting a symposium on Wall Street. We'll do those types of things and support maybe some CEO conferences like the Fortune, the Gartner, something of that sort. This is so we can speak directly to the people that need to learn, "Oh wow, they're doing this end-to-end and stuff." That's part of how the marketing will support the sales, support the strategy, and that technology needs to complement it.
As a fan of BlackBerry Live, formerly BlackBerry World, formerly the Wireless Enterprise Symposium, I'm obviously more than a little sad to see the BIGGEST BlackBerry event of the year get stricken from the calendar. That said, I think the decision is a logical one given where things are at for BlackBerry, and also given that their go forward strategy is to embrace all platforms. BlackBerry needs to take that message to where the people are already going, vs. attract them to a BlackBerry conference. For 2014 it makes sense.
When the news first came out that BlackBerry Live was canceled for 2014, I sort of joked that maybe I should put on a conference in 2014 to fill the void. I'm really thinking I should maybe do it. Timing is getting tight, but if I made the GO decision in the next week or two, I think we could host a kick-ass mobile conference (Talk Mobile 2014?!) in early May. I'm thinking Toronto as a venue. Instead of going to the USA per usual, we could do something north of the border. It's a close flight for people from NYC. And there's a huge hub of mobile tech in the in Toronto and surrounding regions. Year One could be fairly small and still be a success - aim for 500 people at $1000 a head, get some sponsors, and we could make it happen. Let me know what you think in the comments!!!