Neil Sainsbury to replace Mike Kirkup as Director of Developer Relations at RIM? We sure hope so!!

By Kevin Michaluk on 6 Sep 2011 08:13 am EDT
Neil Sainsbury

A week ago we reported the news that Mike Kirkup, RIM's Sr. Director of Developer Relations, tendered his resignation at Research In Motion. It definitely was sad news for us to hear, as over the years Mike has been a huge promoter of the BlackBerry Platform and a great spokesperson for the company. He was also one of those guys at RIM who understood the role sites like CrackBerry play in the ecosystem, and really valued our contributions - we loved having him on CrackBerry podcasts and in videos at different mobile conferences.

While Mike's departure leaves behind some big shoes to fill at RIM, if the rumors I've heard pan out to be true, I'm super confident that RIM's new Director of Developer Relations will comfortably step into this role and get the job done. To say I was stoked when I caught word that Neil Sainsbury may take on this role would be an understatement.

Longtime CrackBerry readers will be familiar with Neil, as before he joined RIM he was one of the most active, successful and outspoken BlackBerry developers in the community. Neil was the brains behind BBSmart, which was the company that brought HTML Email Viewing to BlackBerry back in 2007 via their BBSmart Email Viewer app, long before RIM ever built it into the native OS (BBSmart AlarmsPro was another of their must-have apps). Neil was always active in our CrackBerry forums as eZainny, even wrote a couple blog posts for CrackBerry, and ran his own blog which was dedicated to BlackBerry app development. This website was well known and read by RIM, and on more than one occasion Neil took to task BlackBerry developer platform shortcomings. Ultimately Neil joined Research In Motion to help better the life of BlackBerry developers and quality of apps.

In the role of Director of Developer Relations, Neil would now be in a position within RIM where he can really make an impact on the organization and get things done, which should mean great things for BlackBerry developers and for us end consumers (in terms of awesome apps!). I've personally spoken to Neil on a couple of occasions at BlackBerry DevCon events (and watched his presentations, which kicked ass!), and definitely think RIM is making a smart decision here. Neil is a straight shooter - he calls things as he sees them, and that's exactly what RIM needs right now. Find the problems, and fix them!

I hope this is true - I'll be looking forward to see what Neil can do. Now Neil, if you're reading this, you'd better brush up on your podcasting and video skills and get ready to join us for a CrackBerry Podcast at DevCon next month!

Reader comments

Neil Sainsbury to replace Mike Kirkup as Director of Developer Relations at RIM? We sure hope so!!


I hope RIM realizes that THIS GUY is the key to the company's future success. He has to revamp the whole ecosystem, making it much larger and vastly more friendly and inviting to app developers.

I just spilled hot coffee on my lap after reading this great news..and I don't mind at all....ow.... Kev, is there anything more that we as fans and consumers can do?

Based on this article, Neil's got my vote. Sounds like RIM might be on a roll of good decisions... 9900/9930 ... PlayBook OS 2.0.. Moving Neil into Director of Developer Relations... Dare I say "YAY RIM!" or will that jinx it? :s

Mike did a great job and I'm sure that Neil would also do a great job! good luck!

Congratulations, let's hope it turns out to be a fruitful relationship - RIM + CrackBerry! Finally, the 2 get a little bit closer. Let's hipe he has people with one ear-to-the-ground, the other somewhere in the DeLorean, exploring the future.

All the best, Neil!


Who can say if this move was orchestrated to put the best man in this clearly critical role. In my view Mike had his chance and by all accounts achieved mixed results. I can only surmise that RIM management looked ahead and decided "mixed" wasn't going to cut it in this highly competitive market.

Good luck to both men in their respective endeavors.

Although recognizing that this is still rumor at this point Neil would be a good selection. Given his history as an ISV he would know exactly what we are looking for...

Wow I wondered what happened to eZanny and BBSmart. I loved his apps and was still using BBSmart Alarms Pro until I got the 9930! This sounds like great news - hope it is true.