Just as the news became public Sunday night that Thorsten Heins was named the new CEO of Research In Motion, I received a phone call from him letting me know personally that he won the leadership race and it wouldn't be CrackBerry Kevin and a Ham Sandwich at the reigns of RIM in 2012. It was a classy gesture and a clear signal that RIM moving forward will be more engaged with its user community. On that call Thorstein promised he'd give us a few more minutes of his time this week so we could actually throw a few questions his way (as you can imagine, I was completely unprepared for the first call!). RIM's new CEO delivered on his first promise to CrackBerry Nation and on Wednesday I was able to connect with Thorsten again.
Between Monday's RIM conference call, the official BlackBerry youtube videos, and the various television interviews Thorsten has given this week to other media outlets, we've already seen and heard a lot from the new BlackBerry Chief. A lot of the things said have given us plenty of reason to get excited for this new era of BlackBerry, while some of the messages making their way out into the media seem to already be shooting the new leadership direction down before it has even had a hint of a chance to execute. So I took this opportunity to get clarification on some of the mixed messages that have been making their way out there and dig deeper into other topics that have been covered this week. We cover a lot of things and found Thorsten to be great to talk to -- personable and a straight shooter with a sense of humor. In true CrackBerry fashion we will be be bringing the goods to the blogs here in a series of posts, so you'll want to keep it locked to CrackBerry.
But before we get to the heavier hitting questions we start with a couple of easy ones... listen above or keep reading as we break the ice and get the ball rolling on CrackBerry's first interview with the CEO of Research In Motion. I've been waiting five years to do one of these, so yeah... we're going to rock and roll this!!
Kevin: It was honestly so cool you calling us on Sunday night. What a way to get everybody so energized and excited. All our members, all our readers are just... Holy Smokes! They couldn't believe it.
Thorsten: I see the same level of excitement and energy in the company now. On Monday we had our all-hands meeting. That was 14,000 people worldwide and that was the first ever global meeting RIM has held so it was a logistical masterpiece. I chatted with the folks -- lots of questions, good discussions -- and there came a theme out of it. I must have said somewhere at the end to inspire the people and get the message across "Let's rock and roll this!". Now I see this everywhere as their BlackBerry theme. "Let's rock and roll this"... I like that.
Kevin: Thorsten, it's your 3rd day on the job, I don't want your position anymore, but do you still want it, 3 days in?
Thorsten: Oh absolutely. *Laughs* I'm just getting into it, so come on! The energy is rising in RIM and the company is going through a good mood right now, a lot of fresh air in the hallways - I'm more positive than ever.
Kevin: Perfect. Another quick question. Have you spent any significant amount of time yourself on iOS or Android devices so you know the competition, what BlackBerry is up against and the road ahead?
Thorsten: Oh I do this on a regular basis. First I have a whole team that constantly checks all the devices that are on the market, and I pick them specifically when I get told that our device kind of doesn't sell against this one and I do my own testing. Frankly I use my son and my daughters as well, they're pretty decent BlackBerry testers and they're tech fiends, so I hand some stuff to them and ask them what they think and they give me plenty of good ideas. I have to do this; you need to know where you are.
Keep it locked to CrackBerry... more from RIM's new CEO will be hitting the blogs soon!