Thanks, Vivek!

Vivek Bhardwaj and Thorsten Heins
By Kevin Michaluk on 24 Jun 2014 05:27 pm EDT
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Late Sunday night, in response to a question posted in the CrackBerry forums, I publicly broke the news that Vivek Bhardwaj is no longer at BlackBerry.

In reality, this was old news. Vivek has not been with BlackBerry since the middle of May, which is when I first found out and spoke to Vivek directly about his decision to leave. As you can imagine, I was bummed to hear the news. Vivek has been one of CrackBerry Nation's favorite BlackBerry people ever since he made his stage debut at BlackBerry World alongside then CEO, Thorsten Heins, where he gave us our first glimpse of BlackBerry 10. An eloquent speaker, amazing on-stage presenter who delivered flawless demos time after time in front of thousands of people as well an all around awesome guy to hangout with, it's a definite loss for #TEAMBLACKBERRY. Both Vivek and I knew, like me, that BlackBerry fans would be bummed out when word got out about his departure, which is why we didn't rush to make it known. Eventually though, the word would have to get out.

Vivek made it clear to me that his decision to leave BlackBerry wasn't related to the company's prospects. In fact, he said BlackBerry has some really exciting stuff coming down the pipe (some of which we've now learned more about, like the BlackBerry Passport) that he was sure we'd all love. And he didn't leave BlackBerry to go to another company. His decision was a personal one. After pushing so hard and putting in so much time through the BlackBerry 10 launch, he wanted to take some extended vacation time and hang out with the family and friends he hasn't had a chance to spend quality time with for the past few years. That said, a guy like Vivek has a lot of experience (see linkedin profile) and is clearly able to handle being put under huge pressure. When he's ready to take on his next challenge, I'm pretty sure he can pick the company he wants to work for and name his price. There are not a lot of guys like him out there.

And with that, I just wanted to take moment and really thank Vivek for all he did for BlackBerry during his time there. When you have position at a tech company that is extremely public facing, as Vivek has had these last couple of years at BlackBerry, you're really acting as an ambassador for the company and the brand. I think Vivek did an amazing job in that role - looking back at the events leading up to BlackBerry 10, I couldn't imagine having anybody else on stage. Heck, there were even a lot of calls from the CrackBerry community that Vivek should be CEO. That says volumes right there.

So Thanks Vivek, for being an awesome member of #TEAMBLACKBERRY all these years, and all the best in your future endeavours.

Some of our favorite Vivek moments...

Unveiling BlackBerry 10 at BlackBerry World 2012

Jump to 21 minutes...

A First Look at Type and Go on the Q10

On Stage at the BlackBerry 10 Launch Event

Jump to 16minutes...

On stage at CrackBerry Live!

Reader comments

Thanks, Vivek!

162 Comments

While Video seemed like a nice enough guy - he was part of a losing team that cost a lot of BlackBerry stock owners a lot of money.

The partnership with Amazon is far more exciting than what these guys were turning out and, hopefully, we will never be without a premier app ever again.

Good luck, Vivek. I remember many a presentation that you carried with T Heins standing next to you. You brought a certain gene se qua to those presentations that was sadly lacking by your teammates.

BlackBerry has a new vision and Chen is executing....no room for the people who almost completely ruined BlackBerry.

Founding Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile

Correct on MIA....they trotted this guy and the other guy who butcher Journey songs out on stage for marginal presentations.

They did developer app shows and "Jams" and BlackBerry sunk to $6 and less than a % of market share in the USA....

Wake Up, People....BlackBerry was going BK under this regime, or sold for patents....

What is wrong with a number of you?

Founding Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile

I find it hard to get excited about the so called partnership with Amazon.
Vivek was a stand out character in a company that sorely lacked such people.
He may have been part of a losing team but that doesn't mean he was bad himself.
With him gone I fear the company loses some of its blackberry identity and bb10 already suffers with a lack of identity.

Posted via the Android CrackBerry App!

The term "partnership" gets thrown around a lot and it can mean many things.

Amazon is at the lower end of the scale. They've essentially given BlackBerry permission to put their store on phones. That app store can be installed on all Android phones. It does not seem to extend past that at this point. Getting a Kindle app was a much bigger deal.

Amazon--at least as of now--is not providing any content or support. Or money. Or customers. This "partnership" involves zero resources and commitment on Amazon's part.

Posted from CB10 running on my awesome Z30 2B6927F7

Does this not imply that they have committed to a) making sure the apps work on BlackBerry 10 phones and B) that they can be purchased or downloaded by BlackBerry customers GLOBALLY? If not, WTF is there to be excited about? And we nuked our native Dev community to get.......what we already have? I have the Amazon storefront on my phone, now. It's not that interesting as is.

From my Neutrino Powered Z10

BlackBerry gets a trusted brand name to promote with its phones. You may have noticed that BlackBerry's brand image isn't quite what it used to be lol

So BlackBerry gets the opportunity to promote Amazon's brand. No one will buy a BlackBerry 10 devices for Amazon App Store -- it is widely considered a waste of space by Android users and some of the major players in Android protect their users from the bloat...

Posted via CB10

@ dark....he was a great guy for the guys from CB and a few other BlackBerry blog sites to shoot videos with so they could pretend that they were on the "inside" with BlackBerry while it's stock and market share fell off a cliff.

WooWho!!!

Founding Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile

Something odd about this post. He was the press facing guy. He wasn't the man behind all the good stuff was he? (plus finding good decisions at BlackBerry has been a rare occurrence since the BlackBerry curve launched)

Posted via CB10

You're joking about the Amazon "partnership" being exciting, right? The Amazon App Store is pathetic bloatware and preinstalling it on BB10 is sad. You can install it right now, but given how much better the Play Store is, few BlackBerry users do. I hope Amazon is paying BlackBerry a sizeable chunk of cash and finally agreeing to provide the native Kindle app they promised pre-launch. But, I doubt it.

Posted via CB10

FinaLy someone is out

He's the real hurtle for BlackBerry.
Watch from now on BlackBerry future is awesome

Posted via CB10

I swear, you motherfuckers say that about everyone that leaves. That's bullshit. He was an obvious asset to the company, but chose to leave on his own. He wasn't laid off, or fired, none of that. Stop making excuses.

Umm...its one guy trying to be clever. Some people have nothing original to add, so they always take oppositional stances and revel in the attention.....I think one ought to know a foreign language before trying to be clever with that language....

Was wondering why there hadn't been a post on this. He was definitely a recognizable person for all of us paying attention during the BB10 launch process. Seemed to do his job very well (especially keeping cool when those TechCrunch anti-BB interviewers were drinking and being rude to him way back when).

Frosty White Q10/10.2.1.3175 CB10'n

Bye Frank Boulben, bye Jimmy Balsille, bye Laz....

You know the whole crew who didn't see the iPhone coming...

Buh bye....new sheriff in town taking no prisoners...

Founding Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile

Bye Alicia, bye half your workforce (it was at least 40% I give up on how much it ended up being), bye real estate...oh and bye a lot of you PlayBook owners!

I just watched some Chen "post earnings call" interviews on my PlayBook, the other day...

Another "half baked" idea by the guy we are all bemoaning today...if the PlayBook had 10.2 on it - like they promised it would someday - you would have had a nice little tablet to rival iPad mini....but these guys screwed that up royally as well...

I refuse to buy into this pity party for any of these guys who are leaving...

Founding Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile

No RIM/BlackBerry without Lazaridis...so no fun being "The Greatest Monday Morning QB in the World" without the founder...because guess what...you had nothing to do with the founding of BlackBerry.

Murray Squire Marr

Take care vivek...you made blackberry 10 what it is,i hope you enjoy your time off with the family cuz it's important and I wish you all the best in the future...

Posted via CB10

Any word on who (if anyone) is replacing him in his position? It'd be nice if Vivek might choose to return to BlackBerry in some form if the right opportunity presents itself.

I tweeted that exact sentiment to him last night in reply to his "Thank you all" Tweet.

From my Neutrino Powered Z10

Thx vivek

Hope your still BlackBerry, great demo, enjoy your summer with family

Z30 : posted via CB10 app

Is it just me or does anyone else feel a bit miffed, if not irritated, when T.Heins is interrupting Vivek or the way he isn't letting Vivek take the lead.

Other presentations (Apple, Amazon, etc) let the head of a division have the floor to himself / herself

Posted via CB10

Thought the initial presentation was really good... really surprised blackberry didn't do better based on the sneaks they were promoting. I guess they just weren't mass marketing them... such great features.

Posted via CB10

"Hey everybody, this is CrackBerry Vivek"!!!!

I dig it....

Founding Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile

Best of luck Vivek. Really hope you stayed around for BlackBerry, I was rooting for you to be the execs.

Posted via CB10

Vivek will be missed, he is the one guy that stands out in ny mind when I think of the BlackBerry 10 release....

Posted via CB10

Exactly.

Assuming he's a technical guy. Apple for example prioritizes engineering competency over showmanship. If he's just a pretty, well-spoken face then the industry leaders won't want him. A guy like Craig Federighi is brilliant on stage, but that's just the icing on the cake. He's a UNIX Boss first.

Posted via CrackBerry App

"Stepping down to spend more time with the family"... rates right up there with "Stepping down for health reasons" as the most often used excuses from people wanting to get out of a bad situation...you see it time and time again from compamy executives and politicians alike.
Chen is (hopefully) on the right track now and clearing some dead wood is not unheard of in this situation.

Like usual 06nasti - to much time on your hands and not much to think about except how to spew out crud, corruption and pure rubbish...imo.

I for one really value talent and he seems to have it hope he joins QNX team when he is ready to return.......fingers crossed...who knows.....

Posted via CB10

Cheers Vivek, he was and probably still is very passionate on BlackBerry. Super demos. Clever guy.

Posted via CB10

Thanks for educating me through your awesome presentations on BlackBerry 10.

Good luck with all of your future endeavors in life

Posted via CB10

A good guy, I didn't know much about him but that was probably just my personal ignorance (either that or he was busy working behind the scenes). Sad to see him go but family is more important so it was a good choice.

Posted via my love powered Q10

The ship has set sails for new destinations, it's not sinking in any way, what are you taking about?

Maybe they had to throw out ballast, and it has a few leaks and need some more overhaul, but it has left the dry dock already.

Pasted via CB chen

Going to miss Vivek. Great talent and he certainly was passionate about BlackBerry. I get upset when great ambassadors of the BlackBerry team depart. Hard to replace people like that, especially the time he has put into BlackBerry and also the information that he has about BlackBerry. Why not get him back after some long awaited rest. This man needs a raise and a bigger challenge at BlackBerry. Best of luck Vivek.

Posted via CB10

I am glad that Chen is cleaning house, whether he left on is own or was forced out doesn't really matter. What is important is that fresh new blood is brought in and that Blackberry reinvents itself. The old school thinking and talent has to go to make room for some innovation and some new thinking.

Good look to everyone who leaves and good luck to anyone who is still there and willing to forget about the past.

Go Blackberry go!

A true polished and professional speaker. You will always be remembered as a BlackBerry ambassador.

Good luck in all your future endeavours.

Posted using my amazing and intelligent Z10

Great stage presence and seems like a very likeable yet can be serious straight up guy.
Always got excited when I saw him with a device in his hands, showing off new features and apps.
Thanks for the good times!

Don't mind getting re hired just before the passport launch:)

Cheers!

Posted via CB10

"All these years"

He wasn't with BB that long.. he graduated college a few years ago and got into a cushy "head of portfolio" position that sounds made up.

There is a lot of nice guys out there, what did he really accomplish? , other than stood by Thorn and failed miserably.

Posted via CB10

All the best to Vivek. He had a big job to do and he got it done. He was, in many ways, the face of the new OS. Not an easy task. I remember watching him at the launch on that fateful January 30. Such presence. And I saw his interview with Adrienne Arsenault on the CBC for a behind-the-scenes look at BlackBerry. And the videos with Gadway, Halliwell, Saunders, and Kinsella. In those days. Very heady times on the brink of the launch. It was all so promising...
All the best, Vivek Bhardwaj. You did a great job!

Posted via CB10

And another thing... everything that is currently being built on BlackBerry OS 10 now comes as a result of the foundational work that was being done by people like Vivek!

Posted via CB10

@ johnhein...or the crew from QNX...but you go with him...

Founding Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile

Thank you so much Vivek for showcasing BlackBerry 10 to all fans in a very informative, concise and classy manner. Good luck to you in all your endeavors!

Posted via CB10

Good luck to him in his future endeavours. But that is about as far as I'm prepared to go. Honestly he reminds me of all those guys from HBO'S "Silicon Valley "...especially the opening scene from the first episode ...see it and you know what I mean...

Yeah, and I do remember him vividly from the interview he gave to the CBC in early 2013 days before the BB10 launch ...an interview which revealed how he and his then boss Thorsten Heins Ketchup, were lost in space and in over their heads in trying to turn BlackBerry around .

I also remember him from the lacklustre and botched product launch from January 2013 (which conjured bad memories of the PlayBook launch) when they (he and Heins Ketchup) failed to ignite any enthusiastic response for BlackBerry's new OS and devices.

All they could get was a smattering of applause from the audience, and even at his prompting he and Heins Ketchup only managed to acquire a few lukewarm claps and some embarrassing sounding shouts of encouragement...because most in the audience instantly knew that BlackBerry was in for some very rough times ahead in 2013, which turned out to be all too true.

It was the crappy icing on the shit cake BlackBerry was saddled with . 2013 was probably more demoralising than the previous years because people had thought that to be the turnaround year, because of the new BB10 platform and the accompanying devices. Instead it all stalled and got worse.

2013 capped a terrible 3 years for all the people working at the company, many of whom lost their jobs while Thorsten Heins Ketchup and his merry band of fucktards got a nice soft landing courtesy of their golden parachutes...

So while I don't have any ill feelings or even a grudge against him, please let's not put the blinders on and ignore the fact that he was part and parcel of the team who got soo much soo wrong and failed quite spectacularly, both the people working at the company and all the customers who stuck by BlackBerry in its darkest days...

Cartman says: Screw you guys I'm going home!

Only 2 years (not 3) were awful. Also, 2013 should be categorised as Year Of Housekeeping as Thor closed the silly engineering gap finally.

Well technically it is way longer than that. BlackBerry's downfall really started in earnest around 2008, shortly after Crapple launched the ITardphone and all the Appletards and Sheeple creamed their pants...

The writing was on the wall since then, but people, especially those in charge of BlackBerry, refused to acknowledge that fact, and as a direct result failed to take the necessary steps and stir the company in a new direction.

The freefall didn't really start until 2010 when all pretences evaporated in a plume of smoke of desperation and regret...

So let's not sugarcoat this turd...

Cartman says: Screw you guys I'm going home!

Perception is not the same as reality. Google never made any profit till date on its 1 billion OS installations (as they are freeware). But BlackBerry was profitable most of the decade (except 2012 & 2013). The 5-year propaganda war (led by short-sellers) ended this month.

Thank you and goodbye! I really liked your presentations. I wish you all the best!

Good, Better, BlackBerry Z30

Vivek is a champion! Type of guy you would want as a friend.

Cheers *raises glass*, to Vivek. Thank you for BlackBerry 10. We're enjoying it everyday.

Posted via CB10

The mass brain drain exodus continues. How will they compete when their best people in software are leaving?

Uhhhh...by bringing in guys from other companies who know how to win and getting rid of Jim and Mike"s cronies who did not know how to win.

Founding Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile

"Vivek made it clear that his decision to leave BlackBerry wasn't related to the company's prospects... And that he didn't leave BlackBerry to go to another company... His decision was a personal one"...

Is he going to politics? 'cause he's beginning to sound like them...

Posted via CB10

Everybody is so nice and smart, big kumbaya, people screwing the company, walking away with millions while shareholders have lost everything.
Not only vivek or Kevin, there are thousands who should be the CEO.. why not, one big happy family while some at the top are screwing the rest.

That's too bad, I watched a lot of his stuff leading up to the BlackBerry 10 launch.

I see a lot of guys happy people are leaving BlackBerry. I'm not sure if it's good or bad. For all the mistakes that were made BlackBerry 10 was awesome. 10.2.1 is beyond that and it's only been a year. (I love the PlayBook too, if only it had apps) from what I see it's brand perception hurting BlackBerry not much else.

BlackBerry can make a comeback, it will take time though. The iPhone is already on a decline and really only Samsung is making money on android. Things will level out. From what I seen where I work people were excited to switch to iphone because they were on 3-4 year old bbos. The average person doesn't even know BlackBerry 10 exist or that's it's different. When BlackBerry 10 becomes more common it will be competitive again for now they need small gains continuously.

Anyways thanks for your hard work vivek. I love my BlackBerry 10

Posted via CB10

I join in thanks to Vivek. I thought he did a wonderful job communicating. Heck, I only wished he did TV adds for bb10 in the last year. Hard to imagine he is not with the company now. Best wishes for future endeavours - hopefully not with the competition, buy if so, then bon courage.

Posted via CB10

Thx vivek, I have feeling that he will return to BlackBerry. He is just taking time off which BlackBerry could not afford so be had to leave, or family emergency

Posted via CB10

I agree Kevin. He did a great job demonstrating BB10.

Too bad we also had employees like Frank Boulben in the mix :(

...and presenters like Thorsten (who always seemed just uncomfortable to be in front of a crowd..)

Posted via CB10

I see Chen is not wasting a single day in getting rid of high-cost non-performers sheltered by timid Thor.

Good news, I say !

Cheers vivek! Spend time with family, good and great times ahead and any future endavors! You did a grrrrreat job at blackberry!! :)

You'll be missed Vivek, but family and health first !
Enjoy some -highly deserved- rest !
Thanks for all you've done,
SF

Vivek, we miss you! You have been the only shining light the last 18 months with BlackBerry. Chen has stepped up to the plate but he's not quite the techie as you are. You get this business, you get the products, you get the devices. I would have thought the two of you would work great together, but alas it wasn't to be. I sure hope you might reconsider after taking a leave of absence. You're a great guy with a great outward reaching personality. You can do great things at BlackBerry, and as the company turns the corner to profitability, there will be huge opportunities ahead to do a lot more! In the meanwhile, relax and ponder your options but remember, you have many, many fans who think very highly of you in BlackBerry land. Until you return, take care of yourself and enjoy your family!