17 March 2009

Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend…

I was one of the original Blackberry users.  Not everyone knows this, but the Blackberry actually launched in Canada a few months before the US launch, and I remember proudly showing off my new “friend” at a U.S. real estate conference before anyone there was able to own one. Research in Motion, the company that developed what would become  one of  the ultimate business tools for millions, was right in my backyard, and in the early days we met with  people at the RIM campus regularly to talk about how to use it as an effective real estate tool.  Back then you had to carry a cell phone as well, voice transmission wasn’t available on the BB until 2002.   And some of us continued to carry a third device, the Palm Pilot, which was easier to use for contacts and calendar.

As the Blackberry continued to advance, and I was able to throw away my cell phone and Palm, I became completely attached to the one tool that never left my side. I felt compelled to check for messages while at dinner parties, during meetings, and in the middle of the night. What I didn’t notice was that the world was changing. A new generation of tech tool user is emerging and they are not buying into the lengthy thumb typed reactive messages the Blackberry enables you to send from anywhere, anytime. This new user has different priorities, and as a result, hundreds if not thousands of applications are being developed to allow instant access to pretty well any type of information available online. We have begun to communicate to each other in different ways.

I knew making the switch to an iPhone wasn’t going to be easy, but I knew it had to be done. I didn’t make the change to try and be cool I am well beyond worrying about that.  I made the change because to effectively stay ahead of the game in building and leading a real estate brand of the future; one needs to experience what the emerging consumers and agents are experiencing firsthand. That has always been my way. And so instead of continuing to use a tool that arguably has better business applications, I have started to use a tool that has begun to shape the way of the future. And as an added bonus, you won’t be receiving as many late night e-mails from me.

15 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend…

  1. Hi Sherry, Love this post. You are on the money.

    You’ll love the iphone even more after the new release comes out, it has many new functions that will make the iphone more business friendly.

    You can see it here (just came out today) not publicly available yet though – comes out in the summer, but developers can start working on it now.


    Pierre from Trulia

  2. I am on your facebook account and I am very curious about this phone. I also have the Blackberry, but feel that it is slower to use than my palm was. Do you like the touch screen better? What about Blackberry you like better? What do you like about Iphone better? Very interested in this switch.

  3. Congrats on the switch! I am truly an iPhone fan, the sheer power this little device is truly mind-boggling, and the open-ness (relatively speaking) of the development community brings us so many apps means that the possibilities are endless. There are some good iPhone apps out there for the RE industry, but my hope is that this year we will see some great ones.

  4. Well said, Sherry! I’ve heard a lot about RIM from the CBC podcast, which I listen to every day. I have the same sentiment, as I switched to iPhone last summer as well, and find that the applications are astounding. I can add to my blog via my iPhone, and even edit XHTML!

  5. Sherry,
    You’ll love your new phone. I made the switch months ago. Easy to use and many great applications that can be downloaded in seconds. Great email and web with 3G. One problem…If you’re also a Top Producer user, you can’t access it with an iPhone. Hopefully, as the Apple commercials say…”They’ll have an app for that!”

  6. Sherry!

    Keep them both – you need a backup phone. Also, Blackberry is launching their version of the app store soon – and with their abundance of users globally, all predictions are that the focus of app development will shift to blackberry because the audience opportunity is so much larger.

    Also, it is nice to have a phone on separate networks in case you get stuck in a service VOID

  7. Hi Everyone – there has been a lot of interesting feedback, and as Victor suggests, l will keep my Blackberry, inactive for the time being… the iPhone is great, it allows for a whole new mindset and forces you to be plugged in to many different things at different levels. It forces you to be less reactive and more proactive, which when you think about it is the way the world turns now… isn’t it? Thanks for your comments and feedback, here, on Facebook and Twitter…

  8. You’ll have to pry my BB from my cold, dead hands. I love the idea of the IPhone, and I get it that it is changing the way we use our mobile devices, along with changes thanks to Facebook and Twitter. But as a Realtor, I want/need some of the advantages of the BB. Namely the Outlook Exchange interface… And instant email. “He who responds to a lead first wins.” That hasn’t changed, and while it is reactive, our 1st role as agents is to be reactive to our leads… Without them we’re unemployed. The IPhone doesn’t give the quick response that the BB does. So…

  9. I agree with Victor Lund: the BB is here to stay and compete. I have a great friend whose wife uses the iPhone, he uses the iTouch (the same thing without the phone added), and he uses a Blackberry like me, so I get a lot of info about the two.

    The iPhone is only on AT&T, which is consistently rated one of the worst cell providers. Since it’s only one network, the Blackberry app store will be able to sell apps for phones on multiple networks, including the largest three. That provides more incentive for independent developers.

    Secondly, Apple has a bad history with creating a great product and then getting stuck on the aesthetics. So far, the apps I’ve seen are cute and moderately productive, but they seem to have significant limitations.

    Granted, the browser ability on the iPhone is phenomenal. But, RIM will undoubtedly face them head-on. Throw in Google’s Android technology on T-Mobile, and you’ve got three top-of-the-line systems to compete and force innovation through the independent developers.

    So, the point is, Sherry, you’re jumping the gun. The iPhone is a nice shiny toy right now, but I fear that Apple will bog down in its old ways of not wanting to change its phones’ technologies fast enough to suit tomorrow’s demands. A great example is that there is only one version out at a time. For the Blackberry, it has both the touch screen version and a version for people like me who prefer the hard keyboard, along with the slimline version for people who want smaller phones. It seems Apple follows Henry Ford’s mantra: “You can have any color you want as long as it’s black.” They innovate early and then choke with the competition.

  10. Little guys like Linda and I are at the mercy of the vendors who provide the technology that allows us to work. The MLS and Top Producer are quasi monopolies and neither are interested in compatibility with anything beyond IE 1.0. Our MLS, run by the Inman Innovator Man of the Year, won’t run on anything other than IE. Not even Firefox. Forget Safari.

    Top Producer newest issue TP 8i doesn’t even have a bulk email delete. This in an industry that is email dependent and spam overloaded.

    The rest of this stuff is all video games. A place to carve out a little patch of interweb territory to call your own, but video games nonetheless. See Ken Brand’s comment about Pandora. My clients have never even asked me if I have Frank Sinatra in my pocket. (He’s on that little micro SD card under the battery.) They usually want to know how many square feet are in a particular house and what the tax rate is.

    In our markets in South east Texas, a pretty iPhone on AT&T would be a very expensive iPod. We just switched to Blackberries for the email and text so we have a chance at keeping up. Just couldn’t type on a normal keypad, and the Treo was a clunker. Still use a ten year old Sony Clie for the portable Top Producer database function. That will change as we go forward.

    That said, I am waiting until my mission critical vendors get a clue so I can have more than Frank Sinatra in my pocket.

    1. I really like your comments Thomas – generally speaking our industry has been behind since day one as far as technology is concerned. This is giving me an idea to write a seperate post about the disconnect, and there is a big one.

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