BlackBerry Town

How High Tech Success has Played Out for Canada's Kitchener-Waterloo

Chuck Howitt

An insightful new history of the BlackBerry innovation and its revolutionizing impact on the community of Kitchener-Waterloo. Taking you inside the stories of Research in Motion, and how it led the way to the development of Canada's most successful tech community.
Date Published :
February 2020
Publisher :
Lorimer
Language:
English
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Paperback
ISBN : 9781459414389
Pages : 256
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
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Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order
$24.95

Overview
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The smartphone was an incredibly successful Canadian invention created by a team of engineers and marketers led by Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie. But there was a third key player involved — the community of Kitchener-Waterloo. In this book Chuck Howitt offers a new history of BlackBerry which documents how the resources and the people of Kitchener-Waterloo supported, facilitated, benefited from and celebrated the achievement that BlackBerry represents.

After its few short years of explosive growth and pre-eminence, BlackBerry lost its market to digital juggernauts Apple, Samsung and Huawei. No surprises there. Like Nokia and Motorola before it, BlackBerry was eclipsed. Shareholders lost billions. Thousands of employees lost jobs. Bankruptcy was avoided but the company's founding geniuses were gone, leaving an operation that today is only a fragment of what had been. For Kitchener-Waterloo — as Chuck Howitt tells the story — the Blackberry experience is a mixed bag of disappointments and major ongoing benefits. The wealth it generated for its founders produced two very important university research institutes. Many recent digital startups have taken advantage of the city's pool of talented and experienced tech workers and ambitious, well-educated university grads. A strong digital and tech industry thrives today in Kitchener-Waterloo — in a way a legacy of the BlackBerry experience.

Across Canada, communities hope for homegrown business successes like BlackBerry. This book underlines how a mid-sized, strong community can help grow a world-beating company, and demonstrates the importance of the attitudes and decisions of local institutions in enabling and sustaining successful innovation.

Canada has a lot to learn from BlackBerry Town.

About The Author
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Chuck Howitt was a reporter for the local daily newspaper, the Waterloo Region Record, until his recent retirement. He covered Research In Motion, the maker of BlackBerry, and other business stories for the newspaper. For this book he went back to his sources, and to more than 50 Kitchener-Waterloo residents whom he interviewed for their perspectives on the BlackBerry experience. This is his first book. He lives in Kitchener.

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