Taking a fall break in BC, but here in my absence . . .

tony1459Edit90X167.jpgBy Tony Patterson
Away for a week in British Columbia. Back before the snow flies, posts resuming Nov. 1. Pardon the interruption but on my way out let me point to some work by local authors that may serve as worthwhile diversion in my absence.
BlackBerry Planet won't be the final book written about RIM — there's at least one other already in process — but it's the first and sets the standard. Those that follow will swipe or quote from the deep digging that Ottawa-based author Alastair Sweeny has done in the origins, passions and near death experiences of Research in Motion. Alastair has made the book the centrepiece of a multi-media presentation, with a website that holds research material and illustration and serves as a platform to build BlackBerry Planet 2.0. The site, which you may reach by clicking here, delivers a sample chapter for free and already provides some updates on the book.
The focus is on the multi-billion combo of Mike Lazaridis , co-founder and chief inventor, and the co-CEO and management whiz Jim Balsillie. Alastair traces the step-by-step, contract-by-contract 260px-BBPlanet-90X136.jpggrowth of the company from the time Lazaridis and co-founder Doug Fregin quit Engineering at UWaterloo and embarked on an entrepreneurial ride funded at first by parents and a $15,000 loan from Ontario. It was a success from the start, with contracts from major players funding a constant push to innovate. When the market exploded — and more specifically when there was an explosion in the world's biggest market — RIM was ready. An evil wind blew the company a lot of good when RIM messages got through the falling towers of 9/11 while other connections failed. And of course it was a dream come true to have a popular president of the United States fight with his security staff to keep his BlackBerry.
But while the company has enjoyed a lot of success, it almost came a-cropper in a patent case. The result is widely known. RIM paid upwards of $600 million to extricate itself from a dispute that escalated into what Alastair calls "the biggest patent fight in technology history." It was a knock-down, drag-em-out affair and the chapter that deals with it sizzles with the drama of a david and goliath confrontation.
On another front, you are invited to a gathering of Ottawa entrepreneurs, investors and support organizations to launch James Bowen's Entrepreneurial Effect project. Like Alastair, James isn't satisfied with just a book. In this case the book — with an intro by Sir Terence Matthews — kicks off "an initiative by entrepreneurs to create a forum to exchange practical and pragmatic advice."
You can meet Sir Terry and other authors of the Entrepreneurial Effect book on Nov. 5 at 7:30pm, 359 Terry Fox Drive, Suite 210. I can't tell you much about the book because I haven't seen it. But the list of contributors is a rolodex of the local tech community (Tony Bailetti, Jeff Dale, Debbie Weinstein, Tamas Koplyay among more than 30 on the list). There's bound to be some advice that's useful and at least you'll know one or more of the authors, which alone should be incentive enough to buy a book. The event is free and refreshments will be served, courtesy of Dave Smith, but seating is limited. You can reserve a spot by sending an email to jbowen@ces.on.ca or by phoning the book distributor at 613-523-2444.

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