For the Love of BlackBerry :-D

How I became the'BlackBerry Crisis Rep'

Let's say it started in 2003 when I was one of the first 'retail cell reps' in the Washington, DC market, male or female to have the balls to set up a BlackBerry Enterprise Server for my very first BlackBerry sale with a very VERY VERY 'high expectations, high demand consulting client'. It took a few hours working with RIM T-Support and my former boss (and it didn't help that none of us even knew what a BES was prior to that, lol) but you know, I've seen IT folks that have taken 10+ hours to install one BES with no special configuration for like 3 BlackBerry's and the world's smallest company ever, good googedy moogedy. After a few installs, I confidently offered my expertise and services to the local retail stores and dealers (yes my competitors) to assist them with any challenging BlackBerry problems, server, service or hardware they ran into. At first they were a little leary, but then they thought, she couldn't be that 'dangerous' she brings out store Easter baskets, Halloween Goody Bags and Christmas Cookies, LOL. So that was that. Nearly 5 years later, I love my local DC retail stores and dealers. We 'swap' customers and help each other out all the time. Do I know everything about BlackBerry's and how to solve every problem. Of course not, but I know how to use ALL of my resources effectively and most importantly, I can work under an extreme amount of pressure while keeping the customer relaxed and confident that I am going to miraculously fix their problem fast (even if it seems that nobody else could). *Thank Goodness for Grrrl Power*.

My love of BlackBerry spans back to the Spring of 2003. I remember at that time I was getting frustrated with the cell phones that were currently offered on the market. The cell phone companies would build up all this hype about all their new phones launching only to find out it had all the same features as its predecessor, with just one thing slightly changed that somehow would drive the price up $100+ more.

As I had been selling cell phones for 5 years prior this was getting kind of old. I was far more intrigued by the data portion, the business and consumer applications and content and its 'future' capabilities as opposed to tradtional voice services with a built in camera. I felt that the proper application could really change and evolve the cell phone from its otherwise utilitarian nature. Enter the 'Blackberry'.

Short and Sweet

BlackBerry Love and the BlackBerry Experience comes from the way we work, play, travel and live with our BlackBerry. In this section you will learn more about:
* The BlackBerry Experience
* 'Berry Shortcuts
* How to Set up Your BlackBerry as a modem
* How to Detox from Your CrackBerry
* BlackBerry Thumb Exercises
* Where to Find the Best BlackBerry Help & Resources

Nice and Slow

Life B.B. (Before Blackberry)
Once upon a time my life was simple and carefree...with not a care in the world. Yeah Right, maybe when I was like 3 years old.

Before I sold BlackBerry I truly enjoyed selling data services and advanced applications i.e. at that time it was credit card readers and bar code scanning etc. for cell phones. Between early 2002 and 2005 I was in the Top 5% of sales reps for the Mid-Atlantic region for sales of data add on services and applications. I won an all expense paid trip to South Beach (Miami, FL) from ATT Wireless (before the Cingular merger) because of my data sales in 2002 and I won a plaque and some freebies in late 2003 from Nextel. It also helped a great deal that I sold primarily to business and Government accounts which often bought services in multiple numbers.

Heath Got Me Hooked
My first intro to BlackBerry came one day back in the Spring of 2003 when my then very cool 'Nextel' data rep, Heath McArthur, called me and said 'Shonika, we are having a BlackBerry training this week and you should come and check it out. I think you are really going to love the product, the concept and what it's all about'. So I went out to the half day training, met some people from the RIM (Research in Motion) Headquarters in Canada and myself along with about 25 other DC area reps sat there learning everything there was to learn about this new cell phone/PDA called BlackBerry. Several years before at the company I formerly worked for we had sold the original 'RIM/BlackBerry' pager but it was a pain in the neck to provide help and support for it more than anything. But looking at this all-in-one wireless tool that would be ideal for my business clients, I saw the opportunity right away.

Although I found it to be a little 'bulky' I really liked the concept of it and that it truly was something different. Some people at the training frowned a bit and were like $50??!?! a month extra (in addition to the voice plan) to get the BlackBerry email service, that is 'too much'. But I thought back to the days when 600 LOCAL minutes were $89 on Nextel and the phone itself cost $199 for the ugly brick clunker i390 and $399 if you wanted the i1000 flip. People paid it without question who needed the service and wanted the phone. The BlackBerry was no different. It was the first generation cell phone/PDA with push email service and it would definitely create a new niche audience from several vertical and service based industries.

You've Sold One, You've Sold a Million, lol
It was within 10 days after that training that one of my clients called and was looking for BlackBerry. As they were a large international PR consulting firms with quite a few former Senators and such on staff, they were often early adopters on a lot of technology and software level. The IT Administrator called and said they have done a lot of research about BlackBerry and wanted me to order them some for their Senior Level Staff and help them get a server set up. I was like sure...thinking to myself what the hell is a server??! LOL.

While I understand wireless technology I don't understand IT and computing technology. I had no clue whatsoever. So I picked up the phone and called the carrier customer care department and they were like WTF are you talking about? After numerous transfers, I got routed to RIM. I spoke to the carrier sales rep who walked me through the process over the phone (VERY CONFUSING). Needless to say the server was $5,000 for the full version at that time plus the cost of the additional licenses they needed above 20 that came with the server and then they had to buy a separate box. They could also purchase a smaller server but then they would have to upgrade at some point and then still pay the licensing fees. Yep, that is what she said. I had no idea what she meant so my boss (who had technical computing savvy helped me make sense of it all). To simplify the process, we bought the box for the customer and RIM mailed us the server, then we just charged the customer one flat fee for everything. The big day arrived and the 'server' came from RIM. When the UPS man arrived and handed me the box I was like--Is this it? $5,000 for this little package. The server was in a package like the size of an off the shelf software package or something. I was thinking it was some physical computer type hardware or something. Anyway, I take the server to the customer and they are like $5,000 for corporate based software is actually 'cheap', servers and licenses can easily run into 5 and 6 figures. So that kind of gave me some perspective.

We began to set up the BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server) and it was kind of like an install wizard and I was like WOW! This is great but about 4 screens in we ran into problems and we had to call RIM technical support (T-Support). We were able to get the Server up and running in under 2 hours.

Practice Makes Perfect
From that first experience I immediately saw the value of purchasing a full version BlackBerry server along with t-support (and I also thought that getting a server was a requirement when you bought BlackBerry's). I had been selling BlackBerry's for more than a year before I realized that there were other ways you could receive your email, oops, lol. But in retrospect, I am glad that I set up all my customers (small and big businessnes alike) with Servers because their lives in BlackBerry Land was happy and easy to manage after that. They never experienced capacity problems or trying to upgrade each user individually. IT could press one or two buttons and eureka, everybody's BlackBerry was zapped and fixed all at once.

No, That's Not 'IT'
I would say on the 3rd or 4th account I set up which was a pretty big law firm is when I realized that BlackBerry was part wireless and part IT and that they were not the same. I was explaining something to the IT Administrator about the BlackBerry. As it was a wireless related issue he totally did not understand what I was talking about. So just as I did not understand his IT lingo he didn't understand my Wireless lingo. It was then when I saw the tremendous opportunity in BlackBerry Helpdesk education and training and the evolution of the Professional Wireless Mobility Industry. Along with end user training I have more or less focused my efforts in that space ever since. There is still a huge disconnect by the general public.

BlackBerry University
In 2004 I got the BlackBerry opportunity of a lifetime. A few Senior Level execs from Research in Motion came to my store trying to mystery shop me and they were so impressed by my knowledge and understanding and passion of the product that they comp'd the $10,000k tuition for me to go to Research in Motion Headquarters in Canada and learn and train at the BlackBerry University (where all of the direct RIM Employees train). I learned everything in detail from installing a BES (for MS, Lotus and Novell) to support from first generation device to the present day model. As less than 10 of us nationwide got this opportunity that has never again since been offered, for those of us like myself, who stuck with it through the lawsuit, the iphone launch and all the rest of it, we receive amazing level of support from the Research in Motion team and I personally have gotten to support some extremely high level customers, granted their situations were often 'complex' it was well worth it to be able to work with them. RIM and the carriers often refer to me as the 'BlackBerry Crisis Rep'. And I am very honored to have my coveted title ;-)

I consider this to be the best part of The BlackBerry Experience: To be respected, acknowledged, 'branded' and very much appreciated by your fellow peers in the industry.

You Just Had to Ask

* The BlackBerry Experience

* 'Berry Shortcuts

* How to Set up Your BlackBerry as a modem

* How to Detox from Your CrackBerry

* BlackBerry Thumb Exercises

* Where to Find the Best BlackBerry Help & Resources

* Blackberry Forums

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