Interview: The BlackBerry 10 Challenge with Christopher Dewdney, Financial Planner

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(Originally published on blogs.blackberry.com)

We started this project just over a month ago with a few goals in mind. First, I wanted to disrupt the work environment of those interested. I also wanted to introduce a few people to the powerhouse that is BlackBerry 10 ahead of theBlackBerry Classic (formerly BlackBerry Q20) launch later this year. Finally I wanted to discover what it takes a professional to power through their busy workday. The results so far have been outstanding. As you’ll discover throughout the series, our subjects, have really enjoyed their new phones. This takes us to todays interview with well-known Toronto-based financial planner and social photographer extraordinaire, Christopher Dewdney. When Christopher is helping his clients achieve their long-term financial goals, or he’s posting inspiring/uplifting quotes on his social feeds, he now uses a BlackBerry Z30 to be productive. I caught up with him for breakfast at his stomping grounds in downtown Toronto to get some insight into what moves him throughout his day.

 


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CH: Chris, thank you so much for sitting down to talk!

CD: Honestly, I feel privileged to have been included in this program.

CH: So, Chris, let’s start the questions off light. Anyone who knows you knows you’re a notorious multi-tasker, balancing a busy schedule and social life. Having officially exiled yourself from your previous smartphone, what are the biggest differences, productivity-wise, that you’ve noticed since going 100 per cent BlackBerry 10?

CD: Let’s say it’s been an experience and an adjustment, but in a good way – following? For me, the BlackBerry Hub is the biggest advantage. It offers a snapshot of what’s going on at any given moment and allows me to prioritize what needs to be addressed. I also like the flow of BlackBerry 10 and being able to easily maneuver around. The screen is phenomenal, and that keyboard is next level! I think I have about 7000 contacts; the address book polls all the social media information into their profile so I can see everything in front of me. This battery is the first of any device that can last the entire day. I relied heavily on a juice pack for my other phone — I’ve never had the BlackBerry Z30 run empty on me. I don’t even need a car charger, I unplug it in the morning and it runs the entire day… I wish my other phone lasted until lunch! I do sometimes yearn for a few key apps, but for the most part, it runs everything I need.

CH: Being a financial planner means you are bestowed with a lot of trust from your clients. How important is mobile security to you? Do you feel safer using BlackBerry 10?

CD: In regulated industries, security is very important. Like, one of the biggest features. When a client enters into a fiduciary relationship with me as their advisory, it means everything relies on trust. The trust transcends everything we do together, especially the access I have on the go. I feel 100 per cent confident and secure now. It’s always been the go-to for my line of work in financial services and I understand why.

CH: With the introduction of BlackBerry 10.2.1 BlackBerry has increased compatibility for Android developers to bring their apps to the BlackBerry World storefront. Do you see any app-gaps in your day-to-day use?

CD: I’m a productive person, so I don’t tend to play a lot of games. But, like I said, there are a few I rely on and I have found most of what I need.

CH: On average, how many emails do you get a day? Do you find that the BlackBerry Hub helps you stay on top of things?

CD: I have two main addresses that I use, combined I get about 200 emails a day, and that doesn’t include SMS or BBM messages. Again, I can’t stress this enough, the BlackBerry Hub helps shave off so much time because I can glance, see a text, and know to whether to ignore a buddy or address a critical email.

CH: You’re constantly on the go. How do you measure your personal productivity throughout the day? How do you know when you’ve hit your peak efficiency?

CD: I consider myself a pretty happening young professional. It’s difficult to keep entirely focused throughout the day when you’re heavy on social media. The way BlackBerry 10 organizes information and notifications, I don’t get pulled away from tasks over every single notification. I notice myself getting a lot more done now, without the distractions. For me, distractions are mostly coming from social media engagements, and I can cut through it now. Facebook is my biggest distraction, but I spend a lot of time snapping and sharing photos as well.

CH: A month in, to using BlackBerry 10 do you have any regrets? Do you see yourself going back?

CD: Nope. I am actually selling my other phone. Work and efficiency are my number one priorities and I’m coming out ahead on both fronts with the BlackBerry Z30. Side note: the accessories that came with the phone, and the presentation, were fantastic and I want to give a huge nod to the team for it.

CH: Any closing comments for #TeamBlackBerry?

CD: I know BlackBerry has customers around the world and, for me; it strikes a “Canadian Pride” cord. BlackBerry does make a great product and they know their market. The value-add I offer my clients is that I go see my clients. Each meeting is about an hour and half, plus travel. Further, my car doesn’t have GPS, so I rely on my phone for GPS as well. I can take calls, emails, and use maps and not be at risk of my phone dying out on me. The value-add that BlackBerry offers me is that I can focus on my clients and put them first.

Interview: The BlackBerry 10 Challenge with Jay Klein, CEO PUR Gum

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(Originally published on blogs.blackberry.com)

What does it mean to be an entrepreneur? Granted, no two people will give the same answer, but everyone will agree: tenacity and drive are two major factors. However, aside from personality traits, it takes some exceptional organization and multi-tasking skills to ensure that parts keep moving; something BlackBerry 10, at its core, is built to do. So, for the first in our series of interviews, we caught up with Mr. Jay Klein, Founder and CEO of Toronto-based PÜR® Gum and asked a few questions about his career. Below he’ll touch on what has kept him such a loyal BlackBerry customer over the years, why he attributes his early success to his trusty BlackBerry 7290 smartphone, and of course, why he thinks that you must always crawl before you walk.


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CH: Jay, thank you so much for taking the time to sit and talk to me!

JK: My pleasure!

CH: So, let’s get started: What is it about BlackBerry that keeps you as loyal? I understand that you’ve been on #TeamBlackBerry for a long time!

JK: Honestly, I am an ultra-loyal guy and BlackBerry was my first smartphone. I switched from a flip to a BlackBerry (the 7290) many years ago, upgraded several times as the device evolved, and never looked back. As an eager entrepreneur, having just graduated from school, I didn’t want to be tied to my desk; owning a BlackBerry solved that. It allowed me to take my business on the road. I attribute a large part of my early success on using a BlackBerry. I admit … at one point, I purchased another device during the BlackBerry transition time a few years ago. BlackBerry 10 hadn’t been released and I needed more from a phone at the time than my BlackBerry at the time could handle. And, no word of a lie, it was a huge learning curve. That phone, as great of a media and time consumption tool it was — was a big time waster in terms of productivity. It was hard to remain focused. I also missed the true communications experience that came with having a BlackBerry smartphone. To worry about constantly refreshing my inbox was getting taxing. It wasn’t long before I started to miss the keyboard on my BlackBerry. I could no-look type, longer, more thought out emails. On my other phone, not so much. It doesn’t provide nearly the same experience, for me.

CH: You’re a natural entrepreneur. You’ve tried and failed, but, unlike many, you’ve learned and let yourself (and products you’re building) benefit because of it. As the CEO of PUR Gum, and having your hands in other projects, you must be a natural multi-tasker….how does your BlackBerry allow you to be so productive?

JK: Now with hub and notification center it always brings forward the most relevant information. You can have fun with the device, but at its core, it’s built for business. BBM also makes global communication very easy as especially with overseas suppliers. PUR Gum is sold in over 25 countries and almost all over, I find, our suppliers are on BlackBerry. We all speak the same tech language. Further, push lets me know my suppliers are getting my emails, rather than waiting for refresh. And, of course, with the introduction of cross platform BBM, I have no boundaries for keeping in touch.

CH: You’ve likely more than doubled your staff in three years. Do you use BBM to communicate with them? If not, what other messenger service do you use?

JK: We definitely use BBM. As new staff comes on board, many with different devices, we generally adapt. Not everyone has an unlimited text plan, if they’re on BBM we can talk wherever, whenever… even over Wi-Fi®!

CH: PÜR Gum doesn’t have a BBM channel. If you created one today… what would you put as the subject headline for your first post?

JK: ‘Great taste runs with BlackBerry and pomegranate’. We need to always be where our audience is. Need to be aware, communicate and connect. We will be starting a BBM channel.

CH: You’ve successfully built a product from an idea to worldwide distribution in a few short years. If you could offer one small piece of advice to an aspiring entrepreneur reading this, what would it be and why?

JK: I advocate this to everyone: lay a very solid foundation early on. Think big and take it slowly. If you start to chase the finish, you’re going to hurt yourself. People only read headlines and see the money, but don’t know the work and effort that went into building it.

CH: Anything else you want to say to #TeamBlackBerry?

JK: Overall, I just love BlackBerry. Always available, battery great, speakerphone is great, solid feel and durable! Happy to promote the brand to anyone who will listen!