Why RIM? An Interview With Luca Filigheddu

August 2, 2012

A weird thing happened recently. A few good people have been changing jobs and joining… RIM. This might seem strange, especially when these are people that I value and follow online.

One such person is Luca Filigheddu. Luca is a long time virtual friend of mine: I have never met him, but I probably know him better than I know most of my neighbors and few of my friends. Like me, his roots are somewhere in the VoIP industry, but there the resemblance ends. The best introduction to Luca is probably his description on Twitter:

BlackBerry Developer Evangelist at RIM, Twimbow co-founder, geek, early adopter, italian, twitter addict, pianist, taekwondo, dad, husband. Opinions are my own.

Moving to RIM made me curious about his decisions, so I asked him a few questions and he was kind enough to answer them for me. Here they are:

Luca, you were working in the VoIP industry for years. You’ve been the CEO of a VoIP services company, while at the same time you delved at being an entrepreneur in twimbow, a great browser based twitter client. What made you leave it all and become an evangelist at RIM?

I was not planning to change. Then an opportunity arrived: be part of a big revolution in the mobile space. This doesn’t happen so often in your career, reason why I decided to accept. Now, after three weeks, I am even more excited and very happy to give my contribution to this revolution.

I know you received one of the alpha units of Blackberry 10 device from RIM before you became their evangelist. What did you find as the most useful feature of it?

The first version of the Dev Alpha basically contained a modified version of the Playbook OS, already based on QNX and fine to test applications. Anyway, my first impression was (for the device and for the preview of the OS): wow, this is going to be a protagonist, not a competitor or a follower.

What makes the Blackberry 10 stand out in a world of iPhone, Android and maybe a Windows Phone?

Flow, Extend, Connect. Take note of these three words, those are going to be the real stars here. A truly multi-tasking operating system, with an outstanding user interface and user experience, where you don’t feel it when switching from one app to another.

As a RIM evangelist, what is it that you do in your day to day work?

I tell developers the opportunity they have with BlackBerry 10, how to port their apps, how to get the most out of the tools they can use to develop apps. BB10 is a truly open platform and you can port any piece of code. And the feedbacks I am getting from devs are incredible.

If I were a developer today, and wanted to build a cross platform application. What would be the most sensible advice you could give me?

Go HTML5. Create a stunning HTML5 app and port it to the various OS, starting from BB10 of course. Our SDK, WebWorks, let’s you transform your HTML5 app in something very close to a native app, capable of accessing all the low level resources of the device and with an UI identical to a native one. Performance? BB10 is the king of HTML5, stunning performance. Then port it to the other mobile operating systems and… Ok, you will realize BB10 is from another planet πŸ™‚

If you ask me, I would have buried the Blackberry alive like the rest of the people out there; but something in the announcements they made during their last conference and the people they recruited – people like Luca – these things make me hesitate. We will need to wait at least until next year to see if it works out for RIM or not. I wish RIM all the luck and success – having them back in the ring means more innovation.

You can follow Luca Fillighedu on twitter or through his blog: Tech Genial.


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  1. The Blackberry was my first “real” smartphone. The world will be a sad place without it. And although I can’t see it from where we’re standing today, I really do hope BB 10 will bring RIM back on the map.
    But what really concerns me is the fact that no one is making a move for RIM at its current bargain price. Microsoft and Facebook the obvious two who would benefit from consolidation (patents and corporate customer base for Microsoft) and carve-out (mobile monetisation building block for Facebook) moves. But the fact that none have made a move for it – even though both have probably carried out deep strategic evaluation for it makes me wonder – if they don’t want it maybe it is just a dud…

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