Let Us Take a Moment to Mourn the BlackBerry

This week, there were two landmark events in my life. BlackBerry announced it will stop making handsets, and my husband turned 60. One of those events has me in complete denial, and it is not the birthday. How could they do this? It feels so personal. I bought my first BlackBerry from Research In Motion in December 2004, the same week that I bought my company. While I was certainly not the earliest adopter (the company passed the 1m user mark that year), not many people in business yet had one.  For those of us who did, it changed our lives. No longer did I have to go into the office, or find an internet connection, to get my email. The hassle of having to dial up from my laptop in hotels, or trying to find an internet café, disappeared overnight. Less than a year later I bought a handset for everyone who worked with me. For my generation of working women, the BlackBerry handset, as a technological breakthrough, was every bit as liberating as the introduction of the contraceptive pill had been to a previous generation. As it could email from everywhere, you could be out of the office and still work perfectly well, allowing you to combine motherhood with a career in a way that had not been possible before. Indeed, a friend at a large US company found her BlackBerry meant that she could work part-time for 14 years – and very few people ever noticed. Suddenly flexibility was for everyone. The “always on” approach had arrived. (FT)



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