Where are the RIM alumni?

GigaOM has a great story about "The Growing Ex-Amazon Club and Why It’s a Good Thing”. This is essentially an extension of the Fairchildren model for seeding companies and talent. Jevon has placed MaRS in the deadpool. Austin, Joey and I have wondered about the role of early employees from successful companies at leaving to start, build and grow new startups.

It leaves me to question where are the RIM alumni? Where are the startups being started by ex-RIM employees?

You can find startups with founders from PixStream or Workbrain. You can see startups with DNA from Zero Knowledge Systems. The only RIM alumni founded startup I can find is Metranome.

Founders Wanted

I hadn’t realized how strong the motto at Reactivity was in our recruiting. We were looking for founders. John wrote about Reactivity’s beginnings back in 2004. I was lucky enough to join Reactivity as an early employee. I think I was employee number 12 and the third employee of Reactivity Austin (after Bryan Rollins and Andrew Willis). Reactivity was trying to build

A metastartup (this is a temporary name only–trying to think of a better one) is a company who’s mission is to foster a community of talented engineers and business people, with the goal of spinning off startup companies from that community, as well as to build a loosely coupled network of those companies.

It was a kieritsu, but not of businesses but of the individuals that build businesses. In recruiting new talent, whether on the design, business, marketing or engineering sides of the house, was to find founders. People that you wanted to leave Reactivity to start a new company. It meant that the goal was to develop every hire into a potential founder. You can see the alumni network of Reactivity designers, engineers and entrepreneurs around the valley. John Lilly is the CEO of the Mozilla Corporation. Mike Schroepfer is the director of engineering at Facebook. Graham Miller is the CEO of Marketcetera. Lynn Pausic runs Expero Inc. Ellen Beldner is the UX Designer for YouTube. Lynn Gabbay is the founder at Novod. Andrew Nash is a Senior Director at PayPal. Bryan Rollins was VP of Product Management at MessageOne before the Dell acquisition. The Reactivity alumni can be seen around Silicon Valley, Boston and New York.

A Magical Legacy – How these guys engineered our world

Fourteen years ago, a company called General Magic promised a handheld device that would make calls, send email, play music, and do almost everything else that makes today’s iPhone so drool-worthy. “Bill and Andy’s Excellent Adventure II” (April 1994) was about the two Macintosh vets – Atkinson and Herzfeld – leading the project. Unfortunately, they were far too early. General Magic sank in 2002. But its legacy lives on, in part because the effort was a formative experience for a team of brillant young engineers. Pierre Omidyar went on to start eBay. Tony Fadell heads Apple’s iPod hardware group. Kevin Lynch cooked up Flash. And Andy Rubin created the Sidekick and Google’s Android mobile platform. Not too shabby. As for Bill and Andy, they are still adventuring excellently: Atkinson works with the artificial intelligence startup Numenta, and Hertzfeld codes for Google. – Steven Levy, Wired 16.12 December 2008

Where are all the startups founded by RIM alumni?

RIM – User Experience Analyst – 0803425

Mississauga, ON


Research In Motion Limited® (RIM)® is a world leader in the mobile communications market and has a history of developing breakthrough wireless solutions. RIM’s portfolio of award-winning products, services and embedded technologies is used by thousands of organizations around the world and includes the BlackBerry® wireless platform, the RIM Wireless Handheld™ product line, software development tools and software/hardware licensing agreements. RIM is seeking driven individuals who can take our wireless data products to the next level in the global wireless market. Are you ready to make a difference in the world of mobile communications with RIM?

Position Summary

As a member of the RIM User Experience team, the successful candidate will support user-centered design throughout the product development process, from concept to commercialization. Working closely with other cross-functional teams as well as customers and partners, he or she will define user models, work flows, and interaction design for a variety of products, create wire frames and low-fidelity prototypes to show design concepts, conduct user research and usability testing, and translate research findings into concrete design recommendations. He or she will package, present and ‘sell’ ideas and recommendations to other teams and to senior management. Additional responsibilities include contributing to user interface specifications and standards, working with interaction designers to create design concepts and prototypes, and contributing to product requirements and use cases.


Essential Skills and Qualifications

  • Post-secondary education in human computer interaction, systems design engineering, interaction design, or a related field
  • 3-5+ years experience working in a professional environment on user experience research, feedback, and design
  • Demonstrated ability to work on multiple projects at once in collaborative, fast-paced environments
  • Strong research and quantitative skills, including statistics and data analysis
  • Excellent problem-solving skills to translate research into practical recommendations
  • A proven ability to articulate design concepts using rapid prototyping tools to define task flows, user interactions, and information architecture
  • Ability to dialogue with cross-functional teams (from product management to development) to deliver industry leading solutions
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills to articulate user experience ideas effectively to both technical and business audiences
  • Experience planning and facilitating usability testing, focus groups, and customer interviews
  • Solid understanding of user interface design principles and practices
  • Must be passionate about user-centered design and user experience
  • Demonstrated ability to handle multiple demands with a sense of urgency, drive and energy and work in a fast-paced team environment

If you’re driven to take wireless technologies to the next level, it’s time you join the team at RIM. We offer a challenging environment that fosters creativity and rewards excellence. Employees also have use of our award winning BlackBerry!