Not too long ago I came across a fascinating article detailing at how Starbucks is not just an impressive business success story, but has changed popular culture along the way. The article lists several ways in which Starbucks has functioned as a â€œchange agent,â€ including changing what we pay for coffee, our tastes, what we eat, how we order, how we meet, etc.
This started me thinking as to if and how our beloved BlackBerry has functioned as a change agent. I believe it has, in at least the following ways.
1) Changed our expectations of mobile phones. Mobile text and data are an important part of the equation, not just the voice features. For instance, now the type of keyboard and its ease of use are often viewed as a critical design component.
2) Changed what we pay. With mobile data involved, we now expect to pay more for our cellular service. This will have huge implications for the carriers, as they attempt to figure out the business models that maximize revenue from data services.
3) Changed the way we work. The availability of mobile email has spawned all types of changes in work habits and productivity. For better and worse, the BlackBerry has become the symbol of technology that allows people to take their work anywhere with them.
Letâ€™s face it: the BlackBerry has changed the way people communicate and thatâ€™s a big deal. The brand name BlackBerry has become in many peopleâ€™s minds a kind of generic term for any mobile email device. The term has even become a verb, as in â€œI BlackBerried the client with a list of suggested contract changes.â€
The other day I was in a Starbucks and I noticed a gentleman sitting with his cup of coffee, using, you guessed it, a BlackBerry. It was the perfect convergence of change agents.