ned Productions Consulting

Technology musings by Niall Douglas
ned Productions Consulting
(an expert advice and services company based in Ireland)

Monday 19th August 2013 9.34pm

Well today I was fired from BlackBerry as part of their downsizing! I was barely there, just ten and a half months, but in my short time there I think it is safe to say I certainly made an impression - I think I even achieved the fastest internal Stackoverflow karma points rise ever, but don't quote me on that!

Some of the highlights of my time there included single handedly porting clang/LLVM to QNX, something I only finished last Friday and it was wizard to watch LLVM being live JITed into ARM on device. Another highlight was a tool single handedly written in Boost.Spirit converting a callgrind (a valgrind tool) dump of a Cascades EmailCard launch into GraphML directed graph which contained tens of thousands of nodes (functions) and hundreds of thousands of vertices (call paths), all of which was weighted by estimated CPU time based on the callgrind's CPU cache timings, which was a real big data challenge and made good use of my Econometrics training. Another highlight was a single handed implementation of a 12,000 line prototype of a standardised C++ Component Object implementation, which was my response to BlackBerry's dire productivity gap (after all, Microsoft COM is said by Microsoft itself to be the greatest internal productivity tool they ever made).

So why did they fire me? Well, all of the above was single handed, so I was an easy cut with few ripples on other teams or projects. My clang port created what was perceived as a threat to their power and authority by other teams in the company not in Waterloo, so they agitated for my removal as part of the ongoing downsizing. And I had annoyed senior management no doubt, by pushing for a much closer engagement with UW among other things which probably made some look foolish or incompetent.

I have no regrets. I very much enjoyed my time at BlackBerry, and my thoughts and best wishes are for those still working there and those who were fired today along with me. I wish the brand and company the very best of luck in the future. Meanwhile, back to Google Summer of Code for me, now I can really dedicate some time to it!