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Monday, June 9, 2008

Guess the speaker

My first assignment at Microsoft was a Product Manager for Microsoft Mail. It was an amazing experience since e-mail (which we take for granted today) was hardly commonplace. It was an opportunity to establish this whole new category of application on the PC platform.

My work schedule was quite hectic in the early days since Microsoft was a fairly small company in those days and one didn't have access to many resources. It was not uncommon for people to work 60 to 80 hours a week. But we didn't mind since it was great to be at the forefront of new technology adoption

I started TeamOn Systems in 1999. To fund the company, I went to a number of prominent angel investors who I had known. These included people like Sabeer Bhatia, the founder of Hotmail, Pete Higgins, Executive VP at Microsoft, Mike Slade, CEO of Starwave etc.

This was very valuable not just for the funding that they provided but more importantly for the tremendous amount of advice and experience they were able to provide.

The acquisition by RIM happened in 2002 and was prompted by RIM's desire to enter the "prosumer" (mobile professional or individual business user) in addition to their traditional enterprise business.

At TeamOn, we had built a unique consumer wireless e-mail technology which was a perfect fit for RIM's requirements. The acquisition was very successful for RIM -- the technology that was built by TeamOn became BlackBerry internet e-mail which is now being used by several million BlackBerry users.