Vote Or Die

So some banks are so poor now that they can’t even afford to pay for your Blackberrys and there’s a chance RIM might even go out of business as a result and I feel for you, I really do, but you know how it is…not so bad for DealBreaker, not so bad for Bess. What I’m getting at is that our publisher has decided I need to be able to check in with the tips line more frequently because you never know when Citigroup’s going to announce a 350 billion dollar writedown or Jim’ll want to get high and he (our publisher, but Jim, too) just really feels that I need to be accessible at all times in more ways than currently offered by my Razr. (This whole thing actually would’ve been a lot more satisfying if it had played out more like “Hey, Bessiecakes,* a busy and important person like you needs a wireless handheld device that allows you to check your e-mail and browse the Web for unique and interesting Craigslist postings (FOR THE PURPOSES WRITE-OFFS) whenever/wherever” than “Can I have a Blackberry?” “Yeah, sure,” but whatever, I don’t care. I really don’t.)
Only thing is, I can’t decide which one to get. (Obviously I’ve ruled out a Sidekick, because I’m neither a 14 year-old girl nor a ‘mo of any age (not that there’s anything wrong with that, I’m just not) and the Treo, because (in my mind only) I’m not a loser). You people know Blackberrys and you’ve made it this far (down the post) anyway, so I just thought, how about a poll? And here we are. I have a few notes, which aren’t intended to inform your pick, just things to keep in mind: The Curve strikes me as very soccer mom, but I don’t know, maybe I should run with that? I like the weight of the 8700, but prefer the look of the 8800 (in black). I’ve more or less rejected the Pearl out of hand because it’s called the Pearl but I’m trying to step outside my comfort zone in all aspects of life and one might say that this would be a good place to start (though I’m asking as a friend: please don’t). I’m not going to include the 7130 because I know some people won’t be able to help themselves from voting for it simply because I think it’s a hideous eyesore and wouldn’t that be hilarious. But if there’s anyone out there with strong feelings for the model, please share. Alright, so you pick one for me now, and later, we’ll help Carney decide which finish he should use for his head shots (I say matte, he’s holding out for high gloss).
*in this scenario Keith, who’s the only one who calls me that, still works at DB.

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One Of Those Guys Was Using An iPhone

It goes without saying that here at DealBreaker, we judge people. Obviously looks, arrogance, dental records and the ability to swing a racquet are all taken into account when there’s sizing up to be done, but how do we decide who should be summarily dismissed from our line of vision? Two words–finger dexterity. Are you a good person? Intelligent? Kind? We don’t care. Can your appendages move with speed and competence? This is the stuff that matters to us.
Which is why, when WallStrip asked if we’d like to enter Silas Greenback into its annual Ms. Blackberry Pageant ’07, we willingly shoved her in L. Campbell’s direction. Of course we wanted Moss to be a contestant, if only to see if she’s up to snuff, re: our aforementioned litmus test. Despite having some suspect difficulties with a keg of cheese balls that must be indicative of a much deeper personal problem, the mistress of RIMM put in a very respectable show, not necessarily reflected in the outcome of the contest. (Sorkin–you’ve got our number.)
Apropos, the Wi-Fi here at Promises is really quite impressive.

This Is About Freedom

If you’re like us, it’s pretty hard to get through your day without cellphones, AIM, BlackBerrys and Bloomberg terminals. Whether it’s a message to say, “Hey, story in the Times about bestiality at Bear,” a quick buzz to see if anyone wants to come to get confrontational with the security guards at 85 Broad, have cyber sex or insider trade, without these forms of electronic communication, we’d all be at loss for what to do with ourselves (though that’s an idea). Unsurprisingly, the N.Y.S.E. and NASD, full of non-stop hate, are trying to strip us of our rights to do any of the aforementioned, in an effort to police (state) how written information is spread via internal and external exchanges.

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Blackberry Blackout: A Personal Story

blackberryeaten.JPGLast night we had dinner in the West Village with a partner at a law firm, his wife and four young women. After a few too many blood orange margaritas a debate broke out among the women about exactly when a French-fluent Midwestern girl named Sandra had moved to France for her Paris office. Someone said September. Someone else said October. We ordered another Michelada.
So the did the usual thing we do when we have unresolved questions: we blackberried for an answer. It was still a bit early for Sandra to be awake in Paris but only just. We were confident we’d get an answer over after dinner drinks.
Cut to an hour and half later. We’ve been joined by a couple of more friends. One Merrill guy who spends an unlikely amount of time rock-climbing. Another guy who works somewhere that no-one ever remembers. The bartender serves a fourth round of cocktails. We take the top off ours, then the bottom. Time seems to be moving very quickly but somehow none of our songs have come on the jukebox.
“That’s strange,” the blonde who is trying to grow her hair out after years of wearing it in a severe short chop. “My emails aren’t sending.”
No-one had received any emails for the past couple of hours. Someone wondered if the bar had some sort of blackberry interference device operating. But that wasn’t it.
It was only this morning we learned that blackberry maker Research In Motion’s entire network in the Western hemisphere had gone down. We woke up this morning with our cell phone ringing with the news. Our cell phone never rings in the morning.
“If a banker sends a blackberry and no-one reads it does he really exist,” the caller said.
This is going to be an interesting morning.
Let us know your Blackberry Blackout stories in the comments section below. Or send them to Is yours working? When did it go down? What sort of chaos was caused by the sudden cut-off in instant, everywhere emails?
9:01 Update:Some readers are reporting that their messages are coming through. Others still are waiting. It seems the backlog of messages may be jamming the pipes that make the blackberry magic work.
9:21 Update:DealBook reports that some banks have service while others still have problems. “BlackBerry owners at J.P. Morgan Chase and Citigroup said they were getting service as usual; a worker at Deutsche Bank reported problems accessing e-mail via BlackBerry,” DealBook says.
9:41 Update:The latest twist is that outgoing messages seem to be going, well, out but the incoming messages are still backed-up for a lot of service providers.
10:00 Update: Best reader comment: “Right in the middle of earnings season blackberry shuts down. Greatest disclosure of product risk ever.”
[The picture above is of DealBreaker’s landlord Pearl nervously chewing her blackberry, waiting for the network to return.]

The War Against Blackberries, Continued

We’re not in the business of watching the Today show so thank goodness somebody at Gawker is. Otherwise we might have missed this segment of Forbes managing editor Dennis Kneale breaking down into tears after being deprived of his email, cell phone, laptop and blackberry for 40 hours.
It’s entertaining stuff but we’ve got to admit that we’re just about at the end of our patience with this entire genre of anti-blackberry, anti-cell phone journalism. Sure its annoying when someone sends emails or texts while you’re trying to have a conversation with them, or chats away on a cell phone while you need some peace and quiet. We applaud saloons, restaurants and private clubs that have banned using the devices indoors. (By the way, the New York Athletic Club and the Ear Inn seem to have struck the perfect balance by leaving in their old phone booths, with the phones stripped out, and restricting cell phone and blackberry use to the booths). But this is all going a bit too far now.
Mobile phones and blackberries are very useful devices. When one the DealBreaker staff was recently “mowed down” by a hit-and-run driver on the lower east side, an ambulance arrived in amazingly short order, thanks in part to the fact that someone on the scene summoned them with a mobile phone. When that same staffer was confined to the hospital for several days, we gained new appreciation of the benefits of mobile communication.
We’ve found blackberries and mobile phones useful in far more mundane ways as well. Back when we worked on deals that sometimes involved long periods of waiting around doing nothing at all while we waited for some documentation to be produced or new financial models to get worked out, we made it a habit of skipping out to a movie. We’d sit comfortably in a theater with stadium seating, having set our voicemail to forward to our cell phone and our knowing we’d get our emails instantly on our blackberries. It often meant walking out of a movie once our services were needed but it was far more pleasant than shuffling papers in a conference room. And, we later discovered, our constant practice of removing ourselves from deal rooms in such situations created the impression that we were very busy, and thus very important people.
But the benefits of mobile communications might go even further, as Steve Sailer has recently pointed out.

What device that spread throughout society in the 1990s made it radically easier for witnesses to report street crimes to the cops while they were happening, thus discouraging young people from making a career of being a street criminal?
Right: the cell phone.

All this blackberry and cell phone hating is starting to look like yet another reformist campaign against a practical and useful innovation. And, of course, it’s being done in the name of our own physical and psychological health. We’ve had enough of that, thank you.

Dept. of How Stupid of Me Not to Have Thought of That Before

abc_congdon2_070110_nr.jpgVideo blog star Amanda Congdon is said to be totally addicted to her blackberry. No wonder she is apparently resorting to extreme things like Tasering herself to generate orgasms. According to Forbes, constant connection to the work world is ruining everyone’s sex lives.

According to therapists and psychologists, around-the-clock access to the office often results in fatigue, a lack of intimacy, resentment, increased conflict and even premature career burnout. All of which are enough to crater a less-than-solid marriage or relationship. Robert Reich, the former U.S. secretary of labor, popularized the term “DINS couples” (double income, no sex) when he discussed the hazards of work overload in a 2001 speech. While the comment drew laughs, it also brought to light a developing problem: People are working too much to have sex. In 2003, the Kinsey Institute reported that today’s women are having much less sex than their 1950s counterparts.

Is Your BlackBerry Ruining Your Sex Life? [Forbes]