Name: Justen Deal
Occupation: Partner, Vieu Health
Twitter Account: @justen
Favourite BlackBerry LinkedIn Group:BlackBerry for Business, of course!
Tell us a bit about yourself! (background, education, family, etc)
I started Vieu Health back in 2008, after I left Kaiser Permanente. There’s such an incredible opportunity to help improve healthcare delivery and outcomes through smarter systems…I guess I’ve just about always been a geek, but seeing the potential for technology to help improve health was a bit of a turning point for me. I didn’t grow up knowing that I wanted to be a healthcare information technology geek someday, but seeing those opportunities and that potential made me realize that this is what I wanted to be able to do.
Why are you a #TeamBlackBerry fan?
I’ve been a #TeamBlackBerry fan for a long time, and I honestly can’t tell you how many times my BlackBerry has been there, helping me get something done or get the information I need. My BlackBerry helps me stay in touch with friends and family, colleagues and partners — and with integrated communication and social feeds now linked to every contact from the BlackBerry Hub and the calendar, it’s simple to stay up-to-date and easily pick back up where I left off, no matter what the channel (email, text, BlackBerry Messenger, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, you name it). When something becomes such an indispensable tool for your personal and professional life, it’s easy to be a fan. But I think pretty much all of us BlackBerry fans really are evangelists, because we know how incredible the BlackBerry experience is, and we want to share that experience!
What’s your favorite BlackBerry app?
It’s really tough to narrow it down, there are so many incredible apps launching every day for BlackBerry 10. I have quickly become a huge fan of BlackBerry Remember, which integrates perfectly with Evernote. Authomator, a really well-designed two-factor authentication app, has also quickly become a must-have for me. And, I really have to mention the awesome new BBM and the new native WhatsApp…Video, voice, and cross-platform? Yup!
How do you use your BlackBerry smartphone and PlayBook tablet for work?
It’s probably easier to just point out that it’d be tough to nothave my BlackBerry and PlayBook. I’m almost always heading somewhere, so having my PlayBook with the Bluetooth Mini Keyboard and Docs To Go is always a lifesaver when I need to get something created, edited, or wrapped-up inflight. As for my BlackBerry, it’s hard to think about life before BlackBerry Hub…It makes perfect sense from the get-go, and it makes keeping up with everything a heck of a lot simpler.
What picture is your current BlackBerry wallpaper (and why!)?
On my BlackBerry, it’s a photo from l’heure bleue in Old Montréal. On my PlayBook, it’s a shot of the mountains from Snowshoe, West Virginia, not too far from where I grew up. Two of the most beautiful places in the world…It’s nice to have them there reminding me, even when I’m away.
What’s your favourite BlackBerry smartphone model, and why?
I absolutely love my BlackBerry Z10. Everything just works beautifully. The new full-touch keyboard experience is leaps and bounds better than any other touchscreen typing experience out there. The apps I need and want are here on BlackBerry 10, and the new peek and flow user experience makes so much more sense than constantly having to open and close apps…And it’s great seeing new apps in BlackBerry World every day. The BlackBerry Z10 is absolutely the best BlackBerry yet — not to mention the best smartphone yet, period — and it’s backed by software that really exceeded any and all of my expectations for a new, modern mobile computing platform.
If a friend were in the market for a new smartphone or tablet, what would you say to convince them to join the BlackBerry family?
Try it out! It was love at first sight for me…I was just at HIMSS13 in New Orleans, and a lot of folks recognized the BlackBerry Z10. It was pretty fun giving guided BlackBerry 10 tours to, in some cases, folks I’d never even met before! Seeing BlackBerry 10 through the eyes of people who are used to other platforms was also pretty telling… After someone spends a few moments with BlackBerry 10, you’ll hear a lot of “Wow, I wish my phone did that!” and “Oh, that makes so much more sense than how my current phone handles that!” But BlackBerry Hub, combined with the effortlessness of the new keyboard experience — those two seem to be what usually seals the deal. So I don’t normally have to say much at all to convince folks to join the BlackBerry family, I usually just let them try it out for themselves…BlackBerry 10 does the convincing itself!
What are the “Top 5” things you keep in your purse/briefcase/backpack at all times?
My BlackBerry Z10 is always either in my hand or on my belt, but my BlackBerry PlayBook with the Mini Keyboard is always in my bag. If I’m going to be away for more than a day, I’ll also pack the BlackBerry Z10 Battery Charger Bundle, which really comes in handy on redeye flight days. When I’m travelling, I’ll also load up my BlackBerry Z10 with some new music either through BlackBerry Link from my MacBook or from the music storefront in BlackBerry World, and I always pack a comfortable pair of earphones. And not sure if it counts since it’s only virtually in my bag, but I usually try to have a good book to read, downloaded from the Kobo app on my PlayBook.
What are some of your favourite blogs and websites that you visit often?
As a BlackBerry addict, you know CrackBerry is on my list, as is the Inside BlackBerry for Business Blog. I’m a gadget geek at heart, so Engadget and MobileSyrup are usually an open tab for me, too. And in my field, HIStalk is where you go when you really want to know what’s really happening; it’s sometimes a bit irreverent, but it’s always smart, insightful, and to-the-point.
Any interesting facts people would be surprised to know about you?
I guess I’m fairly boring from an interesting facts perspective…I did leave high school early, to start college. My first major, at Marshall University, was journalism. I have always been fascinated by folks and their stories, their lives, their endeavors, the challenges folks sometimes have to overcome… So journalism made sense. When I moved to Montréal, to study at Concordia University, I ended up studying commerce. The idea of starting a company, creating something from scratch, doing something really well, and hopefully doing something good… That made a lot of sense to me, too. I don’t know how unusual it is to go from journalism to commerce or vice versa, but I think the listening (and understanding!) parts combined with the creating (and planning!) parts were pretty invaluable once it dawned on me how well they fit together.