John Paczkowski

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Gist and Tungle Founders Bail on BlackBerry

departuresWhen BlackBerry finally gets around to the next round of layoffs it is reportedly plotting, it can dial back its head-count reduction, thanks to a pair of employees who have taken matters into their own hands.

Sources close to BlackBerry tell AllThingsD that T.A. McCann — the company’s VP of product strategy for BlackBerry Messenger and founder of Gist, the social contacts service it purchased in 2011 — left last month. Departing at approximately the same time: Marc Gingras, founder of, the social calendaring outfit BlackBerry acquired in April 2011, and a key player in the development of the company’s new BlackBerry 10 operating system. It’s not clear why McCann and Gingras left. One source said they’d “simply had it” with BlackBerry’s ongoing struggles. Another chalked their departures up to an “entrepreneurial itch.”

BlackBerry confirmed to AllThingsD that McCann and Gingras are no longer with the company, and said their departures were amicable.

The loss of two such key employees adds to the widening eddy of bad news swirling around BlackBerry these days. Last month, the company reported quarterly results that fell far short of expectations, and worse, it predicted another operating loss for the current quarter. Not exactly hard evidence of the looming resurgence that BlackBerry’s leadership has been promising, though, to be fair, it is still in the early stages of a difficult transition, as CEO Thorsten Heins recently noted.

News of McCann’s and Gingras’s departures was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work