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T.A. McCann
T.A. McCann

T.A. McCann is moving on from BlackBerry two-and-a-half years after selling his Seattle startup Gist to the smartphone maker. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news, also noting that founder Marc Gingras also has left BlackBerry.

We’ve reached out to McCann to find out what’s next for the serial entrepreneur who is a founder of Seattle startup Rival IQ, which GeekWire utilizes to analyze our GeekWire 200 list.

At BlackBerry, McCann served as vice president of BlackBerry Messenger and social communities. BlackBerry shut down the Gist email contact management service last September.

McCann ran Gist from 2008 to the time of its sale to BlackBerry, and before that worked at Microsoft in various roles and founded the startup HelpShare. Gist was venture backed by Foundry Group and Paul Allen’s Vulcan, which initially incubated the concept.

McCann is one of the more recognizable entrepreneurs in Seattle, serving as a mentor and advisor to organizations such as TechStars and Startup Weekend. Here’s a great talk he gave at the University of Washington Business Plan Competition in 2011 in which he explained how entrepreneurs must know how to deal with failure.

“To be an entrepreneur takes a tremendous amount of courage, and it takes a tremendous amount of courage to continue to dust yourself off when you fail,” McCann said. “And failure happens in every entrepreneurial company, even the most successful ones almost on a daily basis.”

McCann’s departure from BlackBerry, which occurred last month, comes amid an ongoing transformation at BlackBerry under the guidance of CEO Thorsten Heins. As we reported yesterday, the company has changed its name from RIM to BlackBerry.

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