However, the recent criticism masks his incredible accomplishments over his career. I really enjoyed listening to him speak about his career in general, and it helped to put his accomplishments in context. Lazaridis started Research In Motion in the early 1980s while he was finishing his undergraduate education. He did so in Waterloo, Ontario -- about as far from the tech world as you can imagine. Did he get savvy blue-chip venture capitalists to back him? No. Together with a buddy, he started the company with a loan of $15,000 from his parents, which was matched from the Ontario provincial government.
In fact, venture capitalists wouldn't even talk to him about his company for 10 years. (It was at that time that Lazaridis met Balsillie, who took a mortgage out on his house to invest in RIM and join the company in management.)