Back to Business

If insanity can be defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result then this should come as no surprise to anyone: the people running RIM are completely insane. All that the new 2-for-1 CEO swap has done is replace a couple guys who got the company lost with a guy whose compass can’t find North.

So I’ll go out on a limb and say this out loud (in fact at a poker game more than 4 months ago I did just that). RIM should get back to business. Screw the consumer market. I mean, don’t not have a camera and music player and integration with Facebook and Twitter, but don’t sell those bits, sell the stuff you’re good at. The stuff no one else can touch.

There used to be a time when RIM did something that no one else did. Wireless email. It was genius. Then along came text messages and mobile browsers and portable music and cameras and tons of gadgets were introduced to the market, Apple leading the way. Meanwhile, RIM kept doing what it did best, but by this time wireless email had turned into full featured mobile business communications, and they were still kicking everyone ass.

Then, someone over there at 175 Columbia Street thought to themselves, “Holy crap, if we don’t get the consumers on our side we’re done“, and they started to try to play with the kings of consumerism, and they got their ass kicked. Big time.

The thing with consumers is they’re fickle. They change their minds more frequently than a certain former RIM CEO tries to buy hockey teams. Corporations, however, take eons to make any sort of change, and guess what? Tons of them out there are using Blackberries. They’re reliable, they’re secure, and they allow business to happen.

If a hundred million dollar deal is in the works, do you want to send the draft to your CEO on a Blackberry, or with the same toy your kid uses to play Angry Birds?

You’re working on a presentation to the board of directors and you need some financials from Larry over in accounts payable. Do you ask him to send it to the same device currently playing the new Justin Bieber video for your kid or do you use a Blackberry?

Hell, the  President of the United States  uses a Blackberry. Now that’s saying something.

But what the hell do I know. I’m not a CEO, or a market analyst, I’ve never even so much as taken a single business class, and I use an iPhone.

2 thoughts on “Back to Business

  1. Anonymous

    Although I do not work for RIM, I do live in Waterloo and have many friends who work there. I wish them only success. However, I am extremely nervous about their future – especially if we are talking about 5 years out. Although I am hopeful for a turn around, I would not bet on it.

  2. Andrew F. Butters

    Thanks for the comment Anonymous. I work in Waterloo and have many friends who work for RIM. I really want them to succeed but I am losing faith that they can rebound.Interesting story. Back in 1997 I went to this small company named Research in Motion for a study. I was locked in a room with a marketing/research guy and asked to pick up these blocks of wood with little keyboards painted on them. I was to pretend to type a series of phrases and sentences and I was to fill out all these forms on which one I liked best. For my trouble I think I was given 30 bucks in gift certificates to East Side Mario's. That night I went to the restaurant and got my free dinner. While there I put in a ballot to win a mountain bike. A few days later I got a call from someone telling me I won the bike! some time later I saw the first Blackberry… it looked just like one of the wooden models I pretended to type on 🙂


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