BlackBerry COO Marty Beard: We're not letting one product or idea define us

As I mentioned in an earlier post, BlackBerry has been ramping up their company messaging to let folks know there is way more to BlackBerry than just their handset business. Another prime example of 'fighting' that mindset has come from Marty Beard, BlackBerry's chief operating officer, in response to a recently published article on Huffington Post titled 'Don't Let Yourself (Or Your Kid) Be The Next BlackBerry'.

In the article, which is pretty much just an excerpt from the book the article author is selling, the author highlights the importance of university students being well rounded and "recognize the value of life beyond their grades." To push these ideas, the author, David Finch and his co-author, Ray DePaul, a former product manager at BlackBerry use the example of iPhone vs. BlackBerry to show how BlackBerry wasn't a whole product at the time and wasn't well rounded enough to compete. A tired argument, but one that apparently caught the attention of Marty Beard, BlackBerry's chief operating officer, who decided to pen a response on the Inside BlackBerry blog.

Dear Mr. Finch and Mr. DePaul,

I read your article, "Don't Let Yourself (Or Your Kid) Be The Next BlackBerry" this morning and felt compelled to respond. As a father, I agree that kids should "recognize the value of life beyond their grades" and "invest in different dimensions of their life." Where I disagree with you, is the thought that kids shouldn't be like BlackBerry.

The notion of being "well-rounded," which you allude to in your article, is BlackBerry. You might not know this, but we are no longer just about the smartphone, but the smart in everything from devices and cars to containers and medical equipment.

For example, if you drive a Ford, GM, Audi (or Mercedes), BlackBerry software is most likely powering its infotainment system. Your new iPhone uses BlackBerry software if you work at one of the thousands of enterprises that use our mobile management platform. If you know a UCLA faculty member or student, they most likely received an alert, powered by our software, when the unfortunate shooting took place on campus in June.

Your health records, personal information and bank accounts are kept safe and secure because BlackBerry software is trusted by some of the world's largest companies in industries such as banking, healthcare and legal. In the future, you may experience less scarring, less recovery time, and less pain should you need a heart transplant thanks to our software. These are just a few examples.

The reason I would want my kids (and your kids) to be like BlackBerry is this: Resiliency. We're in the midst of an incredible transformation, bringing our software business – something we've always had – finally to the fore. And, it's working due to the simple fact that BlackBerry has more than doubled its software revenue on a year-over-year basis for the past two quarters. We're not letting one product/idea define us; rather, we are transforming our thinking, addressing our obstacles head-on to nimbly innovate in cutting-edge areas such as the Enterprise of Things.

There is a lot going on at BlackBerry today, which makes me want to leave you with one piece of advice: "just because you knew someone, doesn't mean you know them." Your old employer certainly looks a lot different these days.


Marty Beard

When it comes down to it, the article is nothing more than an ad for authors book, but I'm still glad Marty Beard responded to it. As Beard noted on Twitter, sometimes an article is just uninformed. And sometimes just snarky. Then you have to respond. Plus, I'm sure the author is enjoying the attention. Everything said above is accurate and in line with the messaging we've heard from Beard in previous discussions and interviews and I like the fact the BlackBerry is pushing this message around as much as possible. What do you all think?