BlackBerry fires VP of sales as more job cuts are on the way

By Adam Zeis on 10 Jul 2013 07:13 am EDT

Following up on the Annual General Meeting that took place yesterday in Waterloo, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that BlackBerry is setting up for another round of layoffs. According to the article, BlackBerry VP of Sales in the US, Richard Piasentin, was fired last month and the company is gearing up for more layoffs in the coming weeks. 

If you recall, last year BlackBerry laid off around 5,000 employees in a "global workforce reduction" as part of their CORE program. This time around it's rumored that the layoffs will be mostly middle management, though there is no word on just how many of the roughly 11,000 BlackBerry employees will be laid off just yet.

While nothing was mentioned during the AGM, BlackBerry has confirmed that Piasentin was fired but had no information on any other layoffs. Thorsten Heins did stress yesterday that BlackBerry is still in a transitional phase and only a 5 months into their BlackBerry 10 deployment - so there is still a long way to go. 

Topics: BBRY Apps

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

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BlackBerry fires VP of sales as more job cuts are on the way


In the United States: Marketing is virtually non-existent, advertising is sparse, in store promotion is lacking in many markets, software update delays cause major frustration, and public perception of BlackBerry is poor. What's the solution? Fire the Vice President of Sales!


Unless I don't understand what a VP is, this guy was responsible for - at least, not to say "launch" - carrier relations and sales support education. These points are marked in U.S.A as *very* low performance. He's fired. Sorry for him (and for us because it counts for part of the former and current delays) but it's normal enterprise life.

Yeah, nothing new business-wise here. You can't get results, you get fired.

I do wonder, are they firing the US Marketing VP as well? And If good old Thor is readong this: FIRE THE BRASIL SALES/MARKETING GUY TOO!

Only Claro has the Z10 in stores. What On Earth!? They are not even the third carrier down here.

What's interesting to me is that Blackberry is always touting their "outstanding carrier relationships", yet the carriers have screwed BlackBerry into the ground. Wonder what Heins thinks about the carriers now? Unconscionable what AT&T and Verizon have done to BlackBerry.

Not necessarily. Companies are always looking for ways to save money. One way is to trim the excesses middle management. The very large company I work for is doing just that at the moment: cutting out a few layers of management to make the company more lean.

The CMO has to go. You could replace the entire Marketing department with the spend on that useless super bowl commercial.

That... and continuing to shit the bed are good reasons.

Posted via CB10

Actually this is a VERY good sign. It shows that the management has recognized that the launch in the US failed and acted by firing the person responsible.

I agree as long as there's an effort to replace the person with a new, fresher, person better suited for the job. The problem in the US isn't "marketing" as much as it is a sales bottleneck.

Posted via CB10

Where will this new "better suited" or qualified person come from? If you were successful at you job, would you leave your safe and secure position for a company that is in trouble? What kind of pressure is going to be on this person to do what many are saying is almost impossible?

People know about BB10. It isn't a secret.

There are specific reasons bbry struggles. Marketing gets blamed a lot - but it's not really their cross to bear imo.

Posted via CB from my LE

because we search for it. I have seen one commercial on the Q10, once. I couldn't believe, I went in the local Verizon Corporate store on Monday to find they had no BlackBerries sitting out for people to look at. They had them in the back and you could see them if you requested. The Q10 was just released and not even displayed. Breaks my heart. T-mobile had them out, but the two islands of iphones steal your attention.

Blackberry needs to try and do some of the things apple is doing in the carrier stores. rent some space in prime locations, etc.

Maybe this move is due to there isn't enough competitive marketing going on. Let's hope.

The US carriers simply aren't interested in BlackBerry.

They either don't make enough money from BB devices, or have so many iPhones in stock they have no choice but to guide people toward Apple.

Not a great deal BlackBerry can do except perhaps go direct. But that would be a tough sell in markets where smartphones are subsidised by monthly plans.

That is true. But I think a lot of people make the assumption that is more people knew it would sell more and that's not necessarily true if people still prefer iOS and Android. And some point, the product itself has to be appealing. Marketing should catch you eye but the product has to be good too and how good BB10 is right now is very debatable with it being a very new OS.

At this point, Marketing MUST get ALL the blame. I was AT the AGM yesterday and everyone in the room applauded when the issue of underperforming marketing kept coming up.

As a Marketing professional, I MUST strongly disagree with Herr Heins - and KermEd - who claim that the Marketing has gone well.

True, in "other" parts of the world, BB10 has had a much easier time than in the US, but if it's going so well elsewhere, the numbers would also have come in better than they did. Now, in T.H.'s acknowledgement that the US is a tough nut to crack lies the proof that not only does Monsieur Boulben hasn't got a clue about how to crack that market, but the agency/ies he's working with "in NYC" aren't giving them the benefit of their knowledge and expertise.

Because the Advertising for both BB10 devices so far has - and I'm being kind here - "sucked" and NOT communicated much of anything about the NEW platform and devices, except that people can go from a Point A to Point B while messing around with a mobile device.

There has been NO COMPELLING message about "WHY BB10?!?!" and "WHY Z10 vs. iP5 or Q10 vs. HTC One," etc., etc.

Case in-point: BB10's camera innovative "go back" feature .... WHO made a great ad featuring ONLY that function AND got people excited??? ....... YES: 'that' large Korean phone maker also known for parody adverts of its competitors.

ALL those points Herr Heins made about ALL the benefits and advantages are clear in HIS and every fanboy's minds, but to a fruit-co. device & ecosystem user they are NOT, nor would the feeble advertising and marketing messages get them to even pay attention.

And when THAT happens, there is NO WAY IN HADES that "Sales" will follow.

I suspect this VP of Sales said as much to his bosses and became an instant fall-guy.

What is the point in blaming marketing? They were clearly fooled by the US carriers - the sad thing is not for the first time. And BlackBerry are launching more device oriented ads now that the phones are available.

Plenty of posts on here to show that Verizon and especially AT&T (that's the iPhone company he referred to) have no interest in selling BlackBerrys.

They could spent their entire cash pile advertising smartphones, but unless the carriers confirm the message when Joe Consumer walks into their stores, the money would be completely wasted.

The fact is the US is a saturated market completely dominated by Apple (who must have some hold over carriers) and there's little point in BlackBerry blowing a pile of cash when other parts of the world have far more open markets. They key to the US for BlackBerry is enterprise and that is where they should focus.

And before we get too critical of BlackBerry it's worth remembering Apple isn't exactly growing and Samsung just reported lower profits. They're all having problems.

Submit your application to become the CMO of marketing for BlackBerry to along with a cover letter outlining your outstanding plans for marketing greatness.

(Aka: if you're gonna get all snotty about how someone isn't doing their job right, put your money where your mouth is and do a better one)

That's not how these roles are filled.

However I can: raise awareness; generate demand and create clear and explicit calls to action for BBRY's various customer segments. That's marketing.

Also, I can work with the folks managing the sales process to exploit the compelling story I've created to meet quarterly and annual targets.

I can do this better than Frank yes. I have a verifiable track record.

Posted via CB10

I think you already tried this in the forums....and you've already been informed by numerous CBers, including myself, that's not how it works and you know it. Sports writers can and do criticize, give opinions and suggestions without being the head coach. Citizens can and do criticize, give opinions and suggestions without actually being president of the US. And people are sure as hell allowed to give opinions or suggestions without having to be the CMO. You act as if people who are NOT the CMO should just idly stand by and nod and praise and worship Boulben the's a ridiculous argument.

Sometimes I wonder if they're holding off on a big marketing push until after the software gives them more to crow about . . right now they are excellent phones but it does appear from reading the forums that there are still much wanted improvements yet to come . . .

Jeez I hate when that happens. I go to edit my draft post and hit "Post" by accident.

CB, p l e a s e make it possible to edit our own posts on CB10!? And maybe make the space between the "Cancel " and "Post" buttons and the text field bigger?

Anyway, I totally agree that the marketing, of which advertising is only ( although big) a part of, has been terrible. I base the on the ads in Canada and on Chris U's TM comments on marketing. The ads do not describe the product or provide any reason to want to learn more about it . The "FAB" (features, advantages, benefits) model is not obsolete . The fan sites do the best advertising by far. But only fans and trolls visit those sites. Everyday consumers only hear the negative sound bites on the news, little negative only "news" briefs in newspapers and magazines, and people complaining about their experiences with BBOS#.

Posted via CB10

Don't know if this was the guy in charge of the keep moving campaign but that is the guy that should be fired.

We introduce new amazing phones and how do we do it? Neil G writes a book and AK sings both having nothing to do with the new phones or OS.

Posted via CB10

I suspect that "this guy" was in charge of delivering the sales #s which, far as we know, couldn't even blow out a candle on a windy night.

The guy who needs to "go" - and maybe only down the hall and into a different portfolio - is Monsieur Boulben, the Chief Marketing Officer.
When your biggest, most important "launch" doesn't even get enough momentum to be worthy of being called a "roll-out," then "FAILURE" is the only remaining logical conclusion.

MARKETING is in charge of "informing your potential buyers and getting them excited so they come to your door with the interest in making a purchase."
When THAT doesn't happen because peopel either don't know or didn't get excited & interested, you're not going to sell anything. PERIOD!

Obviously sales in the US are not good, I'm happy to see Thor getting rid of people who don't perform. BlackBerry needs people who can deliver results now more than ever because the brand is not selling itself like it once did.

Posted via CB10

That's it. They Sold themselves the first time because they had something no other phone had "true push instant email" Now they are competing against entrenched competition who have trained people to expect a home button to be able to do anything and there is no clear set of things that BlackBerry provides that the competition doesn't already. You need to be able to show/ tell /explain/demonstrate/ inspire people to ASPIRE to your product. You've got to SELL IT!

From my sweet BB10 Neutrino powered Z10 :D

Exactly. If Frank can't deliver the ads, he needs to go as well. Not showing what the device can do, but showing people doing shit that has nothing to do with a cell phone is straight stupidity.

Any Samsung tv commercial makes me wanna buy one (but I won't, BlackBerry for life) cuz it explains about the phone. It's not just funky music and a clip about the camera or texting. So what does the consumer think. Oh this phone has as a camera, who's doesn't. Or, oh you can text on that phone, so can the one they already have. Explain something.

Agreed. BB10 is no better than iOS or Android and provides no significant differences while a person using iOS and Android would lose a lot of features, access to apps and the ecosystem to move to BB10. I'd venture to say that in addition to marketing, the product itself is lacking and isn't good enough to draw customer who can get better devices for cheaper with better support and ecosystem integration.

As much as it pains me to say it, and I've been the biggest BlackBerry defender imaginable, this company is done. So so sad.

Posted via CB10

Just starting out? Poor sales of a new platform, still hemorrhaging users, m This squeezed and more staff cuts to cut expenses which means less resources to assist the company.

It's not about relaxing, my entire family is on blackberry, but last week I finally relented and let one of my staff get an iPhone.

BlackBerry does not have a compelling selling point except for the fact that it used to be the best.

I hope they make it, but right now signs point to no.

Posted via CB10

The "BlackBerry is done" argument is four years old. Goodness gracious. As someone in management you should know what a transitional phase is and relatively how long it takes.

Maybe, but four years in the mobile world is a long time. Remember when the Palm Pre was introduced? that was four years ago. I think BlackBerry is/was being used like Palm was used to leverage better deals from the Apple/Android market. I also think that management was relying on the BlackBerry faithful to adopt BB10 faster. I looked at the Z10 and it seemed good but I couldn't find anyone at t-mobile or Verizon who new anything about it. The demo booth at Costco had 2 dummies and one live phone that was turned off. I ended up staying with Sprint because of my discount and got the HTC One and I was seriously looking at the BlackBerry. If this is what I went through how does anyone think that the average person is going to switch?
I'm sorry but I have to agree that BlackBerry is in deep trouble. The posts I read here sound exactly like what was said on the webOS forums. Fan boys say "just wait things will get better" Just change the names and you wouldn't know the truth difference. It's sad what has happened so far and hopefully BlackBerry can get through this but the company as a whole better get its act together quick. They don't have another four years.

BTW I did post elsewhere that I was all set on getting the A10 especially if it came to Sprint but a dead Photon and unfortunate economic news about BlackBerry made me take a wait and see approach. After the Pre I'm not so eager to jump into another hold your breath company.

BlackBerrys problem is that when it was becoming clear they had competition, they were still expanding their staff.

This is a $16 billion turnover company that makes no profit! They're top heavy having been abused by management that grew empires instead of doing their jobs (and not the first by any means). 6000 jobs cut and as far as I can see it's service as usual - says a lot.

To recover they need to prune the hierarchy and become dynamic and entrepreneurial again.

They're on the right road and when the corporate block starts buying (should be in the next six months) there'll be revenue growth.

1000 +

With Kevin (or someone remotely like Kevin), the sales in the US would sky-rocket.

And so is in the other parts of the world, SE Europe for sure.

Posted via CB10

Which far apps are you missing? The app failure is overrated. Of course there are not as many apps as an 8 year OS

Posted via CB10

For me, the big one is Netflix.

But more important are all of the little ones that seem inconsequential individually, but really add up.

Safeway has an app for tracking and applying sales prices to my account, but it's not available for BB.
Fred Meyer has an app to track my reward points, but it's not available for BB.
My bank has an app that would allow photo deposits of my paychecks, but it's not available for BB.
Sidereel has an app that would allow me to track which shows I'm up to date on, but it's not available for BB.
There is an app that would allow me to remote start my car from my phone, but it's not available for BB.
There's an app to control my home environmental controls and security system, but it's not available for BB.
The company that makes my baby monitor has an app for remote viewing, but it's not available for BB.
Google maps.
Google+ Hangouts

There's plenty more.

I've always loved BB, but a mobile device is supposed to make life easier. And while it does make things easier than no smartphone at all, I can't help but think that it puts me at a comparable disadvantage, versus those on iOS and Android.

^^^^^^^^^^^THIS^^^^^^^^^ ++++++ INFINITY. BB could not even get RSA to write an App for BB. RSA was one of the first mobile applications ever, and had been on legacy BB OS since the beginning. Not on BB10. Half the apps or more are Android ports that are currently partly crippled by the lack of full android support. Exercise apps having no BT support are a great example.

The BB10 devices are the best BB devices ever! And are hands down better than any of the competitors devices that were manufactured as little as 2 years ago. But they pale in comparison to modern ecosystems.

Failure is from top down. It was very clear, or should have been so, that the app ecosystem and BES users were a priority. BES users are a captive user base and can really (especially in the USA) spread good or bad news about a device. Both of these key elements were ignored or overlooked in bringing BB10 to market.

And Yes, for 3+ years many have been saying BB is dead. And they were right for the most part, this is a dead company 'walking.' Upon the release of the 9850/9900 models BB's fate was sealed, as much as having multiple murder convictions in TX. It may take some time to wind this thing all the way down, but this thing is winding all the way down.

Kevin would never take a job at BlackBerry. He's not interested. If he was he would be there already. It's not gonna happen. Leave it alone.

They should have done that before BB10 release , I'm sure he would have pushed BlackBerry to innovate.

Posted via CB10

Don't see how taking a proactive solution to further stabilize an entire company means it's done for... dead... whatever. Glad we have so many economic majors on crackberry. :-/

Posted via CB10

I agree with you, this was a right move.
It shows the company gives it's people trust (here it is, deliver), and if the chance is not used the way it should be (sales as expected), time to leave the company...

And replace the position with (hopefully) someone who will deliver.

Moreover, a sign to everybody else - if you don't deliver as expected and promised, pack your things and leave.

Posted via CB10

Exactly. The guy didn't perform, so he got canned. And a bunch of managers who make decisions are getting canned? Good. Because that's usually where the issue is, not with the lower end people.


Clearly US sales / launch were poor. But why is Boulben still on the payroll? He had his chance.

Posted via CB10

I agree. Brand management and marketing are pitiful. BBRY is in a real dogfight for attention and relevance and it's not going to change with new devices and a hope that people care. The overriding sentiment in the marketplace is that the BB is dead, gone, old news. Fix that first. Launch a device that proves you are not dead and then go out and sell it properly. Watch what apple did, Samsung did it too. It's called MARKETING. On the plus side-I see real promise with BB Channels, but a) it's not sexy or styled well right now b) brands will not associate with a quiet by association kind of stuff.
BB Channels if done well could be a way to wipe the dust from the BB logo and open up a whole new way for brands to get onto consumers handsets ( like facebook). BUT needs a real leader to champion the launch and roll out.

Sounds to me like Frank is targeting markets where he can make a difference. And that doesn't include the US which as Mr Heins said yesterday is more or less locked into Apple.

The Formula 1 deal has seen more TV minutes exposing BlackBerry than anything they've done before, but it's more of a global campaign than US centric.

The day you see Verizon and AT&T pushing BlackBerry devices is the day it will make sense to advertise in the US. Until then it's a waste of cash.

I agree with the actions, however I still feel that it is cart before the horse. Frank already knew the market sentiment of the company. So to spend money to advertise ahead of fixing the brand is a true waste of valuable money;

The path to fixing has been well documented: create an interesting product, orchestrate a roll out with all hands on deck in the key markets, leverage that steam to lift the entire brand. When it comes to smartphones, the tail does not wag the dog. i.e Selling 3 million phones in Spain will not fix the global brand perception. I like the Mercedes connection, why not push hard in the US/Canada? I tend to think ( pure assumption here) that the early BB buyer is in the upper tier of consumer, so leverage that group. The lower end market of teens and no contract buyers also love the BB, but they are fickle to what is hot and not, therefore harder and more expensive to acquire. Either way, the battle is a long and expensive one.

It was clear that change was needed in US sales. Hopefully they appoint someone who is more in touch with the actual market.

As much as I would like to see Grand Phooba Kevin working for BlackBerry...what do you feel he brings to the table that would make a difference?

Posted via CB10

Being a big fanboy doesn't mean he could run such a large part of a company in real life. Not saying he can't but it's easy to sit back and talk on a website. It's very different when you actually have to wear the shoes.

Yeah very true
Although sad, they can't afford slip ups, they need the right man for the job
As much as it pains me, damn it they have a good product, i really think so, they just need people to have it in their hands, the phone will do the rest

Posted via CB10

Exactly. This dude was not going to succeed in this market with the Z10 and Q10 and lacking OS against iOS and Android. He had no chance at all. Not saying he couldn't have done more but I'm pretty sure there are other parts of the company that are responsible for poor sales and the product itself is inferior to others in the market. It's good, but no real compelling reason to take a chance or switch from iOS or Android right now.

Absolutely! The TV ads are too obscure and ineffective. There aren't any "hero displays" in carrier facilities. And the product is in the very back of my local At&t store. BB10 is a solid os and is substantially better than the Windows 8 devices. It should reflect that at least in the numbers!

Posted via CB10

"the product is in the very back of my local At&t store"

And who makes those decisions? Clearly not BlackBerry. If you want to blame anyone blame US carriers. They clearly don't see the need to provide choice to US consumers.

In the US carriers and BlackBerry definitely not sleeping in the same bed. Without carrier support it won't happen....

Posted via CB10

Whatever they do, just as long as they strive to really compete with the big boys things will get better!

Posted via CB10

I'd have fired the same person then I'd look in the organization for a middle manager with zeal and a proven sales give them. A Shot at vp sales. There are always the people in charge- I'd look internally for those "Sergeants" in the company who actually make things happen. We all know for all the sloppiness management wise in blackberry there are some undiscovered gems. Find the gems and promote them..

Posted via CB10

What BlackBerry needs is to project a vision. Apple made the iPhone successful by presenting it as more than a phone. What BlackBerry needs to do is stop throwing around terms like mobile computing and actually show what its capable of. Even if it takes throwing cash to build the system yourself to allow customers to see just what's possible.

Vision+Execution= success and right now we're not seeing a clear example of either.

+1 This mobile computing crap doesn't mean anything to the average consumer or enterprise user just techs. BlackBerry needs to promote BB 10 much better than they are currently with these stupid keep moving commercials. Show off the OS and it's features on what you can do instead of just showing ppl moving in it. Cause right now especially in the U.S it looks like the majority of users don't even know about the new BB 10 platform nevermind seen the devices. They really messed up with their advertising from the beginning starting with that stupid super bowl commercial.

Posted via CB10

I agree. I still don't know what mobile computing means in terms of actual products they have released so far. If there are some new devices that transforms BlackBerry to the next level, they need to release it soon.

Posted via CB10

The Neil Gaiman should of been more of a Local marketing strategy not a Global Company marketing strategy. So Neil Gaiman could of been a European strategy, or target for literature audience so once again a local targeted strategy. Alicia Keys should of focused on women and music/hollywood audience so California and Film festivals so very local target marketing. The USA marketing had to focus on features , demo of the phones and sales training for carriers to address the consumer end. Enterprise sales is the BES10 team which I have no concerns with going forward. So now the USA sales team has to be focused on the features of the phone , complete sales demos , they should promote the 10.2 OS like Apple does, ie showoff the new 10.2 OS even name the new 10.2 OS eg. Keep Moving 10.2 OS etc..... Everytime I show off Storymaker and how I efficiently upload to my Youtube channel dedicated only for my Storymaker videos and send them via email they are amazed. Blackberry Marketing Mr Boulben use Power users of your devices to promote your phones eg Financial users , medical professionals , politicians , Text users , showoff BBM Channels and make it all look simple , efficient, productive and effective. I would get your marketing team do show how BBM channels compares to Facebook , Twitter and Instagram . Show the entrepreneurial side of BBM Channels being the best Social e-Commerce Enterprise Brand Messenger ( SeCEBM ) see see BM....Keep Moving !

You can start with all the BB7 development and focus on BB10. Still rolling out BB7 phones. Why?

Posted via CB10

Fire all the people you want. If you're not going to show what the device does you're not going to have an audience to sell to. Frank B is in charge of marketing. That arm of the company has not performed well.

Forget people moving about and all sorts of crap in the commercials. To borrow a famous quote "Show me the money!", well, show me the Berry!

Ya, I agree, but Frank is someone Thor hand-picked, so I doubt he has the fortitude to show him the door

Frank could be given a chance to take another shot at it, but part of being a CEO is about making tough decisions.

Commercials from the big two mostly show the device in the ads. BlackBerry is showing people doing shit and hardly shows the device.

Frank should be tossed out the front door, not walked out. Give him another shot??? Please. BB is perceived as a dead man walking right now. There are no other chances, its a matter of do or die at this point. Sorry but just being honest but personally i blame the horrible marketing for BB10.

It's all good. It certainly wouldn't bother me if FB got canned. Jobs was a dick, but he built a great empire. Thorsten needs to do things the same way.

You can't tell me that TH didn't know what the ad campaign was all about. Those kind of expedetures and ads are approved all the way up the line. Not made in a vacuum. As far as the US guy gettting the ax, we really don't know what the issue is, maybe he pissed of VZW.

This was a great move that shows that BB only wants to surround themselves with people that won't settle on 'OK'. Steve Jobs was known for surrounding himself with very smart and capable people and that led to some great success. IMHO - I hope they keep up the courage to purge the people that cannot deliver and create a culture that looks to excel and not settle.

+ One Million

And RIM must do this across the board from HR, Marketing, Design, Software, Hardware, Manufacturing, QA, to Sales.

Corporate governance and accountability is one of the two reasons RIM is failing. The other one is labor shortage in Canada, Waterloo in particular. It is unfortunately the new CEO praised Waterloo again in the AGM, which is understandable because he is hired by the people there.

Marketing in the USA sucked donkey balls I only saw the super bowl commercial none of my friends were interested in the z10 until they saw it blackberry needs better commercials not all glitz and glamor but something to separate public opinion of slow boring phones and where the company is trying to go with this new technology

BlackBerry z10

Guys, I just consulted my magic 8 ball. Sorry to say, Blackberrys future is uncertain.

Posted via CB10

FACT: BB has great products but lackluster sales and marketing.
IMO: It is time for a change in leadership in both areas.

True, there are many products that have not made the grade
But, even a 'poor' product can be 'made' great with proper promotion.
What is lacking is a well defined public relations management.

There are many 'non-BB' believers who promote the idea that BB is a dead product; it is fool-hardy to purchase any of their products.
Perhaps they are true, but good PR can help overcome this some of response.

Im not sad for the VP.But the other people just getting chopped cause BB not performing well.BB are already a slow company sacking more people make them slower.

What makes corps slower is too many levels of bureaucracy. Just look at your local government offices. John tells jimmy what sue needs to tell bill to tell Jacob to tell john.

Posted via CB10

I think he deserved to be fired. I live in the states and there is a definite hole in BlackBerry presence in stores. That's salesmen failing to do their job.

Posted via CB10

Well, despite what I've already written earlier about this, I will acknowledge that "it depends on HOW BBRY have structured their processes."

IF, for example, the Sales Division is tasked with all the in-store presences, displays, and sales-reps training with carriers and as far down as and partner (i.e. Best Buy, Radio Shack) stores, then "YES!" you are correct.

Nonetheless, the overall Marketing Creative and Deployment has been just ONE MASSIVE FAIL.
For a guy who was brought in to make a "splash," Frank has failed miserably on the PHONES side.
He may be executing brilliantly in other areas that "we" never see (all those "other" businesses Thorsten keeps telling us about).

But, by-and-large, Sales people can ONLY do their thing when people 1) KNOW and 2) are excited about what it is you're selling. That excitement becomes the foundation for the Sales Process, but if it doesn't happen - i.e. people don't even know or aren't inspired to get excited - then "sales" won't come either.

I visited a BlackBerry van when it was in the Phoenix area and 2 out of the 4 people where not from BB but were hired to be there. The one woman I saw a week before doing a wine tasting at a local store for the distributer. I asked her and she said she worked for a company that did demo's etc and she was sent there this week. She had an Iphone lol.She was not excited about BB or much of anything else really.

Goodbye. Middle management is the bloat in any company. If the people doing the actual work can't take directions from the senior dept heads, then they need to go as well. We got rid of all junior dept heads years ago. And to date none other us actually still know what they did all day. Slim and trim us the future.

Posted via CB10

I don't like to see anybody lose their job (VP of sales included), but if we are up against survival of the fittest technologically speaking (or at least for establishing a solid footing in this arena of phones, and communicating devices) Sales! Sales! Sales! BIG TIME SALES! Here hoping BlackBerry chooses well... BlackBerry! I love my Z10.

He's just one of many to go. The Advertising department needs to be culled too - so not effective!

It's a shame people need to be let go, but the times are what they are and BlackBerry needs to trim the fat and take on people that will really keep BlackBerry moving!

Posted via CB10 on my BlackBerry Q10

Hard to sell an inferior product and be successful, BB10 should have been released 2 years ago and been polished up like 10.2. Not the half baked 10.0 that was released a year late and trying to play some major catch up.

Posted via CB10

Hindsight can always be useful, but we should not spend to much of our time crying over spilt milk as the saying goes if we are to succeed. To say that BlackBerry is offering an inferior product is a stretch. Many would beg to differ. Yes, BB10 was and still isn't perfect, but really outside of the app department, BlackBerry can hold their own proudly. I would say it's not the right time for would have been, could have been. The best use of time would be to make what is available work, improve, promote, work, improve, promote, work, improve, promote. BlackBerry is in transition. The work is progressing and the company's efforts will pay off. BlackBerry still has a strong footing (IMHO) albeit the slow start. I think they have grown. Be it acceptance of a clear goal for themselves, or just through maturity they appear to be going for it more, and that's great news. At least they are talking about it. Doing it is the other step. I think we can all agree that laying off some people in favour of an improved/better/best new marketing approach is one of the right steps. Always in favour of a strong willed, hard working company determined, to produce positive, healthy results financially and otherwise. Always BlackBerry. Love my Z10. Looking forward to see BlackBerry continuing with exciting NEW/Innovative products in the future. Bring it ON! A10 anyone?! :)

For what it's worth, I'm hearing from folks here in Waterloo that he wasn't so much as fired as he left for personal reasons.

Posted via CB10

Good to know. I think it's rough that people are lambasting him here on forums. They don't know him or what he's done.

Rob Orr leaves BB UK and everyone's in shock. This guy leaves and...

Maybe his personal reasons were that he was frustrated and fed up with trying to market a product to a largely uncooperative, obstinate, and apathetic group of US market carriers (looking at you vzw and att) and a cynical/skeptical US tech media . . . with what we've seen in the US "launch" I could see that being enough to make anyone loony.

edit: I want to add that even still it can't be the carriers fault completely, I find the ads lacking in creating any product awareness (just imo), on the other hand I suppose if they sold well we'd all be saying the ads were pure genius, so . . .

It would been nice if VP of Marketing Frank "left" as well. But id settle for him being axed. The BB campaign was pathetic at best.

Great news. BB needs the best and brightest and can't afford to carry dead weight. The US launch could have been better, so now they can look for ambitious talent to drive their US sales and improve carrier relationships.

BBRY needs to show a tad more vision. trying to sell ice to an Eskimo will result in bad results. Trying to go head to head with Apple, Samsung with far less budget, uninspired creative and a fairly similar product shows that BBRY is asleep at the wheel. The device appeals to a small niche as is...i love it, but I'm busy and need to get my work done. The z10 and q10 are for busy, connected folks. let it fight in that weight class and dig deeper for a device to play games, show movies and take pictures ( and look cool). If that is not in the cards, admit it and stay in your niche. I believe , certain markets are locked off to BB now, UNTIL they fix the perception.

Market the hell out of the product is the key. I work for a large retail company in the USA and we have a large area for BlackBerry yet our BlackBerry experts either don't shown off the hardware or BlackBerry reps only are at the store for a few minutes. They need to have an actual BlackBerry person in each store every weekend. Samsung is already there, and they wonder why Samsung has beaten apple at their own game!

Posted via CB10

Recognize reality. Admit it.

I returned two z10 phones before I settled on another z10, my third one. Why?

Because the BlackBerry sales process was scheißy six months ago.

Because CB folk said to return any phone that didn't work as expected.

Because I found NO reasonable user manual; nothing describing answers to my head scratching questions.

Example: how does one send an email to someone whose profile has not yet been created in the Contacts database? Imagine you have already received an email message from that someone and you have already replied too. How do you send them a brand new email if you don't know their email address?
Very easily. But someone has to give you a hint if you cannot figure it out on your own. Imagine that. Then add one more thing to this example. A full time employee of Team BlackBerry could NOT show me how to send an email to... neither could her coworker with whom she conferred by BBM video. Neither could her boss whose email address she gave to me and to whom I still send sharp critical comments from time to time.

Example #2: the YouTube video catalog is fluffy abstract content for the most part. Not nitty gritty how to.

I did not read the previous posts. This post is roughly #100.

I really think this issue should be dealt with I've heard it come up many times. Let's get it to blackberry so they can address it in the next update

Posted via CB10

He had to go, it was his responsibility for us sales, he didn't deliver,
Bring new blood in there, Thorston is ruthless if you don't deliver your gone, and rightly so, there is lots of money involved a lot of people depend on these sales,
I personally agree 100% with the reductions, it's not easy to lose your job or fire anyone, but if you don't sacrifice you don't get results,
Long bb

Posted via CB10

Hope this is a sign of BB starts paying attention to accountability.

Corporate governance and accountability is one of the two reasons that are failing RIM. The other one is labor shortage in Canada, Waterloo in particular. It is unfortunately the new CEO praised Waterloo again in the AGM, which is understandable because he is hired by the people there.

RIM needs to fire those who cannot deliver and hire true talents around the world.

Someone had to answer for the poor performance in the USA and this was the person in charge. IMHO it should have been Mr Boulben - but I guess he will be allowed to continue from here at the least. The loss of USA mindshare happened over a long period of time. Mr Boulben has done absolutely nothing to win it back.

Please fire/replace marketing staff too, both in HQ and local country offices.

I've visited Asian cities, a number of retail outlets (non-telecom retail outlets), the BB10 demo devices are NOT charged up, with no battery power !!!

Have the marketing staff been doing any spot checks to ensure retail outlets are at least charging demo BB10 devices?

BB10 demo device with no battery power = no sales !!

I would have to know the current structure at BlackBerry for this to even matter.

You can't blame the sales dept when BB10 has dumped so many features chasing after the iDroid crowd. The device is also less efficient in comparison to OS7 in many areas. In other words, can't even really sell this sh-t. I got it, using it now. But, the next VP of Sales will not be able to do better.

Then, as abysmal as the marketing/advertising has been, I wonder if they consider "sales" the same as marketing? Is this an attempt to say, we're doing something about our marketing problem? Sales falls under marketing but it's separate from actual advertising and public relations which they seem to have little to no investment, at least, in the US market.

Oh well. Good luck to the former VP of Sales.

Posted via CB10

In Sydney Telstra stores are ranging Z10, but staff are not engaged and seem to not understand the positioning. This is from my own experience, I quiting at several places. Also matched the experiences of a Q10 purchaser I ran into yesterday. I as ked him where he got it and whether the staff were knowledgeable. Negative.

Perhaps the corporate channel is different. Perhaps the problem is with BlackBerry 's connection to the personal lives of the demographic who work in shops and sell phones. Younger people... perceived as the owners of a young technology.

This is not to say that BlackBerry couldn't appeal to that demographic, or hasn't tried. Hell, I've seen the logo in music videos and such. Just that out here - ie. not Canada, South America nor Indonesia, but in Australia, that connection doesn't really seem to exist. That may influence the packages these folks promote.

Posted via CB10

Oddly enough yes. Or that other nutcase Kardashian. As much as i dislike the both of them, they would have been instrumental in bringing in a slew of minions to create more hype/buzz about the product. Alicia Keys is irrelevant in making an impact, and DOA for BB10

Funny thing happened with the web traffic analytics the last 48 hours.

Remember the weird StatCounter analytics data that had Blackberry's market share in Canada bypassing Android to become 2nd place. It collapsed back down in the past 48 hours.

But the American market share went up in the past 48 hours.

In the mean time, the North American numbers were stable in the past 48 hours.

It probably means that the American Blackberry traffic for the past 3 weeks were mis-identified as Canadian traffic.

Contrary to heins saying the us release was not a disaster,this firing tells the market that it in indeed was a disaster.

Posted via CB10

Why can't BlackBerry give US carriers a cut of all apps purchased by phones each carrier sold? That gives them incentives but does not impact on immediate cash flow.

Posted via CB10

Here's the problem the platform is solid the phones are fantastic and currently the best out there I left Samsung for this and is a superior phone imo. However once again I believe I sold more phones by putting my z10 in people's hands when I first got it people were all around me wanting to touch it and see what it was about then the buzz died their os zero buzz about the phone....thats a marketing issue people stopped thinking about it the commercials do suck we need to stay ahead of the competition I agree updates are very slow, and what I always said killed blackberry was their lack of catering to what's fun about smartphones. suffice to say people are using their phone more so as a social tool rathet than a business tool. We need a platform that balances both equally that is why I left BlackBerry in the first place I'm back show the masses what makes this phone unique and market that

Posted via Z10

The Marketing was an absolute joke. The z10 is awesome, but nearly everyone I show it to, knows nothing about it, and some aren't even aware that it has been released.

In my opinion, Frank Boulben should be fired. The Marketing strategy was half-baked, to say the least.

Give me 1/4 of Boulben's salary and I'll make sure people know about the phone.

Typical corporate working, make the middle managers the scapegoats... upper management should bear the brunt of the layoffs. once they are replaced then u go get the middle management, who have limited approval powers. Upper management is the reason this company is failing not middle managers.

Posted via CB10

Nothing personal, but if you don't get the results necessary you'll be on the chopping block. And seriously, it's not like the bar was raised to a towering height for the BB10 launch. All this time in and still no traction in the US, consumer or carrier is pitiful. All the best to Piasenten, but his firing was necessary. Let's Keep Moving.

Someone had to take the heat, only made sense it was the head of sales in the US. They need to rethink their American marketing strategy. Wonder if the marketing and pr teams will get the axe as well.

Hate to see anyone fired, but I predicted this before the meeting. Myself, I would fire the all the leaders in the Dept. I know that sounds harsh, but come on. This is not the time to just have good marketing, it's the time to have a campaign that everyone talks about. If it can't be done, get people who can . In my own opinion, this is the biggest roadblock for them right now.

Posted via CB10

Dammit! Richard Piasentin was HOT. I mean, his suit can barely contain his bulging muscles.

...although in that picture with Simmons, he has that "my lats are so big I can't really put my arms down" problem... which is a better problem to have than "my fat is so big I can't really put my arms down"

I bet if he did his sales calls in a tanktop and shorts and targeted the female and gay-male executives, US Sales would have been better. Or just do ONE beach-side PR interview in a speedo. JUST ONE.

Doesn't ANYONE have a picture of him with his shirt off? ANYWHERE?

Oh, yeah, he failed at his duty, so it's OK to totally objectify him... for 3 days... then I will have to treat him like a "human being" again. Harumph.

Ok he was fired, he was paid a lot of money for his knowledge of marketing, did the marketing help BB at launch in the USA?
The person that also should be fired is the YES guy who is talking to the US carriers. They are walking all over Blackberry, they are tell them what to do.
All the US carriers aren't pushing Z10 WHY, maybe they want to keep a secret.
I was in Erie PA. in May and I should have gone in to one of the US Carrier and ask them about Z10, next time I will.
You know what I think BB should get out of the US stockmarket and forget about Americans.

After Alan Mulally reduced his pay to 1$ he brought Ford back to profitability and prosperity. The new RIM CEO should learn from Alan Mulally if he is truly passionate about BlackBerry. At the end of the day, Mr. Heins you will be rewarded financially.

Increasing salary now is really a bad time. It shows Heins doesn't have confidence in the turnaround - therefore, "get the money and go". The other sign of lack of confidence is that he keeps bragging about the town of Waterloo while the company is in fact facing labor shortage at home. He even said "creating job" in the AGM, again catering to Waterloo people. He is afraid they would fire him or don't listen to him.

Steve Jobs' second term with Apple started with similar compensation terms as Allan Mutually with Ford.

If I am the board I would hire a CEO paid a 1$ a year. And if he turns the company around, 50 millions a year reward for the years he served as CEO. You know what, Jim and Miked reduced their pay to 1$. It is time to get Jim back. Mike will be forever respected in Canada and around the world, he can stay off so that the dumb analysts don't complain about dual CEO and also that Jim can manage more effectively and decisively when it comes to corporate governance and accountability.

But anyway, if Mr. Heins decides to take the big salary. I think we should support him in his turn around effort. I think he is a super intelligent man and has the ability to turn things around. He also has learnt lessons (as he said in the AGM). I really hope he won't slip his tone again like he did when he said "tens of millions of Q10" - when he should have said "tens of millions of Z10".

So, keep the pay, rake the money, but also, please, turn the company around.

Good grief, bring the dumb and dumber dual CEOs back? Are you mad? They nearly killed RIM!

Mike is a great engineer but when the time came for BlackBerry products to stop being engineering-led and start being a "user experience"-led, which was around the time the iPhone started to whup BlackBerry in sales back in 2009/2010, Mike was hopeless at recognising the need for a cultural change within the company as the market changed from business focused to consumer focused. The proof of that was the 2011 launch of the PlayBook, the zenith of the dual CEOs incompetence in this new consumerised mobile smart device world. It was engineering-led and the user experience sucked. It failed accordingly.

I'm afraid I have no knowledge if what Jim was any good at.

At least Thorsten is trying to do the things the dual CEOs failed to do on order to change the company from within so it outputs better and more relevant products. Thorsten's main problem is that it's all happening 2-3 years late.

Posted via CB10

On many points, you're correct. Let's not forget that Mike and Jim took BlackBerry from nothing in 1984 to number three around 2008. Yes, they've made their share of (huge) mistakes after that but what they accomplished up to that point cannot be overlooked.

I am in sales and I would agree with this decision. VP of our sales was let go for similar reasons. Good move if you ask me.

Posted via CB10

VP of Sales job was to create Carrier support. So cut the BS about how there is/was no carrier support. Again, VP of Sales job is to oversee every aspect of Sales from start to finish.

BlackBerry 10 should be first thing we see when we walk into any Carrier Store. #fail
Sales associates should be trained about BlackBerry 10 #fail
Managers should be trained about BlackBerry 10 #fail

There is nothing else to say. If you cannot creatively executive the job, then your out. This isn't the 1990's anymore. You've got to be quick, concise, in tune, and flexible with any job. Especially sales.

Agreed on many points, but if the staff at carrier stores is told to push anything BUT BlackBerry devices, the best salesperson in the world can't do much.

I've been a bberry fan for the past 11yrs and right now I have a torch. My contract is about to expire with AT&T this month and i thought i was gonna be able to get this Z10 on that 99 bucks deal they had. Well....they don't offer that anymore on their website and I'm really pissed off about it. These carriers are actually working against the success of these new phones from Blackberry and I don't understand why the trend has been noticed by all, but there hasn't been a major public outcry against that. I'm really disappointed to say the least.

BlackBerry are still missing there usp BBM never mind anything else let it go to android and ios then rip BlackBerry. Start marketing it to the people who use it kids teenagers parents. Yes I love my BlackBerry for business but it's great for messaging my kids and now bbm voice. Just back from the states it was great free call back to UK. Never mind the other apps and games we all won't but never use. Market bbm hard

Posted via CB10

You walk into a store and ask for a BB10 device and you're told that maybe an Android or iOS phone would be better suited to your situation. No, you want a BB10 device, could you please be shown one. Sure, but have you seen the new Android features? And I'm not sure if we have any BB10 phones around right now.

I still maintain that the carriers are favoring competitors' devices and that's hurting BlackBerry BIG time. I know of friends who have gone looking for a BB10 and have returned with another brand.

So is firing the Sales VP during this transition period the right move? I can't say for sure but let's focus on where the REAL problem the stores.

The current marketing of creating hates by deceiving your die hard fans by lying is good reason for their demise.

60 days
October then January
Bb10 for the PlayBook

Anyone that supports this company must be sitting on huge losses blindly waiting for them to return.

Posted via CB10

Wow, didn't know there were so many CEO's out there...No objections to people voicing their opinions, just to those who sound like they run major successfully companies but actually don't.

"Fired" implies wrongdoing, termination with cause. Was Piasentin "fired" or laid off due to staffing cuts?

It depends on what his contract stipulated: if he was supposed to accomplish something, even if that something is a vague unmeasurable 'perception improvement', and failed to achieve that, you could say he wasn't fired, but rather the contract termination clause in his contract was exercised.

Under his leadership, BlackBerry US didn't achieve what any marketing VP could call a satisfactory result, so... he should really be firing himself.

Just saw this Q10 commercial for the first time and it seems to be taking a slightly different angle. It actually shows the ui of the phone and the speed of accomplishing common tasks. I thought it was much better than most of the previous ads I've seen. New slogan "It's time." oh and that recent qnx/BlackBerry ad on YouTube was awesome, they should be hiring those guys lol

Posted from my incredible Z10

Whoever made this should be in the marketing department. This playing at the movies before the trailers would be so much more effective than their current campaign.

Posted from my incredible Z10

Blackberry need to get a TEAM of Blackberry Staff that will man their BB Display at least at every major malls in major cities in the US to ensure that their products are being presented in the best possible way.

This is what I see...

BB needs to fire Heinz and get a CEO in who is willing to recognize BB needs to change their OS to Android and drop BB10. BB10 has hardly any app support, (no real BB Skype, only side loaded Android) and apps are king, No one wants to dev for BB10 as they have only gotten luke warm reviews and cant see a return in deving for BB. Heinz is to arrogant and short sighted to see BB's only hope is to go full Android, which is instant access to 750,000 apps. And people want apps, not a luke warm OS like BB10 with a confusing UI. Sad thing is if BB doesnt do something soon they are gonna go bankrupt and some super company like Samsung or Google is gonna swoop in and force Android to Blackberry.

The useless BOD hardly lifted a finger as BBRY fell through the rankings and did not fire the co-CEOs. Let them resign a year too late.

Why would this useless BOD do anything different now? They are weak.

Posted via CB10

You should look at the HTC's financial statements. You assume marketing is important. I think building the brand is important.

Marketing can either make or break a product and that's just common sense. You cant build and promote a product on a national level without advertisments. Most people think Blackberry has already gone bankrupt as they see no advertisements. That's just the way it is.

In the US, if you look at the election campaign budget for the president you will realize you can spend a billion dollars on ads

So youre saying a huge advertising budget doesn't guarantee success? That's true but it sure cant hurt. Bottom line is BB10 is only a luke warm product with no app support and a confusing UI. It would have been nice to get it for my Paybook, but I have a feeling the way Playbook is with its mediocre hardware performance, getting BB10 for it would have been like adding insult to injury.

Scapegoat 100% for Heinz so he could maintain his 10 million a year salary. How does that make you feel Heinz makes 10 million a year? That could have went to a BB10 upgrade for our Playbooks, but goes to this greedy sucker instead. Heinz was warned a year ago to make BB10 Android so he could have instant access to Androids 750,000 apps. If he listened, BB would not be facing bankrupsy now. It all comes down to a horrible arrogant CEO who thought he had to be a bad a$$. He gambled and we all lost. Soon my Playbook is probably gonna end up in my dwawer with my Zune. Whats a Zune you ask? It was Microsofts supposed iPod killer from 2009. NEVER again will I buy anything other then Android or Apple. I've had enough of investing in loser products like Playbook and Zune.

Yeah Fire Him! It's his fault BB doesn't advertise in the U.S. and the New PlayBook isn't available. It is also his fault that nothing innovative was done when Apple started kicking their butts. It may now be called BlackBerry but it will always be the same ole RIM to me.