If I Ran RIM: I'd Rally the Troops!

By Kevin Michaluk on 4 Nov 2011 03:56 pm
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If I Ran RIM

[ If I Ran RIM is a new editorial series by CrackBerry's Founder and Editor In Chief, Kevin Michaluk. It looks at the things he would be doing if he were on the senior management team or board of directors at Research In Motion ]

Companies have feelings. Well, that's not quite true. People have feelings. But companies would not exist without people. And on a week when Research In Motion's share value is trading at a 7 year low, my hunch is that a lot of RIM employees are feeling pretty down in the dumps. 

If you read BlackBerry: The Inside Story of Research In Motion, there's a good story in the book that tells of how RIM's Co-CEO Jim Balsillie effectively banned employees talking about RIMM share price at work. If you got caught breaking that rule, you had to buy donuts the next day for EVERYBODY (an expensive fine, especially as the company grew to have thousands of employees!). Jim's take was that going public was just a way for the company to raise money to execute its vision - worrying about the day to day value shouldn't distract from the company's longer term goals and mission.

Whether the donut clause is still in effect I honestly don't know, but I do know that regardless of not being allowed to talk about it at work, share price and media sentiment is something that every employee is accutely aware of. Emotionally, it's very different to jump out of bed in the morning and go to work for a company whose share price is skyrocketing and is getting nothing but praise in the media vs. rolling out of bed to go to work for a company whose value is plummetting and getting ripped apart in the press. Whether it's sports, business or war, I think most people prefer to be on the side that's winning.

I don't know what thoughts first go through Jim Balsillie or Mike Lazaridis' minds when they wake up each morning, but if I were in their position of RIM Co-CEO right now I'd be going to work each day with the mentality of a general going into battle. Whether they acknowledge it or not, RIM is currently at war and they are coming under attack from their mobile adversaries on all sides.

In addition to having a solid strategy, to win a battle you need loyal soldiers on your side who are willing to fight to the end, whatever the outcome may be. And when the going gets tough, loyalty and determination is that much more important. An inspirational general can rally his troops to overcome obstacles and beat the odds. RIM needs its best employees to be inspired right now, on point and on a mission... not browsing the web when at home at night checking out job postings just in case.

So If I Ran RIM, the thing I would be doing RIGHT now is be communicating to my people. I would rally my troops. All of them. A lot of things have changed and are changing at RIM right now. There were layoffs. There was a corporate restructuring. There's a new technical strategy. RIM needs all of its teams functioning 100% right now and with so much corporate change taking place communication with people at every level of the organization is key. You can't leave people hanging, wondering what they're supposed to be working on today and wondering how they'll fit into the organization RIM is working towards becoming under the BBX platform.

Heck, even though I don't run RIM nor am employed by them, I took BlackBerry DevCon as an opportunity to rally the troops. Every BlackBerry employee I bumped into during the week, I gave them a pep talk followed by a more stern "you'd better not f*?king quit on me! I need you right now at RIM! If you quit I will hunt you down and make sure you never work for anybody again." Well, maybe my little pep talks were more threatening than inspiring, but I think the message either way was the same. 

I've seen RIM lose some good people these past few months and I don't want to see that trend continue. I hope RIM's management is doing a good a job of communicating and inspiring its people throughout the organization to get on task with the mission at hand. That's one of the many things I'd be doing, If I Ran RIM. There's a lot of other things I'd be doing too -- topics of future editorials -- but they don't matter unless you have people onboard to execute.

Kevin Michaluk Kevin Michaluk "Founder, Editor in Chief " 3922 (articles) 3285 (forum posts)
96 comments

phillechill

I agree. If everybody thinks they can botch their work because they don't believe in the company anymore, we're gonna get some very crappy products.

lnichols

The problem is if Mike and Jim are as effective at communications internal to the company as they are external about the company then the employees are probably more confused and upset then the customers. The fact that you have to make an editorial "If I Ran RIM" shows that the existing people running RIM aren't doing things right and a change in management is needed. I have a feeling the next earnings call that investors will be demanding blood.

Ghostnyc

Exactly- the executive management team has simply failed to lead.

Instead of laying off the hundreds (thousands?) of employees why not fire the 2 responsible for all this?

Firing the CEO's will send a clear cut message to all RIM employees & shareholders that RIM will move forward.

ALSO it might be helpful to actually listen to their employees.

mithrazor

Every time I hear "FIRE THE CO-CEO'S!!" It irks me.

You don't get rid of the leaders when a boat is sinking. That just prolongs a companies way back up.

The CEO's KNOW what they're doing. People just need to give them time to put all the pieces in place so they can unveil the puzzle.

Yes there are a few things they can do to make the wait time easier for people that don't know what's going on the inside.

And firing them is not it.

MarketRide

When CEO's consistently fail to delivery on promises then it MAY be time for them to go. Mis communication from the CEO's has led to major distrust from shareholders and in the market place. This is carrying over to multiple industries where due to the failures at RIM to execute BB's are being phased out (at least partially). RIM needs a new communicator that will be able to tell it like it is and earn trust of the public. Alec is great with the developers, but they need someone at the top. Sorry, I (and many others) no longer trust anything that Mike or Jim are saying. Trust is not easily earned back.

3migo

Kevin needs to get on the board at RIM.

Frank2029

I agree. We should start a petition and see what rim has to say. I bet we can get over 100,000 signatures for sure!

symbotier

Seriously. How would those of us who are RIM shareholders make this happen?

MarketRide

Kevin would need to be nominated by a major shareholder (or group of shareholders or existing board memeber) for a vacant positions (there are non now) and then it would have to be approved at the next shareholders meeting. Considering RIM is held mostly by fund companies and institutions then he would have to get in on their books to get a nomination. RIM only has a few seats that are independent board members. So chances would be bery low - sorry Kevin.

undone

Kevin needs the bull horns in the air too. Great pic

BENZ_O

Good stuff Kev. That's where it all begins!

John.P

Face on RIMKevin looks a lot like the picture BGR likes to use of Jim holding the PlayBook. I still think you should start a Kickstarter/ChipIn for getting you on the board.

UnknownError507

Go Kevin GO!! hehe i would love to see you there and bring to the table of RIM company the best things what ppl say and want from the forum.

Ill bet Blackberry would kick a** and would be a better product, i didn't say is not a Great product as it is, but need improvements.

Calotag

I need you Kevin to not quit and keep doing what you are doing. Wish you were at RIM and were able to make some of those decisions, but hey, maybe you Will!!!

EchoTango

Nice job Kevin !

I'm not sure RIM employees are so sensitive to the whole bashing business we experience in the media and in business. They are somewhat insulated in KW and unless you go looking for media negativity, you won't find it at RIM or in the local media.

I'm sure the management is challenged daily with keeping the employees' moral up. Of course layoffs also "help" with employee motivation and focus. ....

1canuck2

I think (in fact know) you are entirely wrong. The employees of RIM are extremely sensitive to the bashing they take.

Furthermore, KW is a vibrant high-tech area, and far from insulated. Not sure why you think otherwise... but you could not be more wrong.

EchoTango

After being part of a tech company that had it's market virtually disappear due to intensive competition, few within the company would have guessed it's ultimate fate. You might call it the "eye of the storm" phenomena.

As for the Kitchener/Waterloo area, I meant no disrespect and have worked in that area many times. With the University of Waterloo and RIM in town, they are certainly not in anyway a rural backwater. I only meant that being away from Toronto (the center of the known Universe), there is a certain distance from a major financial and business center.

....and of course there's always Octoberfest...:)

blackmoe

@ET - You clearly do not live in KW.

thecsman

How about a 300 montage with these fellas. It's a fight to the death!

philatcov

The fact that BlackBerry is losing market share in NA seems to have more of a bearing on the overall performance of the company than anything else.
It was pretty inevitable that for a continent starved of decent handsets for so long that as soon as decent looking devices started to hit the streets there would be some movement. Unfortunately RIM for so long relied upon NA designers to produce the devices, and only since the Nokia guys came on board did the devices become more acceptable. Its such a shame that so many people focus on the device rather than on the solution that drives BB.
If I ran RIM i'd go back to being a private company and screw the analylists and share holders and focus on what the customers want globally!

MarketRide

Simply said, but not easily done. They need the $10B to take it private first. So they would have to rely on a private equity firm to see value in RIM at a price the current shareholders would approve.

MrFuts

... the problem isn't the troops, it's execution of product.

Did you know BB OS 7 devices were out? If it weren't for crackberry.com I wouldn't. What about BBM Music? What the heck is that? Oh that music service released this week *crickets*. How can I fly to LA from Detroit, with a stop over in Denver and everywhere I went people asked me 'what is that? that looks so cool and super portable!' It's a Playbook...it's been out for a little bit...

With laptops being replaced by Playbooks, once the BBX phone devices start floating around I can tell you the troops will be excited. Too bad no one is worrying about getting a market brain washed by Apple ready for the products.

Just look at the OS 7 device running old OS, so far even the 6.0 devices (err device) along with them are more reliable then any other on the market. Product is there, OS will dare I say perfect the smartphone.

If RIM puts devices in peoples hands and gets a murmur going with some extremely creative marketing, things will change drastically. Learn from the Playbook mistake, don't price match, undercut.

Employees get excited when people are talking about how great the device in their hands really are.

TIMSHULL

Futs is spot on I rarely see a Bb ad on tv.Kevin you should be at the front table!

w0qj

Well, here is a view from my part of Asia, I for one want to buy the Torch 9810, the problem is that it's still "not yet launched" for my location here in Asia... with no hint in when this would be launched... RIM/BlackBerry does not feel the urgency to shore up its marketshare ?

I do hope that I can get this before Christmas ! Remember, the Torch 9810 was announced Aug'2011 which was 3 months ago...

So on one hand you have RIM/BlackBerry wanting to increase their marketshare, and on the other hand locally you have BlackBerry fans want to buy a (vapourware) Torch 9810 !!!

RIM/BlackBerry really needs to get its act together !

Yet another reason RIM management is losing respect of many folks (and this is not even counting the stock analysts and newspaper/online commentators...)

JAGWIRE

totally agree. i was a mgr for a retail company for three years and the first thing i leared was the mood of my staff made the store. if it was not a happy place to work they wouldnt want to be there and it would reflect on the store in a negitive way. the co-CEOs need to light a positive fire under their collective butts and the butts of their staff.

RazrRob

One of a CEOs two main functions is to keep the stock price high. With RIM you have #2 CEOs who are failing at the job - good thing they don't have bloated salaries (sarcasm). Until they can introduce a Playbook w/ a native email client and get on board w/ dual-core processors like the rest of the world, they will continue to lose market share to the iToy and androids - this is not rocket science. For $1 per year I'd be willing take their jobs an have no doubt the company would be in a better position 12 months later.

Jackal99

RazrRob you may have a point, Mike and Jim should change their salaries to $1/yr (keep the bonuses) and use that to help rally the troops. It speaks volumes that the top dog(s) have enough faith in their company that they will work for a dollar. I believe Steve Jobs did the same and it did help inspire employees.

MarketRide

It doesn't help when the CEO's have a share disposition plan in place....

:0

jrsbccf

Great (photoshopped) picture! hahahahaha!!

buckeyeind

Great article and expression of thought. Please express your thoughts next on a company that has 2 CEO's and name what companies are/have been successful with that strategy.

ODAAT

I went on the London Underground (Tube) last week and more people were playing with their BB's than any other phone. We love our BB's here in the UK. Word seems to be getting round about how great the 9860 is too- people are excited about a full touch screen BB. The only question mark is about the service going down for 3 days. I reckon that did them more harm than anything else. Many people know nothing about RIM as a company or even that BBX exists, but they do know their phones didn't work for three days. If I was running RIM, I would make sure that never happens again and every one of my customers know it will never happen again. Free apps is missing the point. People just want it to work as flawlessly as it always does.

rcheung135

OH MAH GAWD. :D It's Kevin!

If you ran RIM, you'd be the most excited person at a conference for sure.

Thunderbuck

Great enthusiasm, and I suspect they could use the odd dose of that at RIM right now.

I don't think they're used to the "underdog" role, and they need management that has experience with turnarounds. They need a turnaround now, big time.

There's tons of hope, actually, but the margins are very narrow. They need to NAIL BBX; with Apple stumbling a bit with this iPhone 4S battery issue, it might be a bit of an opportunity to win back people.

The app giveaway was nice (and probably an opportunity to build some developer relations at the same time), but RIM really needs to apologize to its userbase, explain exactly why the outage occurred, and what they're doing to insure it doesn't happen again. As nice as freebies are for loyalty, trust is paramount.

And if I ran Playbook... Ohhh man... Bridge is a frickin FEATURE, not a weakness. But it needs to be available to more than BB users; there's not a hope in hell that Apple would allow an iOS Bridge client, but I have trouble seeing the harm in publishing an Android client. Considering that Android is so similar to QNX/BBX, I'm sure RIM already has something cobbled together that could work.

And that's what I'D do if I ran RIM.

Blackberry_boffin

+1000.
An Android bridge feature is a great idea. I think RIM also need to realise that in this era making good products alone is not enough, you need to harp 24/7 about them too.
You also need to nip bad press in the bud by being the 1st to acknowledge it & state what will be done about it. The issue of missed deadlines cannot be stressed enough. If its not ready just say it's coming, don't mention any dates.
Your marketing team needs to privately engage techies/journos & hold them to task about the excessive negativity.
Lastly the device line up is mind boggling & a nightmare to support/develop for. Stick to one Bold, one Slider, One All-touch, one Curve, one style & get them right. The lower end market will be catered for by superseded devices. Never deliberately dumb down a device.
That said this transition to BBX was always going to be tough but the stock has taken too much of a beating. Leak a BBX device of something to prove it IS coming.

00stryder

Though I understand your approach with opening up Bridge to Android, I think this would only shoot RIM in the foot again. Their stance is not necessarily for users to use their phones or their tablet, it's to use BOTH a phone and the tablet, and use them together. If they allowed Android-powered devices to bridge-connect to the Playbook, then why get a BlackBerry phone? (Obviously that's not the only reason to get a phone but you know what I mean.) I feel that this move would cannibalize their phone sales.

It's sort of the same situation with BBM, or "bebem" as it's affectionately called by some. If RIM opened it to iOS and Android users, why would anyone get a BlackBerry phone anymore? RIM, like Apple, is serving both as the hardware and software developer. For Google it's easy enough to license out their software because until recently with the Motorola purchase, they didn't have to worry about selling handhelds.

No, I think that the solution lies in the marketing game and RIM has to attract new and fresh minds to revitalize that department. Get people thinking how cool it is to own a BlackBerry, like the rest of the world seems to outside of NA and parts of Europe, and then we'll see the RIMPIRE STRIKE BACK.

Thunderbuck

Could an Android Bridge client ultimately hurt BB phone sales? I'm not so sure.

If the PB sold as well as the iPad, you could use it to drive phone sales, but that's not happening. Build an Android client (yes, with BBM), but make it available ONLY for Playbook owners.

RPM_KW

Maybe they need a good old fashion RIM party? The troops used to get one of these every year. Bring up the spirits with a little Aerosmith (with BNL), or Van Halen (with the Hip). And no, i'm not an employee!

camera531

RIM is unfortunately at the point of no return. If an NFL team loses too many games, they're not going to the playoffs, let alone the superbowl. With Apple, Android and now Windows 7.5 progressing at mach speeds, nothing as behind the line as RIM can catch up. When you have a losing team, the coach is usually the first to go. In RIM's game, the coache(s) refuse to step aside and they're bringing the team down with them. The innovation, talent, drive and MANAGEMENT is not at the core of RIM, and their constant false promises, delays, half baked products and shockingly low stock price reflect this. Apple only came back because so did Steve Jobs. Nokia is potentially on its way back because of Microsoft. Unless google buys RIM, they are unfortunately going to continue sinking until their is nothing left.

ODAAT

Nice opinion camera531. I happen to think it is completely wrong. RIM are making a brave but adventurous move by developing their own OS. When it is finished, it will be impressive. People will notice, especially businesses. Mark my words.

camera531

Developing their own OS? Are you serious!? What the hell do you think RIM has been running since before OS 4? It's always been their own OS. QNX on the Playbook is also their own OS, and look how well that product turned out. BBX will, once again, be their own OS...and one that attempts to merge phone and tablets together. The problem is, IOS and Android have already done that, and Windows Phone is on its way with Windows 8. That's where developers and consumers are going. By the time RIM finally comes out with a BBX phone, the competition will be years ahead (with the same phone/tablet strategy) and developers/consumers will show little interest.

00stryder

"Nice opinion camera531. I happen to think it is completely wrong." I'm sorry but I LOL'd at this pretty badly!

ODAAT

Maybe Kevin should change the name of his site to BlackBerryhaters.com as there are fewer and fewer people here with anything positive to say. Crackberry.com seems slightly ridiculous now with all the negativity.

camera531

That's a very naive thing to say. No one is just "turning" on RIM, they're creating this disaster all by themselves. And unless you just bury your head in the sand, it's hard to always say "positive" things about a sinking ship. It's up to RIM to earn that positive thinking once again.

runkle55

There must be a transformation at RIM. As Jobs used to say; "people don't know what they want until we tell them what they want". Cold and calculating? Yes. But also correct in the technology field. How to fulfill it? Provide a product which is innovative, consumer centric, and easy to use. Market that product for what it can do to make people's lives more fun, cool and productive. Ironically, RIM has the talent to do exactly what I have said. It needs to get out of its own way; let people do their jobs well, provide incentives for great product development, hire fantastic marketing folks, streamline management layers, and keep the best product dreamers on the payroll. If there is no change, RIM will keep slipping and the ripple effect will reach into all its market sectors. One Palm implosion was enough.

RazrRob

Apple had 'Leadership'- RIM has 'Management'

RRMan03

If you ran RIM you would have enough money that you would not care.CEO's make money when they get fired. They cash in their stock options and move on to their next CEO job. The employees of RIM have no clue no do investors what their plans for the future are going to be.Their reign as king of the smart phone are over and gone. When you do not keep up you get left in the dust and your best people get offers from other companies. What are RIM's plans. If anyone knows they should tell the CEO and WALL Street.

mhart343

lol they all look depressed

zensen

Interesting take and I look forward to more of these but I don't really get your rant in this post? How would they rally their "troops"? Work harder cause I said so?! I'm not sure what their work structure is like but it seems with the lower share price, something has got to give... You'd fit right in because the rant wasn't that clear, seemed a bit fluffy like the dates rim gives. Maybe that pep talk will be delivered mid 2012? The angle of the article could have gone towards more on how they're perceived in the media and consumer minds. They should work on their image and embrace them more than some lame "rally talk" when after they finish work they're back in the real world.

martinjdub

First off, kev is right that the troops (including us users) need to be rallied!

One company can't do wrong, the other can't do right.

I work for a large company as a BES/BB admin and I am forever defending BB, but I do so because of my love for BB. Hell, I don't work for RIM and I walk out of there spanked by all the haters...so I sympothize with those who work at RIM.

RIM is in a privliaged position right now...they will come out of the corner this Q1 with all guns blazing and take back (most/some) of the world it once owned...or we become a neiche market...like apple once was...

Funny how that happens

The RIMPIRE

jasonec

I live in the Waterloo area and know lots of people who still work for RIM. Morale was never that high to begin with at RIM, but right now it is in the gutter - there is no internal rallying at all, and there are people I know who have cleaned out their desks just in case they get walked out on Friday.

jasonec

Plus, the attitude is not "let's focus on our strengths" at RIM - it's "don't mention anything bad about the company or we'll fire your butt"

Kevin Michaluk

That's a problem. I think I might have to visit Waterloo and start the rallying myself.

RPM_KW

OccupyRim! Or Occupy Phillip Street? Or does Occupy Columbia Street have a better ring to it?

kill_9

Kevin wrote, "you'd better not f*?king quit on me! I need you right now at RIM! If you quit I will hunt you down and make sure you never work for anybody again."

If anyone in management at any place of employment ever spoke to me that way I would quietly pack up at the end of the day, send my letter of resignation via email to the manager and cc human resources as well as a copy to myself, and never darken the entryway of that employer again.

Kevin, all the talk from management at almost every organization does little to motivate the hardworking people within the organization - I am speaking about any organization not specifically about Research In (The Walking Dead) Motion. The real screw-ups are always in management. The staff are mere pawns regardless of industry and I suspect you know it to be true. Again, If I had the financial resources I would buyout Research In Motion, fire the entire mismanagement team, take the firm private and say to the former shareholders "...just watch me..." and rebuild the BlackBerry brand.

Kevin Michaluk

Agree on your second paragraph there... hehe.. I said that in a very loving / fun manner with people I knew (plus don't work for the company). Obviously in a professional capacity would not do that. 

 

RPM_KW

First, I think Kevin was exagerating a little (read: lot), second, unfourtunatly, the way things are in Waterloo, If you have a good paying job at RIM, you stay. There are a lot of scared people who are relying on RIM to not fail. If they do, a lot of us in the Region are in trouble.

Two years ago, I fond myself looking for a job, and it took 13 months. and that was wehn the economy was good here.

216d8f7f

Guys, why we dont wanna admit that untill these two CEO are in position, RIM is going NOWHERE BUT DOWN!

scottae316

Oh I'm not afraid to say that it is time for the "co-CEO's" should retire or the shareholders should fire them.I is clear that they have lost their vision and will to succeed. They need to step away and let some ONE with vision take over and hopefully rescue RIM.

fhinton

I fear that it's already to late. It isn't only the employees who are being left hanging, it is also the customers. Case in point, I got an e-mail today from Lookout Mobile Security informing me, that in three months, that they will drop support for my device. This is just the beginning. RIM needed restructuring at the top, but now it is to late to save the company. I've said this before, I know, but it bears repeating as often as we can repeat it.

I'm not a malcontent. I have used BlackBerries for four years and liked the devices. RIM has lost it's position as a player in the smartphone industry. It really pains me to say that, but we have to look at this realistically. We can't put our fingers in our ears just because we don't want to hear the truth. Devaluation of the company's stock is a precursor of what is to come.

When I upgrade next year, I will be moving away from BlackBerry. Software developers are moving away from the company almost as fast as their customers are.

TomCanuck

RIM cant even rally their fanboy loyalists that much anymore ... good luck rallying the staff...

BB_Bmore

Its as simple as this. If BBX indeed "leapfrogs" the competition then RIM has a future in the industry. If BBX fails,then its goodbye RIM. You had a nice run. Do i have faith in RIM? Do I believe the BBX hype? Ummm, do you expect me too?...exactly. I sure as hell hope so though. I Guess we all will see.

fhinton

I'm afraid we're seeing it now. RIM is slowly circuling the drain. I have often heard the phrase in reference to RIM that they over promise and under deliver. BBX may just be another failure for them. By the time it eventually does come out, it will be to late to turn the company around and to keep their customers from bailing on them.

the_sleuth

Good post Kevin, like the glass half full. What you probably will not touch upon is the complete loss of confidence in RIM management. It's reflected in the stock price, the media, former BB users and many CrackBerry forum members.

The year 2011, will be remembered as RIM's year of desolation. And responsibility falls on the shoulders of Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis.

Just read this NY Times interview to see what distortion field these CEOs live in:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/11/technology/companies/11rim.html?_r=2

livejam

Keep it up Kevin, RIM can turn it around and own the mobile space if they just execute on all cylinders.

kevinnugent

I like the "they should take the company private" comments.

They can't afford to do that.

lotuslanderz

I'm all for the idea of the CEOs taking a salary of $1/yr next year (keeping the bonuses only if they achieve certain goals) and then giving the rank and file some shares in RIM as an Xmas/Holiday bonus. It would be a symbolic start to the new year. :)

anakin1978

What a waste of time. Didn't know people are still interested to save RIM.

stormsurvivor

No need to Rally the troops, Kev. They did it wrong the first time! Hire at least one person who knows something about smartphone design. Raid Tech offices at HTC, Apple, Samsung, and Google so someone with an ounce of brains at RIM could actually get something accomplished.
Take measures to retire dead weight management (RIM is top heavy with that). You might finally come out with a 4" screen and 8mp Camera device.

Most importantly.....Lose the arrogance that defines RIM. Bring cred back to a company that exists in a state of denial. You might become their first REAL manager. And, put a markteting team in place that isn't looking thru a fog. "Hey guys, the competition is killing ya!"

RIM will stand for "Rest In Morgue" unless someone lights a fire under the asses of the NEW recruits!!!!

You call this a RIMPIRE? More like a RIMPILE of you know what!

909F2

I think that RIM has ignored its customers need and want, its the customer that make or break a company. Customer acceptance = Huge sales. Fix that RIM by delivering on your promise. I found a link on WSJ last night where Jim B promise that famous 60 days for native email, nostalgic.
----------------------------------
 9810 & PB 16g

Dapper37

Perhaps this post is needed from our point of view, somehow I dout its needed from the inside RIM point of view. For one if anyone believes this is not going on, during the middle of the largest company transition probably ever in the tech space. Their simply wrong. These are not easy times thats true. These are the best workers smartest minds in the space. They understand whats at stake and are up to the task. People are upset with the timeline more than the product yet nobody here understands whats being done. Therefor how long it should take. We all like to speak about what we think needs to happen yet not one here even has a clue what is happening. Therefor wile your thoughts are at time quality, they are infounded.
Secondly a post like this only adds to the outcry in the media. I would not be supprized to see this blog turned into something its not in the american main stream media. My thoughts
are that a post that actually rallies the troops at RIM instead of further isolating them would serve a much better purpose. Kevin why don't you actually use your power to rally the troops at RIM if you believe they are currently down, continuing the drum beet of the american media is missing the opportunity. My bet is that the RIM employees come to CB to read what people are saying, believing they will get a fair shake here. Why doesn't CB do more to ensure them we are fully behind them. We love the RIM employees for what they have done thus far and can't wait for what they will bring us in the future!!! BIG LOVE for these people...

Jake Storm

+1
Go RIM.
I'm a big RIM fan, and I don't mean "RIM the company", I mean "RIM the people that work there.
I'm a fan of the people who made my 9900.
I'm a fan of the people who made my PlayBook.
Good job Guys and Gals. I can't wait to see what you have in store for 2012.

Robert22

The current managemt let die the cash cow of RIM - the Bold 9900. They had to renew it every year like Apple does with the iPhone. Perfect strategy. The current managemtn of RIM has to go!

Robert22

.... Every BlackBerry employee I bumped into during the week, I gave them a pep talk followed by a more stern "you'd better not f*?king quit on me! I need you right now at RIM! If you quit I will hunt you down and make sure you never work for anybody again." ...

Kevin, this is a little bit sick, dont you think? I hope, you are not in a management function enywhere...

sillydragon

All of this worry about RIM is understandable. From some perspectives, the future looks dark: iOS and Android are obviously dominating the horizon and RIM has missed a number of key deadlines and has made more than its share of missteps.

Here's why I think RIM is going to come out of this OK:

1. iOS. Shiny? Check. Well Polished? Check. App Store? Check. Appealing? Well... I'm of the opinion that iOS was much more appealing when it was first released: it had a number of huge advantages over everybody else. Much better browsing, much more intuitive interface, etc. Over the past few years, though, everybody else has caught up in all the ways that matter. Just about everybody has a decent browser. Just about everybody has a more intuitive interface than they did when iPod launched. Nowadays, the iPod isn't such a huge improvement over the competition. That it seemed like it was the genius of SJ who really "was" apple. Apple is in competent hands but they will be regressing to the mean over the course of the next few years.

2. Fashion is Fickle. Say what you will, but as time goes on, the decision to buy an iPhone is increasingly becoming/is primarily a fashion decision. Parachute pants were popular for awhile until they weren't (not degrading the iPhone... they really have been knocking it out of the park in terms of quality and design). All existing things soon change.

3. Do you realize what RIM has been attempting? Re-writing its core OS from scratch? Absolutely this was the right decision for RIM to make. Ab-so-fing-lutely. It was a very tough call. A huge amount of work. And they made that call. And they are executing against it. Yes, PB is disappointing, but even if they don't break even in terms of cost, they spent a great deal of time gaining experience in their new OS (BEFORE they decided to try fing with the phone OS). Great, great, great idea!!!! Seriously!!! If I had to test my ability on one of two products; one of which my customers depend on and the other my customers have never seen before, I would choose to cut my teeth on the new tech. Because I don't want to lose existing customers. Again, good call for co-ceos.

4. RIM is run by engineers and not by MBAs (no so clear on this here... my impression anyway). They aren't worried about spinning the market, they aren't wasting time trying to control the news cycles, they are executing against their vision.

RIM isn't perfect, nobody is. They are, however, executing against their vision. They have a plan. They have the capability and as long as they continue to execute against their vision they will get there.

Oh, and the reason WP doesn't matter: I believe it only competes against android and iOS for market share. Seriously... MS has been making boatloads off Android. User experience isn't terribly different. I really don't think RIM has any competition... it will just keep growing... it is inherently different and inherently valuable. Not the least of which reason why is because they spent so much time obsessing over the quality of the components. My BB has always been an awesome phone. That's a pretty "sticky" aspect of user experience. My BB has always been an awesome speakerphone. It has always had great battery life (cough... 9900). It has never taken a s**t on me. Pretty sticky stuff. RIM will make it through this... not the least of which reason why is because the tactile experience was never as trivial as SJ made it seem. I love my keyboard because I love touching stuff. Minimalism is great when it reduces UNNECESSARY complexity. Some complex experiences are better left UN-F*CKED-WITH: they don't benefit from minimalization. I would love to see RIM buy WEBOS just so it could throw a fucking stylus into the mix. LOL but you know what I mean. I loved have a stylus back in my Sony PDA days.

I trust you RIM and congrats to all the employees at RIM for the 9900 in particular and the OS7 experience in general. It takes guts to follow your vision when every mindless idiot around is crying about the the sky falling. Cooler heads will prevail, though, and I am confident that you will get through this much better than anyone thinks.

marko868

I was browsing through GSM Arena as I usually do partly because I worked with mobile providers for six years, partly because I'm obssessed with technology and from flipping to Nokia, Samsung, Apple, Sony Ericsson pages the reality set in. Blackberry is becoming ancient! Of course being that way isn't a bad thing but the reality is that its a touchscreen world! I know its keypad is great for typing(I'm using my Bold 9700 to type) but keypads are on its last legs, RIM needs to innovate and when I say that I don't mean embracing touch tech I mean look beyond it! What is the evolution? FULL Voice control/speech to text/Siri/Star Trek Computer that's the future focus on that! Be a real game changer! I want to dictate an entire article without burning my thumbs, I want to navigate by speech, I want to go to apps by voice commands I want to just say CRACKBERRY and my BB loads crackberry.com! GIVE ME THE STAR TREK COMPUTER SO I CAN WOW MY iPHONE LOVING MORONS/BOSSES

klkd

Its like they arent even trying anymore. Everyone i know that works at rim is just waiting to be let go. This is especially frustrating as a student who turned down better schools to attend waterloo knowing it would pretty much guarantee a job at rim, and now rim may not even exist by the time i graduate. Its really sad.

wehttam

kevin for starters i do believe that the co-ceo needddddsssssss to be FIRED they are not doing a good job at anything . i think that rim has out grown those two and until u have new ,vibrant leaders who are willing to go head to head with the other competitors then rim will always suffer. You're in business to make a profit and gain not only a profit but to increase market share..........

Calotag

Lets go to WK and protest. Tell RIM what crackberry nation wants and what well sttle for and nothing less!!!

s2by10

Who Hah! Lead the troops Kev!

bitek

Long time reader,first time poster,. i think there is a lot of unfair bashing of RIM especially in US media. Tech review sites like Gizmodo and their commentaries on Rim and Blackberry,excuse my language, but make me puke. Their journalism is unprofessional and bias. There are other things beyond apps and dual core CPU.

Blackberry phones feel more mature and business like then any competition and security is far better on Blackberry then on Iphone or Android (especially android). New OS7 phones are just as fast in web browsing as Iphone and Android despite the fact that the latter have dual core CPUs. Dual core CPU is nothing more then good marketing ploy because in realty dual core phones are just marginally faster over phones with single core cpu. OS7 phones can have installed many apps. Way more then previous generation blackberry phones.

RIM is victim of its own success. Blackberry had virtual monopoly on smart phone market made top echelon of RIM management cocky. None the less Blackberry had slow start to catch up to iphone but i think the company has made tremendous improvement over last few years.

Now if i was running RIM first and foremost I should spend $$$ and get some marketing genius and top notch pr team. Apple success is all due to Steve Job and his marketing genius.

In addition i would cut line up of phones. There is way too many models of Blackberry phones. Phone numbering must be extremely confusing to potential blackberry users.

It must be nightmare for developers to make apps compatible with all these Blackberry models.

I would get rid of 9860. Not necessary to copy iphone. Blackberry looks like follower not leader with this phone. There is really nothing like physical keyboard. I just got playbook and typing on virtual keyboard just sucks. I started typing this post on playbook but i just could not handle it any more so i switch to my laptop.

I totally agree that top management must rally the troops. Rim needs die hard employees who will stand behind the brand.

fhinton

It is to late for RIM to do anything. I have a PlayBook and I like the device, but it has been a flop. The PlayBook hasn't really sold very well or has really caught on. As for security, companies such as Motorola are offering comparable security features.

RIM has lost their advantage among corporate and enterprise customers. A company that I work for has, just this year, allowed employees to buy their own devices. The major carriers are offering discounts to our employees. I have seen some with iPhones or Android devices.

For the last few years, RIM has been either poorly or entirely mismanaged. The executive board gave the two co-CEO's six months to turn the company around. Time is almost up and not only have they not turned the company around, their stock is tanking on the market and they have continued to lose market share. Right now, RIM is ripe for a hostile take-over. By whom is anyone's guess.

bjm007

Once a company goes public, it owes it's shareholders a strategic/business plan that will achieve success for its sharholders... Period. If you stay private, you can run the company any damn way you want, but the moment you acccept money from public investors, you loose the right to simply chart your own course and ignore the market. That's just the way it is. RIMM still has a big enough market share to come back from this major screw-up, but the responsibility lies with the leadership to turn the ship around. And they had better get their act together and do it NOW!

Msarieslove

God1st Ahhahhahahah that Pic Is Funny Kevin

the brother

two words: TOO POINT OH

falconeight

You wouldn't rally dick you would ban them for speaking their minds.

conker

I respect the devotion and optimism, but it is too late. Way back when, when Android first showed up - a bunch of us suggested going with Android. All the die hards said that was a stupid idea, it's that kind of old school thinking that has led us here. As a BB user for the last 6 years, it pains me to say it, but RIM brought this upon themselves. They had the market share, the infrastructure, but just sat around. It's called hubris... now look at where they are:

http://goo.gl/bVRrF

victorshikhman

Kevin, from a daily reader but rare commentator... the rest of us can groan and complain, but in a very real way, as I'm sure you realize, if RIM goes down in the next six months to a year, as many are predicting, Crackberry is going down with it. This is no longer the time to handle the management with velvet gloves. You (and the team here are CB) do more to promote BB hardware and software adoption and retention than perhaps anyone else. If you can't push through RIM's thick management head that things need to change, who can?

I have been a BB user (small-business) for six years now (8100, then 8900). I was really looking forward to the 9900, and if it wasn't for Tmo charging $300 for an upgrade (that's plain robbery), I probably would have picked one up. Instead, I did what I never thought I would: I went into an Apple store and got myself a 32GB iPod Touch for that same $300. And then I picked up a mint condition Bold 9000 for $50 on eBay.

I love the 9000, and for phone calls, emails, calendar, it's perfect. But it's also 4 year old tech! The fact is, it took RIM 4 years(!!!) to bring something fundamentally better than the 9000 to market (the 9900). For 4 years RIM sat on their hands, pushing the same product with superficial, incremental improvements out to retailers. For music, movies, games and entertainment, the iTouch is two years ahead of anything RIM has, even with BB7. The only business use iTouch could ever have is Skype, but I didn't buy it for business, I bought it for me. My business needs can be met with a used, 4 year old $50 Bold. For entertainment, I was willing to spend 6 times as much for an iTouch that works flawlessly, that never needs a battery pull, that never gives me hourglass. RIM missed out on that entire market.

I remember an article from a couple of months back about Apple's R&D efforts with the iPhone. They are constantly testing exotic materials, trying to make leapfrog improvements to the design, functionality... I remember one of these was the ability to transmit sound through glass, eliminating the speaker ports and thus being able to stretch the screen across the entire length of the device. Another was a holographic keyboard. Regardless of whether all these improvements are ever made, (and some will be) it shows creativity, a real spirit of pushing boundaries. It gives people pride and anticipation of going to work every day for a company that sponsors their dreams.

Is anyone at RIM pushing boundaries, hardware and software? Are they thinking generations ahead or are they catching up just to catch up? Is the flexibility and potential of BBX going to be paired with hardware that can revolutionize the smartphone market, or merely allow RIM devices to compete with last year's iPhone models? The mockups I've seen of the upcoming BBX device look like a Storm! That's just not acceptable, I don't care how wonderful BBX is. Again, my business needs can be met 100% with a used $50 Bold 9000. There are only so many ways to make a phone call, answer an email or take down a calendar entry, and 4 year old tech has it covered. RIM needs to give me a reason to spend $300 with them, and not on the next iTouch.

No one is going to come back to BB in exchange for incremental improvements to battery life, or a touch screen comparable to what Apple has, or a BBX software platform wedded to two year old hardware. If you want to inspire RIM employees, forget about threatening them - instead, push them to innovate. They'll get their mojo back when their engineering teams start dreaming again. When you go to Waterloo, the only question on your mind should be, "what are you innovating?"

herrbremerhaven

Excellent post Kevin. I would definitely vote to put you on the board, and I mean that as a shareholder. Where the coCEOs are failing is that they are not inspiring confidence. Maybe the next phase of QNX smartphones will be the ultimate, like those sample internal videos hinted. The problem is that as the shareholders lose confidence, the press lose confidence, and people jump on every mistake, then the enterprise customers that RiM need start to question there choice in communications platform. A little doubt could open the door for Android, Windows Phone, or iPhone, and it will take more than a year to get any one of the changed back.

I use a BlackBerry 9650 for work and I value the e-mail quickness while I am on the go. The keyboard makes it possible for me to send as long or short a reply as necessary. Quite likely I will buy another BlackBerry, but I'm not the customer RiM needs to convince. They need to inspire confidence in people now moving into smartphones. I want to be able to have my BlackBerry in plain view of others and not need to defend my choice of communications.

br14

Relax. You're all going nuts. It's just a phone company.

RIM's share price can affect the company of course, but just because a few people of limited knowledge have lost faith, and many others are shorting the stock as a result, doesn't mean the company is failing.

On the contrary, RIM continues to make record profits. Only in the two quarters when no phones were released (due to BBX transition) has RIM not made increased sales. They're still number one in several markets around the world.

There's a negative perception toward RIM in the North American market, but that's one of the few markets in the world that is not so price sensitive. The rest of the world doesn't see RIM in anything like the same light. Not every market has inexpensive wireless broadband for example (just try traveling in Europe!).

No doubt RIM will deliver on BBX eventually and when they do they'll regain a little market share. The real bonus comes when Google loses it's battle with Oracle when Android will crash and burn. The irony is that RIM just spent a fortune porting Android to Playbook, and by this time next year chances are there will be no Java on Android - or at least only expensive Java.

The cell phone market is about finance and intellectual property. Technology is only a small piece of the story. Hence Apples aggressive stance towards anyone it can't impact via PR. (RIM unfortunately has been severely damaged by Apples media control).

Ideally RIM would go private, but that would mean the CEO's would need to find someone with big pockets who was willing to fund the buyback without taking a major stake - not so likely. Two or three banks working together perhaps.