John Chen wants BlackBerry to be more than niche
BlackBerry CEO John Chen sat down for an interview recently, speaking broadly to concerns about the company and his personal history and management style. Specifically, he addressed the forecast of BlackBerry becoming a niche business solution that we wouldn't see on store shelves. Chen obviously recognizes the bring your own device movement in enterprise, saying "today's consumer is tomorrow's enterprise," and elaborates on the potential to dial back consumer efforts.
"No, why would I do a niche thing? I got a lot of CEO offers before. I'd like to become a strong software and infrastructure provider of everything that connects to each other. Why would people buy from BlackBerry? Partly because of the know-how, patents and security. Today I'm building toward those goals. It will take a while but I have to first return the company to profitability."
What was particularly interesting was hearing about how Chen has to operate in his situation. It's a tough spot to be in and hard decisions have to be made.
"I believe there's a time to discuss and a time to act. I don't like to confuse the two. I have a cadence with our management team where we put up problems, everyone goesto collect data and analysis, and when we come together every two weeks to tackle the decision points, I get advice from everyone, and then I decide. I like getting knowledge from my team, but like a model, the right decision changes with time. If you stay on a problem long enough, especially in technology, it changes. A nondecision is always wrong."
What do you think of Chen's take on the current situation at BlackBerry? Is he the right guy to turn the company around?