Less than a decade ago you’d be hard-pressed to walk ten feet without spotting someone whose total attention (as well as thumbs and eyeballs) were glued to tiny black devices called BlackBerrys. Their influence was so overwhelming that Research in Motion (RIM), the company behind the infamously addictive “CrackBerry” ascended into the public consciousness like few before. But just as soon as they arrived, the end was nigh, as the company that helped create the smartphone market would fail to anticipate and react with clarity to the entry of Apple and Google into the telecommunications race.
Our guest on this edifying edition of the Popzara Podcast is journalist Sean Silcoff, business writer with The Globe and Mail and co-author (with Jacquie McNish) of Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry. Silcoff documents the strange partnership of RIM founder Mike Lazaridis, whose products and vision would help shape the future of mobile telecommunications, and Jim Balsillie, a consummate businessman whose questionable tactics would spearhead a meteoric rise that would come crashing back to earth.
It’s a tale of high intrigue, big risks (and even bigger rewards), corporate hubris, and potential squandered. The lesson is real and direct: no matter how popular, how transformational, or how instrumental you or your brand has been, if you can’t weather the Storm…you’re doomed.