LOSING THE SIGNAL – THE STORY OF BLACKBERRY FROM ‘RAGS TO RICHES’ TO ALMOST RAGSby Rajshree Faria September 11, 2015
Image Source: nytimes.com
Seldom do we see success that is so spectacular that we are curious to see what happens when it ends. What happens when the mighty fall? What is their journey? What was it that made them “big” in the market, and what led to their fall? If you are one of those curious souls, then you may wish to grab a copy of ‘Losing the Signal – The Spectacular Rise and Fall of BlackBerry’ by Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff who are the staff reporters at the Globe and Mail.
The Terminal City Club in Vancouver on 11th September, will see the Globe & Mail journalist & author of the stellar book, Sean Silcoff, talk about the rise and fall of the giant tech company BlackBerry. It will be a discussion on not only technology, but also how businesses, successful or otherwise bite the dust when the competition it faces becomes unprecedented.
Image Source: amazon.com
The authors, by virtue of being journalists, had access to the people behind BlackBerry…its senior most executives, directors, and even competitors. The story of BlackBerry begins with the partnership between Jim Balsillie, a Harvard Business School graduate, and Mike Lazaridis, an engineer with a vision for tech. They got together to pioneer a pocket email device that very soon became the go-to tool of high powered company CEOs and Presidents. Research in Motion, as Blackberry Limited was called before, became the talk of the business tech world as more and more professionals turned to it to make their business communication easier. Their popularity can be gauged by the fact that their first online client was Michael Dell, of Dell Computers.
Image Source: 40limon.es
The story shows how BlackBerry was growing big in a market where telecom operators were using 2G or EDGE connectivity, something that said that they were not ready for the tech revolution that BlackBerry was soon going to bring about. However, things changed with new players like Apple and Google making a foray into the segment. Carriers were now ready to invest billions in trying to expand their reach and these opportunistic brands grabbed the chance at success. BlackBerry, regrettably, did not foresee the surge in such tech and lost out…and that’s how it went from being at the top of the pyramid to now accounting for only one percent of the total smartphone market share.
‘Losing the Signal’ is a book of significance not because it tells the story of a successful company that suddenly loses its sheen. Instead, it is important because it shows how a lack of innovation, of being unable to keep up with the times can lead to you being surpassed by others. It is not about the greed or incompetence, it is sheer inability to foresee into the future, a future BlackBerry helped pave the way to.
It is not often that a journey so powerful, a success story so inspiring is captured so well on paper. That’s why it is essential that you get your hands on the book to know how a small Canadian company went on to become the biggest market player in the world of smartphones, and changed the game which it later lost.