1. Brazen9000's Avatar
    The very annoying Jeremy Gutsche at trendhunter.com speaks a lot about Smith Corona who were the best typewriter company in the world.
    The key time that effectively sealed the fate of Smith Corona was in the late 80's. They had a typewriter which was a much better word processor than a computer for a tiny fraction of the price. It saved your text to a floppy disk, it printed in real time, as it were, and had full erase functionality. The infinitely more expensive computers came with the need to buy additional and cumbersome monitors, printers, floppy disk drives, keyboards etc etc. Why would companies not just keep using the amazing Smith Corona typewriters for their business needs?

    Well, they didn't because companies wanted to buy potentiality and were blinded by the "bling factor" of computers, which proved a good thing in the long run, but, in the short term, it wasn't a simply rational decision as computers were still behind typewriters in terms of what most companies actually used computers for.

    So, what's this got to do with RIM. RIM are a very rational company. They want to perfect what they do and keep selling it to the market. Logically, they're doing great. But they're forgetting the "bling factor" and the assumption that "potentiality" augurs well for the future and that consumers want to adopt the product that projects well into the future.

    I'm reminded of this by the Dakota which is PERFECT but lacks a certain bling factor. For example, the 5 MGP camera. Now I don't want a better camera and most people will never avail of any extra megapixels than 5. When newer Android phones, however, have more and the Nokia N8 has a 12 MPixel camera RIM will suffer a little in reviews and be seen as the company of the past in this area. Early adopters and those companies seeking to move into the future will opt for other products and RIM will start to look more and more like Smith Corona, behind the times, of the past and not on the cusp, not "of the future". They will appear to not be a horse to back, a company to invest in.

    What's the solution? Do something "irrational". Stick an 8 mega pixel rear camera and a 5 megapixel front facing camera. Pare margins to the limit to do this. Reviews will push the Dakota (even though no one will ever really benefit from the extra megapixels) and RIM will be seen as the company on the cusp rather than behind the times. Individuals and companies will take it up much more quickly and RIM will avoid ever going the Smith Corona route.

    In sum, I suggest that being purely "rational" is not in RIM's best long term interest as it makes the mistake of envisioning the market as purely rational when, in fact, it isn't. They need to think about the strange dynamics of online reviews, useless "bling factors" specs and how to "appear" on the cusp despite the irrationality of the 'bling' components.
    Last edited by Brazen9000; 01-13-11 at 03:17 PM.
    Daniel Ratcliffe likes this.
    01-13-11 01:27 PM
  2. Draconianfire83's Avatar
    Very well written, I'm sure you'll get flack... but I agree. Thank you for making a logical, real-world example of why RIM might need to step it up.
    Brazen9000 likes this.
    01-13-11 01:51 PM
  3. T
    While I agree that markets are not always rational, I disagree that a company should do irrational and idiotic things, like appearing to be "on the cusp of the future," to appease those irrational markets. I just can't take that kind of thing seriously from anyone. I think an advertising campaign to educate the idiotic masses makes more sense. Tell them why the rational product is better and why the other companies' products are just gimmicks. A certain amount of idiots will still go for the gimmicks for any number of reasons (e.g. they don't believe the educational ads), but who cares?
    01-13-11 02:44 PM
  4. Brazen9000's Avatar
    I take your point Tonis and it's a good one. I don't really mean "gimmicks" though. There is a checklist of specs that reviewers and readers go through. The fact is that the difference between a 5 megapix camera and an 8 megapix camera for most typical blackberry users is not worth the extra cost for RIM to put the component in. They can't pass on the extra cost to the consumer as it's not worth it to the consumer to pay extra for it. So, rationally, they leave it out.

    But, it underwhelms reviewers, underwhelms (irrational) consumers and radically impacts how RIM is perceived in terms of location relative to the cutting edge of technology. So I suggest RIM puts it in and eats the cost because that's the only way to position their brand in such a way as consumers and companies will continue to buy into it moving forward.

    "Reason" is market specific and rational acts within the terms of the current smart phone market may not seem all that rational when viewed through other optics.
    01-13-11 03:13 PM
  5. pkcable's Avatar
    Interesting post, and I can certainly see the parallel. I'll still get the "smith corona" or BB as the case may be, but I can see your point. It's food for thought!
    01-13-11 03:24 PM
  6. Brazen9000's Avatar
    Me too! My big choice is which of the Blackberries leaked today to get next summer or Fall No question. If RIM ever hired me as a consultant (and they wouldn't!) my post above is what I'd tell them.
    Last edited by Brazen9000; 01-13-11 at 04:03 PM.
    01-13-11 03:42 PM
  7. Exiled Bulldawg's Avatar
    I take your point Tonis and it's a good one. I don't really mean "gimmicks" though. There is a checklist of specs that reviewers and readers go through. The fact is that the difference between a 5 megapix camera and an 8 megapix camera for most typical blackberry users is not worth the extra cost for RIM to put the component in. They can't pass on the extra cost to the consumer as it's not worth it to the consumer to pay extra for it. So, rationally, they leave it out.

    But, it underwhelms reviewers, underwhelms (irrational) consumers and radically impacts how RIM is perceived in terms of location relative to the cutting edge of technology. So I suggest RIM puts it in and eats the cost because that's the only way to position their brand in such a way as consumers and companies will continue to buy into it moving forward.

    "Reason" is market specific and rational acts within the terms of the current smart phone market may not seem all that rational when viewed through other optics.
    No kidding! Just look at the press discussion of the iPod 4 - it has a 1mp camera and the tech press dismissed the device. Regardless of the fact most iPod Touch users would first use the phone they carry with them - it has a constant connection, the touch does not.
    01-13-11 04:54 PM
  8. Rootbrian's Avatar
    I wouldn't compare a smartphone company to a typewriter company :P

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    01-14-11 01:28 AM
  9. Brazen9000's Avatar
    I have to think there was a "comparing apples and oranges" "typewriters and blackberries" style pun to be availed of in making that point
    01-14-11 12:29 PM
  10. suncare's Avatar
    It make sense but I don't like it. updating things just because, leaves us with devices we don't want or need. That's what drew me to my 9650 in the first place. It didn't look just like all the other 'flashy' whiz bang phones. (whiz bang? how old is this guy?!) By the way. I LOVE using my Bold. Always learning something new on this forum. Thanks.
    01-14-11 01:01 PM
  11. GingerSnapsBack's Avatar
    It make sense but I don't like it. updating things just because, leaves us with devices we don't want or need. That's what drew me to my 9650 in the first place. It didn't look just like all the other 'flashy' whiz bang phones. (whiz bang? how old is this guy?!) By the way. I LOVE using my Bold. Always learning something new on this forum. Thanks.
    I'm not one to update just because the flashy new BB comes out. I know several people that dropped a crapload of money on the Torch when it came out simply because they had to have it, but weren't eligible for the upgrade. I've had the Curve model for about 3 years now.

    Yes, I do want a touch screen BB. I am eligible for my upgrade now, but I won't use it until I get the one I want.
    01-14-11 01:38 PM
  12. jbs-horn's Avatar
    The problem with the article is that the Smith Corona was not a better word processor than a computer. I had one of those very machines and could run circles around it with a CP/M computer (NorthStar Advantage) running WordStar connected to a Diablo daisywheel printer. For drafting a 50 page contract during a negotiation a typewriter, even one as advanced as the SC, was grossly inadequate.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    01-14-11 04:39 PM
  13. Brazen9000's Avatar
    I don't think it was irrational for Smith Corona to assume that they would have a market into the future. Its users favored instantaneous real time "printing" for a fraction of the cost. There was 0 learning curve and training relative to these computing machines. There were NO security fears. Breakdowns were less frequent and could be fixed with a fraction of the expertise and costs. It hardly ever crashed. "battery life" was infinite and while a power cut could close your business with one of these "computers" the Smith Corona was power cut proof. If you were into word processing, rather than all that fancy bells and whistles playing "Solitaire" and the like, the Smith Corona was the way to go. Sure tech snobs would scoff at it in comparison to the computing machines, but the hard core Smith Corona user knew what they wanted and were making rational choices ensuring the future of Smith Corona at least in the medium term.

    Look, it's a clumsy analogy. It's silly to draw too much into it. But, despite reason, bling like front facing cameras 8-12 Megapix rear facing cameras etc would make a big difference to positioning RIM as a cutting edge brand again and banishing the "buggy whip" image that many tech sites are trying to fix on it.
    01-14-11 04:52 PM
  14. jbeachy's Avatar
    In hockey there's a term "skating to where the puck is going to be," or in football, "throwing to where the reciever is going to be." Every company tries to do that with marketing projections.

    History is littered with wreckages of companies or industries who got it wrong: The railroad industry who thought they were in the train business and failed to realize they were in the transportation business. IBM who created the mass-market PC and promptly failed to appreciate the magnitude of what they had created. Today these entities are but a shadow of what they could have been had they better understood the future.

    I think school's out on RIM: We get all hyped up about the new glitzy phones, but a lot of that is fad-based. What will endure for the long run after we get tired of the 1000 useless apps that we eagerly download and frenetically use for a week before moving on? Reminds me of the car salesman with the yellow tie vs. the quieter guy in the pin-striped black suit. I'll put my bet on the suit. Time will tell. YMMV

    Posted from my BlackBerry using BerryBlab
    Harryl6134 likes this.
    01-15-11 11:50 AM
  15. Brazen9000's Avatar
    Very good post. I hope you're right. You're very rational though, you may not be a entirely representative of the smart phone market
    01-15-11 01:08 PM
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