07-05-11 07:08 PM
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  1. andyahs's Avatar
    .......and here they are

    More letters to RIM; employees rally alongside anonymous exec

    BGR published an open letter to Research In Motion yesterday from an anonymous high-level RIM executive who begged for senior management to take notice of all of the issues within RIM. The exec explained how the company should make some changes to focus on the talent and potential within RIM, and also to focus on end users instead of carriers. After we published the article, RIM responded. It wasnt pretty, and it really didnt address a single point that was made by the original plea. It wasnt just RIM that responded, however we received dozens of emails from current and former RIM employees detailing their stories, and essentially all agreeing with the open letter that was published on BGR. Among the correspondance were several new open letters written by RIM employees, and the BGR team has gone through them at length. There were nearly a dozen gems amid the emails we received, and while we may address various highlights in the coming weeks, we cant publish them all at this time. We thank each and every person who took the time to email us with their thoughts, but there were two in particular that stood out from the crowd. One is from a former RIM employee and the other is from a current employee, and both sources have been vetted.
    07-01-11 08:30 AM
  2. andyahs's Avatar
    LETTER 1

    I was an employee at RIM for a year and a half. I worked in the legal and business affairs departments, and despite having originally thought I’d landed the jackpot job-wise, it took no time for me to begin planning my exodus.

    My first week started with a complete change in my title and duties without anyone telling me, and when I dared ask what was happening, the director (my boss) and her BFF the OD business partner ganged up on me and threatened to let me go, setting the tone for the remainder of my time there.

    Over a year an a half, the four of us in the same position dwindled to just me and yet I was responsible for getting all four jobs done for the better part of a year, since this is how long it took the department to hire other entry-level people. Two individuals who had less education and experience (not to mention drive or intelligence) than me were promoted several times while my boss continued to tell me up and down that I had reached my ceiling at RIM due to my lack of education (two degrees!) and experience (5 years!)–as an administrative assistant. Rather than attempt to fight this system I figured I could transfer departments, only the company policy requires the supervisor to act as a liaison and reference for internal applicants. The insanely high turnover rate meant the department head wouldn’t let anyone go, in addition to refusing to promote from within (pets excepted). People were pitted against each other and an incredibly tense and hostile work environment was fostered. People around the office started referring to the office politics as “Survivor: RIM edition.” And we all remember the great movement to make recycling physically impossible across the entire company because one person let some confidential information slip.

    Then, as I was saving up to return to school and make a better life for myself, I received a series of nasty emails from HR letting me know that since my boss had failed to log my vacation time a year earlier on SAP (despite my insistence on her doing it at three different times), I would have two full paycheques deducted to “pay back” the company for what was being portrayed as my mistake. I never received an apology and almost had to drop out of school due to the loss of a full month’s pay. On my last day my boss deliberately avoided me at all cost. The best part is that I recently heard that my boss just got promoted to the VP of the business affairs department.

    I write this not to rant about my discouraging situation (it was a few years ago), but rather to relate that my experiences seem (even now as I maintain contact with many work friends) to be the rule rather than the exception across the company. Individuals who have fresh ways of thinking and who try to do things in new ways are not only reprimanded, but demoted (did I not mention I was also demoted at one point for asking too many questions?). Passive-aggression fills the halls where collegial interaction should thrive. The amount of red tape required to get just about anything done is exhausting, slowing progress and removing all incentive for employees at any level to innovate. Success cannot be borne of a 2005 status quo when the world looks a lot different now than it did even 12 months ago.

    Despite what I endured at the company, I continue to support RIM as I love its products and sincerely wish it the best. Perhaps if it can take the recommendations from the employee’s open letter to heart, change will be ignited sooner rather than later, and employees and consumers alike will gain as RIM refines its most crucial relationships.
    Last edited by andyahs; 07-01-11 at 08:48 AM.
    07-01-11 08:31 AM
  3. andyahs's Avatar
    LETTER 2

    Inside RIM there is a small-ish (maybe 200-300) group of employees who’s only focus is keeping the BlackBerry services (Email, Browsing, BBM, the network, etc) running for our customers. We’re a 24/7/365 organization, maintaining 10′s of thousands of servers, network devices, services and basically anything that keeps devices working with our service. Keeping this massive service running smoothly, and keeping visible downtime to a minimum is a monumental task, made worse by the poor management decisions we deal with every day.

    If I could have time with Mike and Jim to talk about the problems I see, I would happily reinforce what your executive said, and add a few things:

    1) No longer “In Motion” — the operations teams are full of extremely skilled and talented individuals who are excessively good at what they do — they were hired for that reason. We have pulled in resources from many of the best companies, from literally around the world. Many come with years of experience in the industry, and a lot of ‘been there, done that’ knowledge that is invaluable. However, each one of us has been handcuffed by overdone, poorly planned and every more poorly executed process. It can take weeks of time to make small changes, and months to make major ones. Whenever something goes wrong (incident, problems, even non-customer impacting) a lengthy and involved process of finger pointing starts, and without fail, a new process is born. And, sadly, since the announcement came out about the financial problems and layoffs, it’s become worse. Many of the managers are saying we need to rely more heavily now than ever on process. To those of us who need to deal with this process, which consumes days of work generating documents that no one will read, it’s an obvious case of CYA on the managers part. If they say ‘but we followed the process!’, they seem to hope their heads won’t be on the line. We are no longer a company that is innovative and energetic, we are drowning in paperwork. RIM needs to capitalize on the resources they have – hundreds of very smart, dedicated and driven individuals that can solve problems without needing a flowchart or document. We need to get out of this process paralysis, and back “In Motion”.

    2) AT&T – Internally, there’s a large joke that we should be called “RIM-T&T”. A *lot* of our senior leadership has come from there, and they come in with ideas from an old, stodgy, process driven industry. Having worked in a telecom like position in the past, I know how much paperwork and process they love – AT&T (and Bell, and other carriers) are dealing with a century of regulation, knowledge and process. Maybe they have some great best practices, but you don’t see ‘new and innovative’ happening a lot at AT&T. It also opens up a lot of questions about business directions when many senior leaders came from one of our carrier partners. RIM is not AT&T. RIM is not Microsoft. RIM is not Google. RIM is not Palm. RIM is RIM, and needs a RIM created focus, RIM ideas, and RIM leadership.

    3) Poor leadership – My small team of people has over 80 projects assigned to us right now. Why? Because leaders are afraid to say no. And we’re not the only ones – if you polled the various teams around operations, you’d probably find each and every team/individual has a list that is completely unattainable. But, no one is putting a foot down to say ‘ok, enough’. No one wants to upset someone above them by saying ‘no, we don’t have the time’ or ‘no, that’s not valuable’ or ‘no, you clearly don’t understand what it is we do around here’. Instead, there is (again) a lot of CYA and placating going on. Add to this a lot of process, and you have a workforce that is unable to deliver things quickly, properly, or with any degree of pride in their work.

    4) Morale – Being swamped by process, led by poor leaders, and buried in too many projects understandably leaves all of us feeling hopeless. When there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel, but you are still expected to work 12 hours a day (and only paid for 8), it becomes difficult to stay focused on what needs to happen to make things better. Then, throw in notice of layoffs without any discussion internally, defer promised raises, and cut out expenses that may have been used to bolster morale (staff social events, travel, professional conference attendance), and you have a large workforce of people who are disillusioned about their future. And we’re supposed to be working *harder* to make the company strong right now.

    5) Guts – As the other writer said, there are far too many people sitting back and letting others do their work, and nothing happens to them. Everyone knows who these under performers are, but no one does anything about it. Having spoken very directly about this matter with a number of managers, the common thread is that it’s more work to try and get rid of them than to simply put up with them. A combination of laziness and poor OD processes is causing RIM to rot from the inside. We are actually happy to see layoffs here (assuming they don’t target us), because we’re hoping the right people are pulled out and that will open room for us to work properly, or even replace them with someone skilled and who wants to work hard.

    6) Products – if you walk around and talk to RIM employees (in operations, I’m sure the development teams are better) about the products we make, you’ll find most of us a) don’t know anything about our new products, b) don’t like our current products and c) pine for the old products. There is so much secrecy in the company, no one knows anything about new things until we see it on the news. That means we’re not able to tell our friends and family anything about new things, and that reflects badly on RIM. The current products are slow and underpowered. It’s generally acknowledged that our devices are inferior to other devices, and indeed, many people have personal devices from our competitors. Our old devices, when we were leading, are snappy, nice to use and highly functional. We need to get back to that. Bells and whistles are nice, but when reading email on the device is difficult, I don’t care if I can play pod casts. Internally, the feedback we can provide is ignored or filed as a ‘bug’ and then ignored. RIM has a big set of internal testers, but ignores their feedback to their own detriment.

    7) Sales channels – I heard someone telling this story around the office. Their sister went in to a local carrier store to buy a new BlackBerry, replacing an Android phone they didn’t like. They walked in with $400 in hand and wanted a BB, and walked out with an iPhone. When the sister asked the carrier sales rep for a BlackBerry, they talked her *out* of a BB by telling her how bad they are, then offered her an iPhone for $39. How could the sister resist, after having the BB trashed (slow, useless, hard to use), and then a price like that for a competing product dangled in front of her? When our only avenue to selling our devices is through a ‘neutral’ 3rd party, and is just as happy to sell someone a competitors product as ours, we are at their mercy.

    8) Marketing – my friends love to poke me and make fun of our ads. Sure, BlackBerry seems to be sponsoring a lot of concerts and baseball games, but looking at my circle of friends and family, no one cares about that. Our marketing is boring, our ads are plain, and completely uninteresting. The whole campaign around the Playbook seems to be “IT DOES FLASH! LOOK!” .. but honestly, my mother doesn’t know or care about that. She wants to know ‘can I play Angry Birds?”.

    If I could only tell Mike, Jim and the rest of the C*O crowd one thing, it would be this: stop keeping the incredible pool of smart, talented and capable people handcuffed by poorly thought through process. It’s destroying the company, and destroying those of us that have to manage it. Being able to move quickly and innovate is what will save the company, and that goes completely opposite all our process.
    07-01-11 08:32 AM
  4. rroyy's Avatar
    Could you help me please! I'm sure this caused by my low English capabilities:

    first letter released yesterday, and JSG announced these 2letters yesterday and Today 2nd letter has "As the other writer said,"

    O_o??
    07-01-11 08:45 AM
  5. andyahs's Avatar
    Could you help me please! I'm sure this caused by my low English capabilities:

    first letter released yesterday, and JSG announced these 2letters yesterday and Today 2nd letter has "As the other writer said,"

    O_o??
    I saw that too........
    07-01-11 08:46 AM
  6. rroyy's Avatar
    I saw that too........
    So It's not my English right? LOL
    07-01-11 08:51 AM
  7. grover5's Avatar
    At least the second letter has more detail. The first letter is weird. If you have 2 degrees why would you put up with a job that bad for 4 years and then require a 3rd degree to get any other job. I still have no idea if these are written by actual employees but I think the second letter provided more information. These are issues already admitted by Jim and Mike though. Hopefully they maximize their talent and streamline their system. Time will tell. In the meantime...I would like a 9900 ASAP.
    big_time2 and Jake Storm like this.
    07-01-11 08:55 AM
  8. andyahs's Avatar
    At least the second letter has more detail. The first letter is weird. If you have 2 degrees why would you put up with a job that bad for 4 years and then require a 3rd degree to get any other job. I still have no idea if these are written by actual employees but I think the second letter provided more information. These are issues already admitted by Jim and Mike though. Hopefully they maximize their talent and streamline their system. Time will tell. In the meantime...I would like a 9900 ASAP.
    Ain't that the truth. Sort out your internal problems but give us new phones.
    07-01-11 08:58 AM
  9. allengeorge's Avatar
    These letters have more specifics. I doubt RIM will respond today: it's Canada Day, and everyone is going to be out-of-office.

    If this is true, I doubt things will change. For that to happen the right attitude has to be set at the top and driven down aggressively and relentlessly to all levels. With both CEOs taking on even more roles within the company, these internal issues will simply be ignored. Moreover, these are the same CEOs who've let this culture take root in the company, so I'm skeptical that they'll see it as a problem or want to change it. I wonder if they've even read the letters!
    07-01-11 09:00 AM
  10. Pete6#WP's Avatar
    It really does not matter if only one sigle one of these letters is genuine and the rest are fakes.

    The tone of these letters is pretty much the same. They all point out that there is a huge pool of talent within RIM that is being poorly led and directed.

    There apears to be a lack of accountability and far too many projects shooting off in numerous directions.

    We all know that RIM's marketing is very, very weak.

    This all points to poor and complacent leadership at the top. The cure is not simple. I have worked for a large company (130K employees worldwide) that was beset by the same type of problems and they went under.

    Quite frankly, for the first time, I now believe that RIM is in serious trouble as a company.
    07-01-11 09:11 AM
  11. ekafara's Avatar
    I think people are going to come out the woodwork. There is going to be a ridiculous amount of insider info leaked that they don't want out there. They need to do something, and quick if they don't want it to get out of control too fast.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    07-01-11 09:18 AM
  12. JUSTQUAN2's Avatar
    If that is true in the 2nd letter about hiring majority of the rim team from att.... Everyone is screwed here. They don't innovate with anything. Don't say iPhone cause that was a gamble and I'm sure the att employee who brought it to the table is gone by now because he probably asked for a raise or a thank you lol!
    big_time2 likes this.
    07-01-11 09:21 AM
  13. Rello's Avatar
    i feel like neither of them letters were nearly as good/interesting as the one yesterday.

    second one was definitely better than the first though as he she was just complaining about things that go on at many companies.

    Either way im happy this is getting attention from the media. This forces RIM to take notice and hopefully make changes that will have us end users seeing better products in a more timely manner
    07-01-11 09:33 AM
  14. CGI's Avatar
    I don't know if they are real or not... but it seems like they are. There is enough in there to give credibility to inside knowledge of RIM.

    Not to mention, it all jives with what we see as consumers.

    Sometimes you have to tear something apart to fix it. So, as a fan of their products, I'm glad this is happening. The top leadership must do something.
    07-01-11 09:49 AM
  15. kb5zht's Avatar
    I don't know if they are real or not... but it seems like they are. There is enough in there to give credibility to inside knowledge of RIM.

    Not to mention, it all jives with what we see as consumers.

    Sometimes you have to tear something apart to fix it. So, as a fan of their products, I'm glad this is happening. The top leadership must do something.
    Again i say top leadership isnt doing anything and thats the problem.
    They didnt do anything when rim started getting passed up, they didnt do anything when their stock prices tumbled and revenue declined, they have made announcements about what they know they have to do and havent done it and we still hear the "d" word... Delay delay delay.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    07-01-11 09:57 AM
  16. Rainforrest's Avatar
    If that is true in the 2nd letter about hiring majority of the rim team from att.... Everyone is screwed here. They don't innovate with anything. Don't say iPhone cause that was a gamble and I'm sure the att employee who brought it to the table is gone by now because he probably asked for a raise or a thank you lol!

    Why are you putting down At&t? It's the only carrier that gives consumers a variety mobile OSes to choose from. Sprint and Verizon are basically Android pimps...
    07-01-11 09:59 AM
  17. Frank2029's Avatar

    7) Sales channels I heard someone telling this story around the office. Their sister went in to a local carrier store to buy a new BlackBerry, replacing an Android phone they didnt like. They walked in with $400 in hand and wanted a BB, and walked out with an iPhone. When the sister asked the carrier sales rep for a BlackBerry, they talked her *out* of a BB by telling her how bad they are, then offered her an iPhone for $39. How could the sister resist, after having the BB trashed (slow, useless, hard to use), and then a price like that for a competing product dangled in front of her? When our only avenue to selling our devices is through a neutral 3rd party, and is just as happy to sell someone a competitors product as ours, we are at their mercy.

    This is the 4th or 5th time i heard something like this. Im wondering if Apple is encouraging carriers with higher commission to bad mouth other smartphones.?
    07-01-11 10:37 AM
  18. _StephenBB81's Avatar
    I actually believe the 2 new letters more than the first, as the first had far more journalistic flare, and was very much full of stuff most blog readers already believe.

    The first letter was an upset office admin, 2 degrees? maybe 2 diploma's/certificates. I really don't think it gives any real value.

    the Second letter was well written, and has a few points about how RIM is using "old world" management, and doing things very Canadian in they make policy after policy after procedure.

    I don't really think BGR was a good avenue to launch these letters, but even if they are fake, it will generate a lot of negative publicity, AND hopefully will make RIM look internally at how they do business, and IF they are in fact fostering an open and innovative communication climate.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    07-01-11 10:52 AM
  19. _StephenBB81's Avatar
    This is the 4th or 5th time i heard something like this. Im wondering if Apple is encouraging carriers with higher commission to bad mouth other smartphones.?
    I don't think that would be the case,

    What you have is Apple products have far more passionate fans, that look trendy, and looking trendy is part of being in sales, you rarely have the uber geek as a good sales person, and the uber geek is more likely an Android fan, a Business person who lives on their blackberry again, is probably NOT in direct to consumer sales in the store front, so you are far more likely to have a disproportionate apple fan base as sales representatives in carrier stores. in addition the marketing on TV, and the sales tool provided at the floor level makes an Apple product an easier sell,
    It is easy to Bad mouth other products when you are not liable.
    07-01-11 10:56 AM
  20. rollingrock1988's Avatar
    RIM needs to take some fooking action. Take. Action.
    07-01-11 11:01 AM
  21. big_time2's Avatar
    Yesterday's letter seemed like a letter from someone working from RIM.

    Now, today's letters may or may not be, the second one probably is, but the first one could have been written by an administrative assistant from any large corporation. I work for a fairly large company and I can find six admins that will say pretty much the same thing.

    When the second of today's letters mentions that whole AT&T issue, I can see how that is true. I have worked for (reported to directly) two former AT&T managers and, well, I no longer work for them. I can definitely agree with that point.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    07-01-11 11:28 AM
  22. katiepea's Avatar
    my brother worked at RIM for 2 years while he was in college, several of his friends worked there also, he came home for christmas one year, i'm thinking it was 2009 and we discussed his job. he had brought 2 friends with him that also both worked at RIM. his side of the story is strikingly similar, in fact, they pretty much hated working there, they liked that it was a tech job, and it payed their bills ok, but it was only a job to them.

    these letters, real or fake, almost sound identical to the conversations we had about what goes on inside of RIM. he said there were a few bosses that he liked, but generally, any level of creativity or though collaboration were discouraged with the threat of 'do what your supposed to do, don't try to be the hero, you aren't as smart as us, and if you make waves you're gone'

    i was really at the time blown away, they all described the office as non friendly and often hostile at times. i was at that time still using blackberry and they were still in rather good standing. i really had a hard time believing it at the time. i sort of summed it up in my head that he was just young. but later i started thinking about the way companies like google, facebook, and microsoft treat their employees, with catered lunches, private innovation time everyday on company hours, babysitting, vacation, benefits, and the contrast between the way RIM was doing things and other emerging/successful companies became stark.

    who knows whether or not the letters are real, if i had to place a bet on their validity i'd say they are in fact completely real because i've heard these views from inside the company before. and in fact the company being run in this way greatly gives insight to exactly why everything that's happening to RIM is happening.

    their problems aren't their employees, it's management. management is supposed to breed a culture of creativity and development, RIM not only seems to do the opposite inside the company, but outside as well. if you've sat around wondering why things take so long, software is awful, press is bad, well these letters seem to offer up a very insightful explanation.

    i don't think if these weren't real scenarios in their offices that you'd see the behavior from RIM bragging about their finances, delaying products, etc. you'd see a thriving culture of new things and not a company trying to grab a limb before they hit the ground.
    07-01-11 06:56 PM
  23. katiepea's Avatar
    Why are you putting down At&t? It's the only carrier that gives consumers a variety mobile OSes to choose from. Sprint and Verizon are basically Android pimps...
    at&t has the lowest customer satisfaction numbers below tmobile, verizon, and sprint, AND EVEN CRICKET AND METRO PCS. it's not exactly a radical view to see at&t in a negative light. tmobile offers the most variety of phones and os's and you didn't even mention them, not to mention besides variety, their network is faster.

    if you don't believe what i've said feel free to look up the nielson numbers.
    07-01-11 07:02 PM
  24. T
    LETTER 2

    Inside RIM there is a small-ish (maybe 200-300) group of employees whos only focus is keeping the BlackBerry services (Email, Browsing, BBM, the network, etc) running for our customers. Were a 24/7/365 organization, maintaining 10′s of thousands of servers, network devices, services and basically anything that keeps devices working with our service. Keeping this massive service running smoothly, and keeping visible downtime to a minimum is a monumental task ...
    And look at all the babies on this site crying about paying for BIS. "But it costs thirty bucks!!!" Don't think anything's "free" with Google. You're paying one way or another.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    07-01-11 07:31 PM
  25. T
    It really does not matter if only one sigle one of these letters is genuine and the rest are fakes.

    The tone of these letters is pretty much the same. They all point out that there is a huge pool of talent within RIM that is being poorly led and directed.

    There apears to be a lack of accountability and far too many projects shooting off in numerous directions.

    We all know that RIM's marketing is very, very weak.

    This all points to poor and complacent leadership at the top. The cure is not simple. I have worked for a large company (130K employees worldwide) that was beset by the same type of problems and they went under.

    Quite frankly, for the first time, I now believe that RIM is in serious trouble as a company.
    It doesn't matter if the letters are fake??? So it's okay if you base the rest of your statements on fiction?

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    07-01-11 07:38 PM
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