07-04-11 05:16 PM
195 123 ...
tools
  1. shlee's Avatar
    BGR - Open letter to BlackBerry bosses: Senior RIM exec tells all as company crumbles around him

    To the RIM Senior Management Team:

    I have lost confidence.

    While I hide it at work, my passion has been sapped. I know I am not alone the sentiment is widespread and it includes people within your own teams.

    Mike and Jim, please take the time to really absorb and digest the content of this letter because it reflects the feeling across a huge percentage of your employee base. You have many smart employees, many that have great ideas for the future, but unfortunately the culture at RIM does not allow us to speak openly without having to worry about the career-limiting effects.

    Before I get into the meat of the matter, I will say I am not part of a large group of bitter employees wishing to embarrass us. Rather, I believe these points need to be heard and I desperately want RIM to regain its position as a successful industry leader. Our carriers, distributors, alliance partners, enterprise customers, and our loyal end users all want the same thing for BlackBerry to once again be leading the pack.

    We are in the middle of major transition and things have never been more chaotic. Almost every project is falling further and further behind schedule at a time when we absolutely must deliver great, solid products on time. We urge you to make bold decisions about our organisational structure, about our culture and most importantly our products.

    While we anxiously wait to see the details of the streamlining plan, here are some suggestions:

    1) Focus on the End User experience

    Lets obsess about what is best for the end user. We often make product decisions based on strategic alignment, partner requests or even legal advice the end user doesnt care. We simply have to admit that Apple is nailing this and it is one of the reasons they have people lining up overnight at stores around the world, and products sold out for months. These people arent hypnotized zombies, they simply love beautifully designed products that are user centric and work how they are supposed to work. Android has a major weakness it will always lack the simplicity and elegance that comes with end-to-end device software, middleware and hardware control. We really have a great opportunity to build something new and uniquely BlackBerry with the QNX platform.

    Lets start an internal innovation revival with teams focused on what users will love instead of chasing feature parity and feature differentiation for no good reason (Adobe Flash being a major example). When was the last time we pushed out a significant new experience or feature that wasnt already on other platforms?

    Rather than constantly mocking iPhone and Android, we should encourage key decision makers across the board to use these products as their primary device for a week or so at a time yes, on Exchange! This way we can understand why our users are switching and get inspiration as to how we can build our next-gen products even better! Its incomprehensible that our top software engineers and executives arent using or deeply familiar with our competitors products.

    2) Recruit Senior SW Leaders & enable decision-making

    Im going to say what everyone is thinking We need some heavy hitters at RIM when it comes to software management. Teams still arent talking together properly, no one is making or can make critical decisions, all the while everyone is working crazy hours and still far behind. We are demotivated. Just look at who our major competitors are: Apple, Google & Microsoft. These are three of the biggest and most talented software companies on the planet. Then take a look at our software leadership teams in terms of what they have delivered and their past experience prior to RIM It says everything.

    3) Cut projects to the bone.

    There is a serious need to consolidate our focus to just a handful of projects. Period.

    We need to be disciplined here. We cant afford any more initiatives based on carrier requests to squeeze out slightly more volume. Again, back to point #1, focus on the end users. They are the ones making both consumer & enterprise purchase decisions.

    Strategy is often in the things you decide not to do.

    On that note, we simply must stop shipping incomplete products that arent ready for the end user. It is hurting our brand tremendously. It takes guts to not allow a product to launch that may be 90% ready with a quarter end in sight, but it will pay off in the long term.

    Look at Apple in 1997 for tips here. I really want you to watch this video because it has never been more relevant. It is our friend Steve Jobs in 97 and it may as well be you speaking to RIM employees and partners today.

    4) Developers, not Carriers can now make or break us

    We urgently need to invest like we never have before in becoming developer friendly. The return will be worth every cent. There is no polite way to say this, but its true BlackBerry smartphone apps suck. Even PlayBook, with all its glorious power, looks like a Fisher Price toy with its Adobe AIR/Flash apps.

    Developing for BlackBerry is painful, and despite what youve been told, things havent really changed that much since Jamie Murais letter. Our SDK / development platform is like a rundown 1990′s Ford Explorer. Then theres Apple, which has a shiny new BMW M3 just such a pleasure to drive. Developers want and need quality tools.

    If we create great tools, we will see great work. Offer **** tools and we shouldnt be surprised when we see **** apps.

    The truth is, no one in RIM dares to tell management how bad our tools still are. Even our closest dev partners do their best to say it politely, but they will never bite the hand that feeds them. The solution? Recruit serious talent, buy SDK/API specialist companies, throw a truckload of money at it Lets do whatever it takes, and quickly!

    5) Need for serious marketing punch to create end user desire

    25 million iPad users dont care that it doesnt have Flash or true multitasking, so why make that a focus in our campaigns? Ill answer that for you: its because thats all that differentiates our products and its lazy marketing. Ive never seen someone buy product B because it has something product A doesnt have. People buy product B because they want and lust after product B.

    Also an important note regarding our marketing: a products technical superiority does not equal desire, and therefore sales How many Linux laptops are getting sold? How did Betamax go? My mother wants an iPad and iPhone because it is simple and appeals to her. Powerful multitasking doesnt.

    BlackBerry Messenger has been our standout, yet we wasted our marketing on strange stories from a barber shop to a horse wrangler. I promise you, this did nothing to help us in the mind of the average consumer.

    We need an inventive and engaging campaign that focuses on what we are about. People buy into a brand / product not just because of features, but because of what it stands for and what it delivers to them. People dont buy what you do, people buy why you do it. Take 3 minutes to watch the this video starting from the 2min mark:

    6) No Accountability Canadians are too nice

    RIM has a lot of people who underperform but still stay in their roles. No one is accountable. Where is the guy responsible for the 9530 software? Still with us, still running some important software initiative. We will never achieve excellence with this culture. Just because someone may have been a loyal RIM employee for 7 years, it doesnt mean they are the best Manager / Director / VP for that role. Its time to change the culture to deliver or move on and get out. We have far too many people in critical roles that fit this description. I can hear the cheers of my fellow employees now.

    7) The press and analysts are pissing you off. Dont snap. Now is the time for humility with a dash of paranoia.

    The publics questions about dual-CEOs are warranted. The partnership is not broken, but on the ground level, it is not efficient. Maybe we need our Eric Schmidt reign period.

    Yes, four years ago we beat Microsoft when everyone said Windows Mobile with Direct Push in Exchange would kill us. It didnt in fact we grew stronger.

    However, overconfidence clouds good decision-making. We missed not boldly reacting to the threat of iPhone when we saw it in January over four years ago. We laughed and said they are trying to put a computer on a phone, that it wont work. We should have made the QNX-like transition then. We are now 3-4 years too late. That is the painful truth it was a major strategic oversight and we know who is responsible.

    Jim, in referring to our current transition recently said: No other technology company other than Apple has successfully transitioned their platform. Its almost never done, and its way harder than you realize. This transition is where tech companies go to die.

    To avoid this death, perhaps it is time to seriously consider a new, fresh thinking, experienced CEO. There is no shame in no longer being a CEO. Mike, you could focus on innovation. Jim, you could focus on our carriers/customers They are our lifeblood.

    8) Democratise. Engage and interact with your employees please!

    Reach out to all employees asking them on how we can make RIM better. Encourage input from ground-level teamswithout repercussionsto seek out honest feedback and really absorb it.

    Lastly, were all reading the news and many are extremely nervous, especially when we see people get fired. We need an injection of confidence: share your strategy and ask us for support. The headhunters have already started circling and we are at risk of losing our best people.

    Now would be a great time to internally re-brand and re-energize the workplace. For example, rename the company to just BlackBerry to signify our new focus on one QNX product line. We should also address issues surrounding making RIM an enjoyable workplace. Some of our offices feel like Soviet-era government workplaces.

    The timing is perfect to seriously evaluate at our position and make these major changes. We can do it!

    Sincerely,

    A RIM Employee
    06-30-11 09:58 AM
  2. boldman4's Avatar
    Hmm. . . I'm fairly certain I know who wrote this letter, and if I'm right, RIM is in bigger trouble than what the worst RIM pessimists are expecting.
    06-30-11 10:01 AM
  3. mahen915's Avatar
    This letter was very insightful. And my jaw dropped watching the youtube video linked. RIM is that same exact position and it is NOT too late to turn things around if they take the suggestions from that letter.

    I really, REALLY hope they're listening.
    06-30-11 10:13 AM
  4. rollingrock1988's Avatar
    Wow..... This isn't going to help the shareholders' view on the change in leadership.
    06-30-11 10:25 AM
  5. sleepngbear's Avatar
    This is certainly an interesting perspective, and it all makes very good sense. Curiously, I've observed the very same sentiments at almost every company I've worked for, although it would seem that it's pretty on-point here considering the current state of things. The first key line is "I desperately want RIM to regain its position as a successful industry leader." If management continues to refuse to acknowledge that RIM is no longer a leader, they probably won't read past the first paragraph. But I do hope they're paying attention.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    06-30-11 10:27 AM
  6. Detective M Downs's Avatar
    I like minute 7:36 of youtube link!
    06-30-11 10:30 AM
  7. _StephenBB81's Avatar
    WOW! that was a very great letter!

    I hope that it gets reposted to some quality Blogs, and doesn't just live and die on BGR.


    I very much like the last point about getting the employee's involved and engaged, make them excited to go to work! if they feel their voices matter, they will speak up
    06-30-11 10:32 AM
  8. DenverRalphy's Avatar
    Here is a part that caught my eye, because it brings up what I've long suspected to be a real issue with RIM.

    6) No Accountability

    RIM has a lot of people who underperform but still stay in their roles. No one is accountable. Where is the guy responsible for the 9530 software? Still with us, still running some important software initiative. We will never achieve excellence with this culture. Just because someone may have been a loyal RIM employee for 7 years, it doesn’t mean they are the best Manager / Director / VP for that role. It’s time to change the culture to deliver or move on and get out. We have far too many people in critical roles that fit this description. I can hear the cheers of my fellow employees now.
    Fix that, and a number of other points in the letter would fall into place and more easily resolved.

    I don't know if this is actually a valid letter written by an actual employee. But it brings up a number of seemingly valid points.
    06-30-11 10:35 AM
  9. big_time2's Avatar
    WOW! that was a very great letter!

    I hope that it gets reposted to some quality Blogs, and doesn't just live and die on BGR.


    I very much like the last point about getting the employee's involved and engaged, make them excited to go to work! if they feel their voices matter, they will speak up
    Lets post this everywhere, tweet it, post it on your Facebook, buzz, Google+, Digg, Reddit, stumble upon. If enough people see it I'm sure changes will start happening.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    shlee likes this.
    06-30-11 10:56 AM
  10. big_time2's Avatar
    And the guy who was in charge of storm software is still there?

    What in the ******* rim? How is anyone who was responsible for that still working there?

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    Last edited by Crucial_Xtreme; 06-30-11 at 11:03 AM. Reason: Language
    06-30-11 10:59 AM
  11. nomoredroid's Avatar
    it totally outlines the FAT CAT CEO corporate greed scenario. The bottom line is they are out of touch, don't care about the user and only worry about THEIR fortune. It's very typical.

    They will fire this guy and move on the same way they have. If RIM ends up failing, the CEO's will have millions and millions and move on to destroy another company or just sit on their yatchs laughing about how they raked it in all these years.
    06-30-11 10:59 AM
  12. Shao128's Avatar
    Glad to see someone on the inside took the time to do this, it shows there are still people there that care about the company. It also confirms much of the speculation a lot of people have been hearing. Hopefully the right people at RIM take notice.
    06-30-11 11:00 AM
  13. Deathcommand's Avatar
    Hmm. . . I'm fairly certain I know who wrote this letter, and if I'm right, RIM is in bigger trouble than what the worst RIM pessimists are expecting.
    Don't say who, But Why would this be more trouble?
    06-30-11 11:02 AM
  14. nomoredroid's Avatar
    RIM can easily "re-invent" itself with a QNX phone and some great reviews on the bold touch series. They just have to get the CEOs out of the way
    06-30-11 11:05 AM
  15. rollingrock1988's Avatar
    I bet the CEOs won't even have a response to this letter. It has showed up on Google news so let's hope that it draws enough attention to force them to do so.
    06-30-11 11:07 AM
  16. menaknow's Avatar
    I am really glad someone had the guts to write this letter.

    Hopefully this is the start of what RIM really needs, someone doing a good reflection and showing really where they are.

    Sometime the top level has no idea what is going on below. If the VPs/Directors are painting a pretty picture well then its hard to know what actually is going on.

    RIM has a chance to save themselves, lets hope Jim and Mike actually reads this letter and doesn't just "dismiss it".

    BTW, that 97 Apple YouTube link was really an interesting watch... Highly recommended to be watched...
    06-30-11 11:09 AM
  17. menaknow's Avatar
    I bet the CEOs won't even have a response to this letter. It has showed up on Google news so let's hope that it draws enough attention to force them to do so.
    It's on Financial Post also. It's going to definitely make it to all the major news outlets.
    06-30-11 11:10 AM
  18. DenverRalphy's Avatar
    I bet the CEOs won't even have a response to this letter. It has showed up on Google news so let's hope that it draws enough attention to force them to do so.
    Publicly responding to it would be the worst thing they could do, so they'll never do it. A response would kill investor relations because regardless what they say, it would make them look bad just publicly recognizing it.

    The best you can hope for is they take action to correct the issues, and only time will tell.
    06-30-11 11:14 AM
  19. rollingrock1988's Avatar
    It's on Financial Post also. It's going to definitely make it to all the major news outlets.
    Good. I didn't see that, sorry. But lets keep our fingers crossed that this paves the way for change.
    06-30-11 11:15 AM
  20. ScottsdaleHokie's Avatar
    We simply have to admit that Apple is nailing this and it is one of the reasons they have people lining up overnight at stores around the world, and products sold out for months. These people arent hypnotized zombies, they simply love beautifully designed products that are user centric and work how they are supposed to work. Android has a major weakness it will always lack the simplicity and elegance that comes with end-to-end device software, middleware and hardware control.
    Spot on assessment.
    06-30-11 11:31 AM
  21. dooodads's Avatar
    Spot on assessment.
    That part is undeniably correct.

    You know what the saddest thing about this letter is, and it was touched on in the article on the main page, it's that there are 2 scenarios we have here.

    1) RIM didn't know any of this, which would mean they truly are more oblivious than we ever thought possible.

    2) They know this but don't do anything about it, which once again shows their arrogance and how out of touch with reality they are. It's a slippery slope their on and it's already sliding...

    Ah well what can you do...oh wait that's right, how about do something right. Something they haven't done in years.
    06-30-11 11:35 AM
  22. avt123's Avatar
    Great letter. Get rid of the CEOs now and make some moves. I think by getting rid of the dead weight and the CEOs RIM can make a major rebound.
    rollingrock1988 likes this.
    06-30-11 11:58 AM
  23. vistate1's Avatar
    True or not. I doubt it was written by an employee of rim. X employee or John Gellar him self.

    I have to say, open letters like this SHOULD be signed by the author. The fact that the guy or girl signs it as "Rim employee" shows that he is part of the culture of "afraid".

    This guy should be the trend setter and place his name on the bottom. So what - you can't get fired for this. You did nothing wrong. Anyways. Some good points.

    Lol @ the storm engineers still being employed
    06-30-11 12:36 PM
  24. katiepea's Avatar
    i take a lot of heat for saying very similar things in my posts. it isn't to troll, this mentality even exists amongst it's customers. even though i've switched to android i still want RIM to thrive, it only benefits everyone. RIM failing does no one any good except google/apple's wallets, and those companies are just fine. despite the economic impact of RIM failing competition is the best thing you can have in this industry. that said, it's time everyone start cracking the whip, RIM cannot afford to keep failing, it's lazy for consumers and enthusiasts to sit around and boast about how RIM is "just fine" and "they've got $3,000,000,000 in the bank. folks, that won't last long, they won't flop around until it's gone, if they don't get QNX out on phones with success they'll be for sale in a hot minute. i don't say negative things for no reason, things need to change from every aspect. and customers turning on them is the best thing that can happen to them, look where they are, do you think QNX would even have been acquired if people didn't start bailing? demand better from your brand, there's nothing wrong with loving blackberry and still saying ...

    to me the most sad part of this letter is the timing, in a period where RIM absolutely is make or break, someone in the upper ranks doesn't think things are moving properly, and must be really really bad for this letter to have been released.

    with this situation it truly is dire, they have to work flawlessly and promptly, that latest nielson graphs:

    http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/...one-purchases/
    6% of smartphone purchases are blackberry... 6%! abysmal
    Last edited by katiepea; 06-30-11 at 01:32 PM.
    Hankster and HD123 like this.
    06-30-11 01:18 PM
  25. lnichols's Avatar
    Great letter. Get rid of the CEOs now and make some moves. I think by getting rid of the dead weight and the CEOs RIM can make a major rebound.
    Totally agree. They have all of the pieces of the puzzle to be the best (QNX, TAT, other software company purchases), but apparently a management chain/culture (including Mike and Jim) that couldn't put together a pre-school puzzle if you spotted them all the pieces but the last. I don't fully trust this letter because BGR and Geller are Steve Jobs' sperm dumpster, but the content seems to fall in with some other things we have been hearing come out. If this is indeed genuine, then it's not good.
    06-30-11 01:28 PM
195 123 ...
LINK TO POST COPIED TO CLIPBOARD