1. hoopitz's Avatar
    Hey guys - I just received my copy of the book and just wanted to start a thread for anyone else who is planning to read it and wants to discuss it. I'm looking forward to Bla1ze's review, from a factual standpoint, but also wouldn't mind hearing/discussing the views of the average CrackBerry user who knows more than most about BlackBerry, but not every single behind-the-scenes piece of info.

    On kind of a tangent, on the very first page of the prologue, they say "Nearly 1 billion people - a third of the world's population - ...". Aren't there 7 billion people in the world? Am i misunderstanding this?
    05-29-15 03:11 PM
  2. AnimalPak200's Avatar
    How could there be any spoilers for what is essentially supposed to recount past events?

    Don't skip to the end of the WWII section of your text book kids, don't want to spoil the ending!

    Posted via CB10
    BCITMike likes this.
    05-29-15 03:19 PM
  3. hoopitz's Avatar
    How could there be any spoilers for what is essentially supposed to recount past events?

    Don't skip to the end of the WWII section of your text book kids, don't want to spoil the ending!

    Posted via CB10
    Some people who are reading the book might not be very familiar with all of the happenings, regardless of when they took place. Perhaps, unlike WWII, the story of BlackBerry isn't as monumental, so people may be learning about the stories for the first time.
    techvisor and maddie1128 like this.
    05-29-15 03:28 PM
  4. anon(9353145)'s Avatar
    On kind of a tangent, on the very first page of the prologue, they say "Nearly 1 billion people - a third of the world's population - ...". Aren't there 7 billion people in the world? Am i misunderstanding this?
    Well that doesn't fill me with confidence, lol. I wouldn't call that tangential either. That's a pretty bad mistake if that's an exact quote and they're talking present day. Or heck anytime after the fifties.

    Posted via CB10
    05-29-15 03:29 PM
  5. hoopitz's Avatar
    Well that doesn't fill me with confidence, lol. I wouldn't call that tangential either. That's a pretty bad mistake if that's an exact quote and they're talking present day. Or heck anytime after the fifties.

    Posted via CB10
    Yeah, that's how i kind of felt haha. I keep re-reading it, thinking i'm missing something. That's a direct quote though...
    anon(9353145) likes this.
    05-29-15 03:33 PM
  6. BCITMike's Avatar
    Hey guys - I just received my copy of the book and just wanted to start a thread for anyone else who is planning to read it and wants to discuss it. I'm looking forward to Bla1ze's review, from a factual standpoint, but also wouldn't mind hearing/discussing the views of the average CrackBerry user who knows more than most about BlackBerry, but not every single behind-the-scenes piece of info.

    On kind of a tangent, on the very first page of the prologue, they say "Nearly 1 billion people - a third of the world's population - ...". Aren't there 7 billion people in the world? Am i misunderstanding this?
    Could they be referring to the population of the world who had cell phone or could, cutting of much of the poorer countries without mobile infrastructure?

    Posted via CB10
    05-29-15 04:26 PM
  7. hoopitz's Avatar
    Could they be referring to the population of the world who had cell phone or could, cutting of much of the poorer countries without mobile infrastructure?

    Posted via CB10
    Maybe? You'd really have to do a good job of filling in your own blanks on that one though. There was also a spelling mistake in the first chapter too - he was wearing khaki "plants" instead of pants. I guess that it would only make sense that a book about BlackBerry was rushed to market with some bugs in it

    Anyways, for those of you who are interested, I had some time to get through the prologue and chapter 1, before i needed to get back to work. The Prologue does a really good job of keeping your interest and making you want to read more. In a sense, it's a flash forward - since chapter one starts with their childhood - of Jim's plane touching down in Dubai, in 2011, to deliver the keynote speech at a premier consumer electronics trade show. BlackBerry has already seen major losses in sales from the competition, and the stock is down over 50% - he's there to reassure the world that BlackBerry isn't going anywhere. Easier said than done. When his plane lands, and he flips on his phone, he can't connect to the BlackBerry network - the NOC is down. For those of you who remember, back in 2011, BlackBerry's servers were down for a few days and i don't think there was a news channel (atleast here in N.A.) that didn't make sure everyone knew. The prologue talks about why the server went down, and paints a good picture of the panic.

    I won't get too much into Chapter 1, but it's essentially an intro to who Jim and Mike were as kids. Both not very wealthy, but taking the necessary steps to achieve their goals. Jim studying to get into Harvard, and Mike using every opportunity he could to learn more about electronics. Jim, originally set to go into finance on Wall Street, gets an offer from a relatively small company based near Waterloo and decides to take it - he could start with an executive title, but more importantly, the job dealt with technology - the future. Mike, who was always an electronics savant learned as much as he could, wherever he could. Amazed with computers and what they could do, he was told by an electronic teacher's husband not to be too seduced with computers - "The person who puts wireless communications and computers together is really going to build something special." That sentiment stuck with him - he and his friend Doug Fregin decided, weeks before their University graduation, that they would drop out of college to start a new business. Their system - Budgie - could hook up to TVs and display custom messages that they would input. They sold it on the idea that businesses could use it as a digital advertising banner which could easily be programmed to flash new messages.They made the news, and on March 7, 1984, Research in Motion, Ltd. was formed.

    More to come...
    05-29-15 07:30 PM
  8. Sulaco757's Avatar
    Started reading it as well and I'm glad there is a forum thread about people actually reading the book rather than just bashing the book because of its title or that it's written by Globe and Mail reporters.

    Into Chapter 1. I agree with Bla1ze's point of view. The book doesn't share much that most old school Crackberrian's didn't know already. So far though the impression I get is that these authors aren't writing a hack job on RIM. They are telling an interesting story with lessons for anyone interested in Tech companies and business. Steve Jobs has 5 books and 3 movies dedicated to his story. How many iPhones have been sold because someone watched the movie on Netflix and was captivated by Apple's story? This is a book dedicated to the story of RIM. About time.

    It tells the story of Mike and Jim. But in doing that it also tells North America that BlackBerry isn't RIM or "Mike and Jim" anymore. Honestly how many Americans even know that they haven't ran the show for years? Its letting Americans know that the Mike and Jim days are in the past. The BlackBerry you may choose for your EMM solution is a totally different product, and the Co-CEO days and mistakes associated are over.

    So in a sense what I'm saying is there's no such thing as bad publicity in the press world. BlackBerry may yet get a few more fans from this book, regardless of the theatrical title. I bet you secretly Chen is thanking these reporters for telling the story. It gives him the chance to shed the old reputation and build a new one.

     Q10 on 10.3.1.2582 
    anon(9353145) likes this.
    05-30-15 12:28 PM
  9. hoopitz's Avatar
    I definitely agree with Sulaco - I think this book will attract a lot of readers to understand the company a little more and hopefully change their negative sentiments.

    So I've been frantically trying to find spare time to read through this thing, and I just finished Chapter 6. I've got to say, I'm struggling to put this book down. I find the writing style, at times, a little awkward, and I keep on discovering spelling and grammatical errors, but the story is very compelling. Instead of going through every chapter, I'll just give a quick overview of where I'm at. Jim bought into to RIM, and at the point I'm at, BlackBerry just came out with the 957 and they are selling product faster than the network can handle. Being such a Crackberrian, I notice that as I'm reading about their success, I'll have a big smile on my face. It's too bad, as AnimalPak joked, that I do know what's coming. I also just found out how the SAF was born It's almost comical to read about how successful they are at this point, without so many fundamentals in place. At one point, they were just giving away airtime that they had prepaid for (with the intent on charging their end user) because they couldn't keep track on who was using it. Their Relay system (early NOC) sometimes ran over a laptop, and once the server went down when someone tripped over the power cord.

    The thing that I appreciate the most, so far, is understanding Jim and Mike's respective mentality about how the company should be run. The early success of BlackBerry was because they took one feature - mobile e-mail - and did it the best. You can almost feel Mike cringing at the thought of adding other features - something that we all know winds up plaguing him in the future. Jim on the other hand, doesn't take sht from anyone. He's so worried about the "big players" trying to take advantage of him, that he's ruthless. He's been screwed before, and he won't let it happen again. They're both who they are, from day one, and it truly helps me understand WAY more why they made, or didn't make, decisions when Apple, and then other competition came around. I'm not saying I agree with those decisions, but it makes way more sense.

    If anyone else is reading it, I'm curios to know what your thoughts are.

    Posted via CB10
    05-31-15 04:54 AM
  10. Sulaco757's Avatar
    Finished through chapter 7 last night. Learning the history about SAF was interesting, and it explains a lot about why BlackBerry is losing out of those fees with the slow death of BBOS. BlackBerry was a small time data carrier, much like MVNOs on the big 4 carriers in the US atleast. So its only normal for them to go through the growing pains the carriers are experiencing.

    Something I never knew about was the BlackBerry Connect program, whereas smartphone makers were encouraged to build devices to run BlackBerry software on. Page 109-112. This sounds familiar to today's Android open source environment and BlackBerry trying to go cross-platform with it's software division. The problem with BlackBerry Connect was it was a pure act of war from Balsillie to stall other manufacturers from developing their own email push service. This explains a lot to why Balsillie was ignored or overridden during the Thor regime about SMS 2.0 or bringing BBM cross-platform. Many perhaps saw the effort as less than genuine and an old play to stall competition. Karma comes around, and Balsillie's cut-throat tactics may have worked on the short term only. BlackBerry Connect made a lot of enemies.

    I can see how Android is using a similar play, making android open source yet closing down true functionality to Google Play services. Try to use google maps without plays services installed. It will become glaringly obvious.

    I only sincerely hope Chen's cross-platform plans are genuine and pull through. Reading how the industry works though explains a lot why the headaches of even bringing BBM cross-platform have plagued us. Android and iOS may act impartial, but the app just hasn't worked well for years. We are still waiting for BBM video and it may likely never come. I saw a lot of correlations to the BlackBerry Connect program. Just this time BlackBerry is on the opposite end of the deal. I can see how much of an uphill battle Chen has fighting the reputation of the last decade.

     Q10 on 10.3.1.2582 
    06-01-15 10:23 AM
  11. hoopitz's Avatar
    Well, for those of you who are interested, if not just Sulaco, I finished the book last night, and i would definitely recommend it. I consider myself a pretty big BlackBerry aficionado, but not on everything that happens behind the scenes, and this book did a great job of filling me in. I really feel like I have a much deeper understanding of the management, the BlackBerry culture (past and present), what truly led to their rise and fall, and what lays ahead for them.

    Most of the later chapters deal with the rift between Jim and Mike, and the effects it had on the company. After the lost lawsuit to NTP, and then being dragged through the mud with the stock options fiasco, Mike lost a lot of faith in Jim. On the other side, Mike's lawyers plead for less of a fine regarding the stock options trouble, claiming he had very limited knowledge and understanding of this, and Jim took this personally - he had always stuck up for Mike's mistakes - why was Mike throwing him under the bus like this? I really wonder if the company would have been in a better place if they had resolved these, and whatever issues they had with each other, and moved forward. As i continued to read though, i'm not so sure that it would have made a difference.

    I knew that the Storm was built just for Verizon, but it was interesting getting a little bit more backstory on this. Mike set ridiculous time-frames to get the phone to market, and when it eventually did, it was riddled with bugs. It's funny thinking back, I remember my brother had one, and i thought it was so novel, but couldn't understand why the thing was soooooo slow! The phone was a bust, but what really put the nail in the Verizon coffin was when Mike refused to build a 4G phone for them - I didn't know this. Mike was still touting his bandwidth argument, but the network didn't care - they wanted 4G and if BlackBerry wasn't going to give it to them, Droid would. I think this is what really did the company in. Verizon shifted nearly all of their marketing to the Droid 4G phone, while AT&T was all over the iPhone. This could have been marketing for BlackBerry, to keep them a strong player in the consumer market. I guess it's hard to say, in hindsight if this would have changed anything, or if consumers would have flocked to other touch screen phones anyways, and if Droid would have been marketed by someone else.

    I really enjoyed reading about Jim's strategy to bring BBM cross platform. I think it was right about the time when all of the CrackBerry community was saying the same thing! He even got Mike on board and carriers were excited about it too. They were going to market it as SMS 2.0 and sell plans for it, since they were losing revenue on traditional SMS plans. Before they could launch this though, they stepped down as CEOs, only to watch Heins scrap the plan altogether. He argued what others did - why would people buy BlackBerry phones if you could get BBM on every other phone? I think Heins was wrong, and I'm sure Jim got a little bit of retribution when WhatsApp sold for $19 billion!!

    The book ends with a really quick overview of Heins and Chen. Obviously, for the book to be released, they had to stop writing at some point and send it to print, so they don't touch on how Chen has managed to turn the company back to being profitable. I didn't really get the feel good, "things are turning around" sentiment that I was hoping for, at the end of the book, but the last line of the Epilogue put a small smile on my face. "If the rise and fall of BlackBerry teaches us anything it is that the race for innovation has no finish line, and that winners and losers can change place in an instant."

    I'm looking forward to BlackBerry continuing to write their story, and becoming a great, albeit different company in the future.
    06-05-15 12:34 PM
  12. Dunt Dunt Dunt's Avatar
    Sounds as if the Board had no real power to keep MIKE and JIM from destroying the company...But I guess they were the ones that also agree to Thor coming on board.
    06-05-15 02:48 PM
  13. THBW's Avatar
    Thanks for taking time to read through the book. I'll be honest in saying I familiar with the writer and I sort of discounted it. In Canada, we have a large cadre of low voltage writers who view snark and cynicism as a sign of intelligence. Sort of sad but whatever.

    Posted via CB10
    06-05-15 08:15 PM
  14. southlander's Avatar
    I have the audio book. I find it very interesting. Everything in it for the most part has been rumored and or discussed in this forum.

    For example the story about how essentially all the original Storm phones got returned by Verizon customers.

    Sounds like things were amazingly stressful at RIM.

    Posted via CB10
    06-06-15 03:58 AM
  15. DenverRalphy's Avatar
    Mike set ridiculous time-frames to get the phone to market, and when it eventually did, it was riddled with bugs.
    I've seen various excerpts about this. Does the book expand much on it? Because there's one point that makes it stand out to me... RIM (especially during the Mike & Jim reign) was notorious for being incredibly slow in getting any of their products to evolve from R&D to the Production Line (compared to other smartphone manufacturers). So I can't help but think that maybe it was more an inability to meet reasonable time frames due to the turtle pace of development. Back then, I was often of the opinion that there could be more whip-cracking going on to increase production.
    06-06-15 09:31 AM
  16. hoopitz's Avatar
    I've seen various excerpts about this. Does the book expand much on it? Because there's one point that makes it stand out to me... RIM (especially during the Mike & Jim reign) was notorious for being incredibly slow in getting any of their products to evolve from R&D to the Production Line (compared to other smartphone manufacturers). So I can't help but think that maybe it was more an inability to meet reasonable time frames due to the turtle pace of development. Back then, I was often of the opinion that there could be more whip-cracking going on to increase production.
    It kind of touches on it throughout the entire book. You get a good sense of the idea that Mike holds all of the engineers to a really high standard and simply expects them to be able to do what he wants quickly. With that idea in mind, it just keeps snowballing as the company keeps growing so fast. It also mentions that communication was so bad that the engineers came up with a rule that they wouldn't start implementing something into development until they heard Mike say it 3 times. When he said something, they were never sure if it was just an idea or if he actually wanted it. I'm sure that slowed things down quite a bit!
    06-06-15 01:14 PM
  17. anon6040766's Avatar
    It's like the Titanic, the boat sinks...the lady lives, the dude doesn't...ends story. No real interest in the book. We lived the story and are still here with a newer redesigned OS and Devices. Perhaps if BlackBerry was gone and I was forced to move on, it might be a book I'd be interested in to get the full story.
    06-07-15 01:31 AM
  18. early2bed's Avatar
    You get a sense of how incredibly different it is for BlackBerry to be run by hardware guys vs the current software guy. All of those things that Lazeridis, Balsillie, and even Heins were experts on and worked with on a daily basis on don't apply to Chen.
    06-07-15 11:39 AM
  19. southlander's Avatar
    It's like the Titanic, the boat sinks...the lady lives, the dude doesn't...ends story. No real interest in the book. We lived the story and are still here with a newer redesigned OS and Devices. Perhaps if BlackBerry was gone and I was forced to move on, it might be a book I'd be interested in to get the full story.
    Actually to me the book gives me new respect for how clever RIM was. When the first BlackBerry's were released. Yeah they blew it later on.

    Example. How they pitched the handsets not to IT but to CEOS and executive types. How they enabled email to be set up without IT assistance etc. How they created push email as a must have killer app to hook the said CEOS/executives. Then how they marketed BES to IT as a way to grab control back.

    How they threw stumbling blocks in Nokias path with the BlackBerry Connect service.

    And how Balsille actually wanted them to adopt a non hardware dependent strategy years ago.

    Funny stuff too. Like Lazaridis lecturing Verizon on how bad an idea 4G was when Verizon wanted to actually hear about new BlackBerry 4G handsets.

    And how fundamentally Lazaridis, as smart as he was, misjudged consumers ' priorities and willingness to put up with service issues and dead batteries for the sake of a full pocket computing experience.

    Posted via CB10
    Last edited by southlander; 06-07-15 at 12:31 PM.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    06-07-15 12:16 PM
  20. hoopitz's Avatar
    Sounds as if the Board had no real power to keep MIKE and JIM from destroying the company...But I guess they were the ones that also agree to Thor coming on board.
    Yeah, they talk a lot about how the board was pretty much useless. Back then, nobody on the board had much of an understanding about what BlackBerry was doing, let alone the technology market as a whole. Jim and Mike liked it that way though - they could run their company however they wanted, with little resistance from anyone. That being said, it's easy to not have any push-back when you're making a ton of money, but once sh!t hits the fan, even people who know nothing still know they don't like losing money!

    Again, this is a very "hindsight is 20/20" statement, but maybe a third, fourth or even fifth perspective on things wouldn't have been so bad. Someone who understood both the technical side of things, but also the shift in the consumer market.

    Posted via CB10
    techvisor and Troy Tiscareno like this.
    06-07-15 11:26 PM
  21. slowsteve's Avatar
    The book inspired me to get my classic this past week n give up my iPhone 6.

    Posted via CB10
    06-07-15 11:48 PM
  22. Cashgap's Avatar
    Great read at the beach this weekend.

    So often during the 2011-13 era, Mike, Jim, or Heins would make some statement. We'd hash all possible explanations as to why the statement didn't reflect the uniform opinion of every other technology source and our own lyin' eyes.

    Only one answer wasn't permitted... RIM was lying.

    And now at least Mike and Jim in their interviews admit that was the real answer every time.
    Last edited by Cashgap; 06-10-15 at 05:11 PM. Reason: clarity
    Sulaco757 and Troy Tiscareno like this.
    06-10-15 02:53 PM
  23. Prem WatsApp's Avatar
    The book inspired me to get my classic this past week n give up my iPhone 6.

    Posted via CB10
    That wasn't a slow change, steve! ;-)

      Pastaporto aglio e olio... Mmmhhh!  
    06-11-15 02:56 AM
  24. early2bed's Avatar
    Regarding network congestion, wasn't there an early BlackBerry smartphone that was released without wifi capability because the carrier wanted the customer to need to use the network all the time?
    06-12-15 09:09 AM

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