There are some great articles coming out now with stories from former and some current BlackBerry employees. The latest is from Bloomberg that supposedly chronicles the “rise and fall of BlackBerry” in an oral history. They really hit hard on how BlackBerry went from an agile cutting edge company to a bureaucratic, carrier loving, customer ignoring mess that current execs have tried to remedy. They do this with quotes from all over the place including my buddy Kevin over @CrackBerry. It gives you some insight into how they totally missed the boat leading up to 2008-2010.
My favorite little tidbit? Check this one out:
One thing we missed out on was that Justin Bieber wanted to rep BlackBerry. He said, “Give me $200,000 and 20 devices, and I’m your brand ambassador,” basically. And we pitched that to marketing: Here’s a Canadian kid, he grew up here, all the teeny-boppers will love that. They basically threw us out of the room. They said, “This kid is a fad. He’s not going to last.” I said at the meeting: “This kid might outlive RIM.” Everyone laughed.
Or here is another one:
Dymond: The field reps and carriers were asking, “Why don’t you guys advertise?” I do remember asking the question, and it came down to, “We don’t need to.” Being successful at RIM was all about being close to the carriers. I’m not sure what we were doing to get customers in the door.
Or one that really hits home:
Boudreau: In four years we went from [approximately] 2,000 to 12,000 people. Having been at Nortel, the politics that get played is exponential. I was starting to see it be like Nortel. There was bureaucracy. There was pointless process. You were getting decisions by committee.