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Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry Paperback – May 3, 2016
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"In the tech industry, they say that you learn more from a failure than from a hit. Well, if that's true, Losing the Signal will give you a post-doctoral education. Reading the inside story of the BlackBerry's helpless flameout is like watching any other train wreck: You're horrified, but you can't look away."
--David Pogue, Author of POGUE'S BASICS and founder of Yahootech.com "In LOSING THE SIGNAL, Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff tell the harrowing and riveting story of how we lost the connection to the Blackberry, a communication device so innovative and addictive that it was known, among aficionados, as a Crackberry. It's a tale of rivalries, jealousies and missed opportunities. You won't be able to put it down."
--William Cohan, author of HOUSE OF CARDS: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street and MONEY AND POWER: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World
About the Author
JACQUIE MCNISH is one of the most experienced business journalists in Canada. She has led coverage of many of the most significant business stories of the past 25 years for Canada’s top business publications. McNish is a senior writer with the Globe and Mail and before that the Wall Street Journal. She has won six National Newspaper Awards for her ground- breaking investigations into some of the biggest business stories of the past three decades. She is a regular host on Canada’s business news station BNN and an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School. She lives in Toronto with her husband and two sons.
SEAN SILCOFF is one of the most experienced business journalists in Canada. He has led coverage of many of the most significant business stories of the past 25 years for Canada’s top business publications. Silcoff is an award-winning business writer with the Globe and Mail. During his 17-year business reporting career he has covered just about every area of business, from agriculture to the credit crisis, toys to airplane manufacturing. In his two years with the Globe and Mail he has won a National Newspaper Award and led the paper’s coverage of BlackBerry. He is also a contributor to Report on Business Insight, the business section’s signature commentary section. His 2005 series for The National Post on Brazilian plane-maker Embraer won an Aerospace Journalist of the Year Award and was a two-time winner of the Edward Goff Memorial Prize for Young Canadian Journalists during his career as a crime reporter. He lives in the Gatineau Hills near Ottawa with his wife and three children.
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Top Customer Reviews
RIM rode technology disruption and created a company with $20 billion/year in revenue only to see it disappear by being disrupted themselves.
Lots of lessons here.
1) Even though the CEOs were reading the "Innovators Dilemma" they still had little perspective on how rapid disruption would happen to them. And even less of an understanding what to do about it. (The attempt to integrate the QNX software into existing products is a cautionary tale of technical debt, refactoring and plain bad engineering management.) The iPhone in 2007 should have been a wake-up call to both CEOs. Yet they both fell prey to the classic "disruption always looks like a toy to the incumbents" mistake.
2) The company grew past the management skills of the founders. The insular nature of the founders, the Canadian entrepreneurial ecosystem, founder hubris and a feckless board ended any potential of a positive intervention. It took a complete meltdown to get the board to act.
3) Mike Lazaridis, the technical CEO, fell prey to the "shiny object" syndrome. He discovered new technology (QNX) that he thought obsoleted the current software that drove the Blackberry handsets (Java). But instead of figuring out how to finesse the transition, he literally abandoned the existing development team (and revenue). A great example of how not to manage a technology transition.
3) Dealing with major platform disruption usually takes radical structural changes, not new product features. The story unfolds as a slow motion car crash as the CEOs waited, way, way too long to recognize, let alone deal with it. There's a reason that turnaround CEO's downsize companies and focus on what's important. If you're the founder it's almost impossible to get rid of your favorite projects.
Only quibble others have noted. The book barely mentions the changes Heins made, and almost nothing about Chens strategy.
A great business book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book made up my mind to hate the co-founders of RIM (Research In Motion)...Read more