Lately I’ve been thinking about RIM. Once a proudly home grown Canadian phenomenon, it is now sullied by unsavoury future profit growth forecasts. In the Toronto Star business section last weekend I read that RIM’s plan was to “cut an unspecified number of jobs as it works to roll out a new generation of products to stay competitive.”
I can’t help thinking that RIM’s problem isn’t just the technology of its products; it’s the IMAGE of those products. While the BlackBerry was once a symbol of success it is now more often viewed both by those who have one, and those who don’t, as an albatross. Having a BlackBerry constantly stuck to the side of your head no longer means that you are a person of importance, it means that you are a person held hostage at the beck and call of others.
No one has a BlackBerry for fun. A Blackberry means business. And these days, for most people, business is not fun. Gone are the days of Gordon Gekko as an image of success and luxury in the exciting world of high finance. Now there was a guy who loved his job! Today, success and luxury is having a job that pays you enough money to live comfortably on, AND leaves you time to do the things you love, like playing in the park with your kids or having a barbeque with friends. And if you happen to love that job, all the better!
If you’re looking for a device for work and play, you are much more likely to choose the Apple iPhone. All those apps and free games? All those iTunes? Now that’s fun!
Let’s see… a tart fruit full of molar-busting seeds versus a wide variety of crisp, juicy apples? I’ll take the apple any day.
Even the new BlackBerry PlayBook is unfortunately branded. Isn’t a playbook a strategy document for sports teams? Don’t coaches and players have to study the playbook? Smells like work to me.
I think that RIM is right to be conservative in their future growth forecasts, because I see increasing numbers of people of all ages looking for more out of life than business success. One of the reasons I left my lucrative career was because it was squeezing time out of the parts of my life I treasured most. And I’m not alone. Networking has connected me to a whole other world of entrepreneurs looking to build a better, more balanced life for themselves. A life that is less work… more play.
I can’t help but root for RIM because I am a fiercely patriotic Canadian. So I sure hope that the ‘unspecified number of jobs’ they’re cutting aren’t their brand strategists!
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