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What Canadian buyers can be taught from the BlackBerry story


Nov 12, 2023


1. Beginning and scaling a worldwide tech chief from Canada is difficult 

“We’re a risk-averse nation,” says McNish. “We’re dominated by massive companies, whether or not in banking or expertise or actual property.” BlackBerry—then generally known as Analysis in Movement, and RIM for brief—solely obtained seen in Canada after it was backed by American buyers and banks, and lauded by the likes of Invoice Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Dell and GE’s Jack Welch. 

“That’s one thing that as a rustic and as a market we must always repair,” she says. However till that occurs, be lifelike about how Canadian tech firms stack up towards overseas, particularly American, opponents that come by this assist extra simply.

Author Jacquie McNish
Photograph of creator Jacquie McNish by Fred Lum

2. First-mover benefit is value lower than you’d assume 

BlackBerry is credited with inventing the now ubiquitous smartphone product class, however many different tech corporations had already tried to merge cellphone expertise and web capabilities by the point it got here alongside. 

“For 10 years previous to that, the panorama was plagued by failures by main firms. Even Apple in ’93 tried to do a message pad that may be transmitted over a community,” McNish says. 

BlackBerry’s breakthrough got here from discovering methods to preserve community bandwidth. When wi-fi carriers as an alternative switched to promoting information, and bandwidth exploded, that benefit grew to become moot. The brand new competitors, Apple’s iPhone, promised footage, maps, video—“issues that BlackBerry stated was an impossibility,” she says.

3. Company partnerships are key

BlackBerry’s first massive break got here in 1997. “It had principally been blessed by a significant phone service in the USA as the longer term” when it launched the primary BlackBerry machine, a pager referred to as the Bullfrog, McNish notes. Other than its attraction to customers, BlackBerry supplied carriers a mutually helpful enterprise proposition. The corporate’s market place started to crumble when it took these partnerships with no consideration. 

When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone in 2007, McNish says, “he additionally introduced on stage an important particular person who was an AT&T senior govt who was providing billions of {dollars} for the unique proper to promote the Apple iPhone for plenty of years” in addition to committing to improve the corporate’s community to deal with the hovering quantity of information that entailed.

4. Beware cognitive dissonance

Apple’s announcement proved a turning level. Jobs, who had earlier dismissed the concept of creating a smartphone, tacitly acknowledged the market alternative that BlackBerry opened up. “After which the second important second was when individuals began asking Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, the 2 senior individuals on the prime of BlackBerry, have been they fearful about it,” McNish says. “They brushed it off.”


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