Quite often, those at the highest levels of the company can't see beyond themselves in order to be able to know what a company needs to do to get itself out of a hole it happens to find itself in. Sometime the best ideas come from those from lower down within the organization.
[UPDATE: A statement from RIM PR is available here.]
An anonymous RIM employee (allegedly quite high-level) has written an open letter to co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis. outlining what the company needs to do to survive. Whoever this guy is probably should be CEO, or at least telling the current CEOs what to do.
The complete letter is over on BGR but I'll pick out a few highlights for you here.
'Almost every project is falling further and further behind schedule at a time when we absolutely must deliver great, solid products on time.'
This pretty much sums up the position that RIM currently finds itself in. RIM has some great products, but everything released feels like it's months too late hitting the market. RIM needs to realize that the shine has worn off the BlackBerry brand and it's time for RIM to take a much more proactive approach to extending market share.
'Let’s obsess about what is best for the end user. We often make product decisions based on strategic alignment, partner requests or even legal advice — the end user doesn’t care.'
It takes an anonymous open letter to the CEOs for RIM to understand that the users are what matters? Sheesh ...
'When was the last time we pushed out a significant new experience or feature that wasn’t already on other platforms?'
It's not just RIM which is guilty of this, pretty much the entire mobile industry has done little more than copy Apple for the past four years. Innovation is what sells, not duplication.
'Rather than constantly mocking iPhone and Android, we should encourage key decision makers across the board to use these products as their primary device for a week or so at a time — yes, on Exchange! This way we can understand why our users are switching and get inspiration as to how we can build our next-gen products even better!'
Know your enemy ... Sun Tzu understood this back in the late-sixth century BC. Again, the fact that RIM CEOs need to be told this is quite staggering.
'We need some heavy hitters at RIM when it comes to software management. Teams still aren’t talking together properly, no one is making or can make critical decisions, all the while everyone is working crazy hours and still far behind.'
When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.
'On that note, we simply must stop shipping incomplete products that aren’t ready for the end user.'
Is there anyone out there who wants to buy an incomplete product? Seriously, there's no faster way to show contempt for your customers than shipping something that's not finished and then promising to make it better later. FINISH THE DAMN PRODUCT AND THEN SHIP IT!
'There is no polite way to say this, but it’s true — BlackBerry smartphone apps suck. Even PlayBook, with all its glorious power, looks like a Fisher Price toy with its Adobe AIR/Flash apps.'
Apps and developer ecosystem are important. If you don't have these in place, you are in deep trouble.
'We need an inventive and engaging campaign that focuses on what we are about. People buy into a brand / product not just because of features, but because of what it stands for and what it delivers to them.'
I agree. RIM needs to fire whoever is handling its ad campaigns and get someone on board who knows what they are doing.
'Just because someone may have been a loyal RIM employee for 7 years, it doesn’t mean they are the best Manager / Director / VP for that role. It’s time to change the culture to deliver or move on and get out.'
Get rid of the dead wood.
'To avoid this death, perhaps it is time to seriously consider a new, fresh thinking, experienced CEO.'
Too many CEOs spoil the broth?
'Reach out to all employees asking them on how we can make RIM better. Encourage input from ground-level teams—without repercussions—to seek out honest feedback and really absorb it.'
The fact that RIM isn't already doing this partly accounts for why the company is in the mess it's in.
What do you think RIM needs to do to prevent the company from imploding?