The rise and the fall
the patterns repeat themselves
I flew Air Canada to Munich from Toronto last night on my way to Berlin. And in the scores of inflight movies struggled to find one to watch. I wanted to watch the recent Tom Cruise Mission Impossible but it was still not available inflight.
I finally picked “Blackberry” - being Canadian I was intrigued by being closer to home to Research in Motion (RIM) in the Waterloo area. I thought the movie would be documentary-ish but was pleasantly surprised and found the narrative super interesting. The casting too was very close to home and real life and the characters played their parts well.
Technology is a strange beast. One day one could be on top of it and the next day you could be out. Blackberry was one example. Another big example was Nokia. And closer to home another example was Nortel Networks. Many a telecom company has met this untimely end due to similar but related reasons. One could see a product lifecycle from startup to scale to sunset. Of course, most startups don’t make it beyond one or two years and fail anyway - this one was a full-lifecycle exception.
The whole concept of Blackberry’s popularity was piggybacking on the free network space in the pager spectrum and how they overcame the limitations around it to make it big. But then again workarounds go only so far and only until the market protections make sense (Palm tried but could not survive as well as Blackberry and they went away first) finally being eclipsed by Steve Jobs and his Jesus Phone which took over the world slowly but surely since its launch in 2005.
My first corporate tryst with the original Blackberry started in 2007 subsequently growing to a Blackberry with a touchpad and ending with the large screen Blackberry with a sliding keyboard in 2016 when I finally switched to the first of my corporate iPhones.
A movie worth watching especially as a business story of what not to do. Strongly recommended if you have a penchant for business drama.