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If I Were King

I’m 30. But at the risk of sounding 10, I’m going to go ahead and admit to the blog world that I spend a lot of time thinking about what I would do if I were King. Or Queen to be exact (as Sam is short for *Kathi, not Samuel). And man, things would be good if I were King. I wouldn’t stick it to the man, I wouldn’t even acknowledge the man. I would take risks, at the risk of sounding cliché, like today was my last day. I would find people with good ideas and I would let them run amock through my company like it was their job. Because it would be their job. If I were King.

I would think like a consumer and not like an accountant. I would entertain possibility like I was 10. And I would make sure I never got comfortable- in my office, in my city, in my product or in my profit.

Okay great- so where is this going, Sam?
Well I read this article today about Blackberry, where Michael Mace carefully analyzes what is really wrong with Blackberry and how he would recommend fixing it and I realized that maybe the biggest part of their problem is that they followed the numbers and they pleased the investors. What? How can that be, you say. You can’t please investors without making money- so they must have been making money…and they were.

Since 2003, when they turned profitable, RIM has grown from $500M in revenue to over $15B. B for billion. That’s 30x growth in 8 years. Their subscriber base is up too. Mace says “This is one of the most impressive business success stories of the last decade…” And who could argue?So what gives? Why is Blackberry considered a dying brand? Is it because their marketing is lame? Oh, if only we advertisers could give ourselves that much credit. Is it because Steve Jobs brought Apple back from the brink? Sure, maybe it’s a little bit of both of those things…but I would argue that from a 30,000 foot view, their biggest problem was that they thought like accountants rather than consumers, like manufacturers rather than innovators. Like responsible investor-fearing executives rather than 10 year olds imagining they were king. And now they’re paying for it.

So what can they do to turn the ship around? Mace does a nice job not just assessing the problem, but pinpointing solutions to the problem here. But I’ll close this post by sharing my simple thoughts. They gotta get back to innovating, differentiating, and waiting until the product is perfect before sending it out the door. They need to think like they’re Kings- if even for a day.

*it’s a long story but basically I changed my name to Sam on the first day of kindergarten.

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