Friday, October 14, 2011

RIM: on the rim?

Hmmm.  As I sit in the Richmond airport at 8:00 a.m., kicking myself, the veteran standby-flight traveler, for not knowing better than to show up for the comfortable 7:00 a.m. flight when the first flight of the day left just before 6:00 a.m.--with seats empty that should have been occupied by some of those ticketed passengers who filled the seat I'm not in on the 7:00 a.m. flight either, I find I'm having the same kind of luck with getting any work done on the Blackberry.  Apparently, the RIM network I'm not connected to at the moment is as full to overflowing as was that aircraft I'm not on.  After two and a half years now on a Crackberry, this is only the second time I can remember when this has happened with a duration long enough to be noticeable to me.  The disconcerting part is that those two times have happened within the last two weeks.  In the lingo of an old aircrew evaluator, that makes this a trend.  And that is cause for concern.

I switched to Blackberry from Palm because Palm went to sleep at the wheel.  Having made their fortunes, they let service slide, software "upgrades" moved backwards, coming with fewer features and more glitches than each previous version.  So, I did what any committed capitalist does: I voted with my feet and my $, and took my business elsewhere.

I'm not all that fond of change, really.  I love adventure, and when forced to it, I can embrace the new cheese with Sniff and Scurry all day, but I'm also a great believer in the value of loyalty.  The thing is, loyalty has to be a two-way street, especially in business.  Companies that stay in business a long time have one of two things going for them: either they have no viable competition doing a better job, or they give consistently excellent and reliable service.  Only the fickle go looking elsewhere without good reason.  That's what it means to be fickle.

I'm not fickle, but nothing I'm reading about RIM, its latest outage and its management principles is giving me a good feeling about what I should expect of Blackberry in the days to come.  Most of what I'm finding online suggests that people aren't really happy working for RIM these days.  Big companies are like the human body, the health of the whole is a reflection of an infinite number of smaller parts.  The bottom line is just a face.  Managers forget that too often.  Some never learn it.

Get it right RIM.  Quickly.  It may be too late already.  The bronze head may have already spoken.  Time is.  Time was.  Time is passed.