When Thorsten Heins was announced as the new CEO of RIM, there was some words of approval, some cautious words of wonderment and some disbelief. Seems not everyone was thinking this is a great choice for the new CEO of a company which is going through some troubles right now.
One of the comments that caught my attention was the concern that Mr. Heins is not the evangelist type that RIM needs during this time.
Heins is an uncharismatic engineer at a time when RIM is in desperate need of an ebullient public and internal cheerleader. The tech sector lends itself more than most to evangelists. Such characters - think Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Scott McNealy, Andy Grove – attract “insanely great” talent, as the late Jobs would say. They tout their insanely great products with almost arrogant conviction. And they ceaselessly badmouth the competition until you actually begin to believe them. The soft-spoken Heins is not cast from that mold.
I will say the article is in the Toronto Star, so right off the bat it is questionable. After all, the Star tends to attack anything and everything that is not of Toronto. The Star is one of those papers that would rather kick a good Canadian company when its down then support it. I know, someone will say 'it's not the business of newspapers to be cheerleaders'. Unless of course, it's something like an American firm, or American sports team...oh never mind.
The comment may not be so bad from the truth. I think that one thing RIM does need is some evangelists. These are people who tout the merits of the devise. It does seem to work best in the field of technology. One just has to look at Guy Kawasaki, for example, to understand the importance of a tech evangelist. He was the chief evangelist at Apple and he seems to have done quite nice for himself.
What could an evangelist do for RIM? Well, the person(s) shouldn't try to emulate Steve Jobs, there was only one of him and he was the only person who could pull off being Steve Jobs.
The person should have a genuine love and respect for the products and be willing to tell everybody about it. They do need to be genuine and not contrived, because if its the latter, everybody will be jumping on about how RIM is trying to be like Apple and how that won't work.
When you think about it, RIM still has a lot of good going for it. The phone is hot with kids, believe it or not. The BBM is something young people want to use and they love it. As well, the developing world really likes it, so much there was a riot in Indonesia. I know I've said it before, but it's amazing how the media was putting on a full hate of RIM. If people rioted over an iPhone, the press would have been swooning over how must love and lust there is for the iPhone. But because it was RIM, and Blackberry, well, that's horrible.
Then there is the Playbook, come on you knew I was going to mention the Playbook some place in this blog. If you ever read the comments posted on articles you might be surprised at the number of people who have a playbook and think its amazing. What is even more amazing, none of them work for RIM. This is the sort of thing the Playbook needs, forget what the professional pundits think, most of them are so entrenched with Apple, you think the got the logo tattooed to their behind.
But it can't all be about trashing Apple, it has to be about the good product that is Blackberry and the entire experience.
I came across an article out of the UK. Seems they are selling a lot of Playbooks, this is good.
RIM should get on board and start developing a pool of bloggers who do like the products and are able to declare how much they like it through social media and blogposts. Like a lot of things, it starts better and last longer if there is grassroots involvement. I'm not saying they should pay off a bunch of bloggers to shrill for them, because people will smell that fix a mile away, just ensure they have their cadre of bloggers who do care and want to share.
I could continue by mentioning BlackBerry Music, music made social. If done right it will be a great feature, if done wrong, then its Ping.