It was a pleasant surprise to find out today that they have finally made a movie about BlackBerry story. The movie was released in the US theaters today. I am not sure it already was released in other countries. It is not available on streaming platform yet. I checked Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Videos, and other platform, and don't see BlackBerry in their catalogs yet. There is a trailer available on youtube and it does seem to be an interesting one. I have not written a post about movies I have not seen yet. This story is so fascinating, I had to share my thoughts, excitement, and expectations before watching it. As good as the movie about BlackBerry may sound, I am not planning to watch it in theaters. Or maybe I will. Most likely I will wait until it becomes available on one of streaming platforms or available to rent. Not sure yet. What I am sure about though is that the story of BlackBerry has great potential for a great movie.
BlackBerry was revolutionary. It was a story of genius innovation in technology and business. It is a story of inspirational success. It is also a story of epic failure. There must be more to the story as well. Most of us know the story in general terms and part of the technological revolution in mobile devices. What we know is what we may have heard and observed as different tech companies battled and competed for market share in mobile computing and telecommunications space. There has to be a lot more about BlackBerry. I would like to know the origins of how the product was developed, and the company was founded. I would like to know about the people involved in this innovation. It will be a great to see what motivated the founders and what inspired such success. But I also want to see what lead the company and the brand to fail. How could a successful company that positioned itself so well within the tech space and the business environment fail so badly? Why weren't they able to pivot? What caused the stagnation in innovation? Were these reasons internal, that original vision was lost? Or were there outside factors that prevent them to maintain their role in the space.
These are a lot of questions. I have many more and I hope the movie would address these topics and is able to cover the main questions that many may have. We watch movies for entertainment, not necessarily for knowledge. I am sure there are answers available online for all of the questions we may have about the BlackBerry, and doing some research may present us with all the answers we need. However, movies are different. Especially well produced ones. They bring life to stories that had historical impact. The generate a discussion and pondering upon human achievement and human conditions that subject to both success and failures.
I have no idea why these phones was called BlackBerry. If I were to guess, I would say they reimagined mobile phones through the prism of computer technologies. Clearly, they have not considered themselves to be another telecommunications company, but rather an innovator in computing, mobile computing that is. Maybe the founders were inspired by the story of Apple, or saw themselves to be another Apple. Maybe that is why they chose a fruit for a brand name. I might be completely wrong. But I do see similarities in the story of Apple and BlackBerry. Apple as a company and Apple computers were revolutionary of their time. They created a movement in personal computing and have tremendous amount of contributions in this space. But Apple too failed, almost. There was a time when Apple stopped innovating, wasn't able to pivot and keep the pace with advancement in computer technologies. Apple was able to take a U-turn at the end, and became revolutionary once more. This is not the case with BlackBerry. While it did have multiple opportunities to reinvent itself and find its original vision, for some reasons it wasn't able to. I don't think they have any chances left.
I can see the reasons or guess ones behind choosing a fruit for brand name. BlackBerry brand wasn't that interesting. What was really cool and interesting is the name of the company that made BlackBerrys - Research In Motion. That is a really cool name for a tech company. It kinda represents the continuous movement in technological advancements that never stop, not even for a second. And without research no advancement would be possible. It also accurately paints the picture of people who used to use BlackBerrys. Always staring at their phones while holding with two hands and being in constant motion. Today, everybody is staring at their phones all the time, in motion or not. BlackBerry was the pioneer.
Research In Motion and BlackBerry were able to see the future. They knew earlier than anybody else that cellphones were meant to be a lot more than what there were used for. Not only they knew, they had practical solutions and brilliant ideas to start this transformation of cellphones into smartphones. Their key selling point was secure email communications. They were able to convince law firms, financial institutions, small and big corporations around the world that BlackBerry was the device they all had to have. The product worked. It delivered what it promised. They conquered the business world with their product. It is not an easy task to do. But once done it can be very profitable and guarantee revenues for many years to come. Selling devices directly to people may be easier, but ordinary people have limited budgets. Not everybody will pay extra for a phone that have an ability to send emails. Companies can pay more, especially if they see value and increase in efficiencies. RIM was business smart. They took the strategy out of Microsoft playbook and went for safe and continues money. And it worked.
Unfortunately, Research In Motion couldn't live up to its name when bigger changes hit the world of technological innovations. They failed to research and couldn't stay in motion. They weren't the only ones who couldn't see what was coming. Nokia's failure was even worse. Both RIM and Nokia were leading the way in transitioning to smartphones. What happened? I guess iPhone did. Then Android followed. In retrospect, it almost seems like RIM and Nokia weren't even trying to compete. Did they become complacent, lost an ability to be self-critical, wasn't capable of staying up-to-date in changes in technologies. Or were they just stubborn to admit they were wrong. One of the similarities in RIM and Nokia's failures is that it took the very long time to realize the physical keyboards in smartphones were not the future. When they finally realized this fact, it was too late or almost too late. Maybe they still had a chance. I am curious what steps were taking in those moments to rectify the blunders.
BlackBerry had a great role to play in the history of technologies. They have contributed to the innovations and advancements for better. Their story is so amazing, it will be shared, retold, and taught for a very long time. If I was asked what is the greatest innovation and achievement of humans in this century, I would without a doubt say smartphones and mobile computing. It is not AI, it is not crypto, it is not electric vehicles, it is not robots, not 3D printing, not smart homes. These are all important innovations and we will see more sophisticated and creative applications of them. Smartphones and mobile computing have walked into the lives of most people around the world from many different walks of lives. They contributed to the exponential growth of the internet. They brought people together. They even paved the way for the other important technologies listed above. AI is in its phase today became of smartphones. Crypto makes sense today, because of smartphones. E-commerce is bigger than shopping at physical stores today, because of smartphones. BlackBerry couldn't have become one of these smartphones today that people rely on everyday. They started the movement, but couldn't keep up with the speed of the motion. They came up with a genius idea and a solution, but were able to do the proper research of the space they were innovating in.
It is definitely a great story. I hope the movie will be great as well.