The Rise of BlackBerry

BlackBerry Passport
BlackBerry Passport

Everyone likes products with the letter “Z” in the title, even BlackBerry smart phones. Z30, Z10, Z3, and there was a Z20 but it has been renamed BlackBerry Classic. Will phones with a “Z” cause BlackBerry to rise or will BlackBerry just continue to see consumers go “zzzzz….”? So far it looks like good management decisions will make a big difference for this company in the near future. Take a look at their devices Here.

BlackBerry still has a large user base, still has a very good product line, and is still a preferred handheld for many outside the United States for reasons which should be more valuable to us. In other countries security seems to be important but in the U.S. it tends be overlooked for features and entertainment. The difference in America vs. the world is interesting, and blinding to the consumer base which has dumped BlackBerry for the likes of iPhone and Samsung. In the process consumers have also dumped productivity.

A BlackBerry is still much more productive than either the iPhone or the Android devices; oh yes, and the Windows phones which are easily overlooked. Of course, if you consider watching a video on YouTube to be a productive use of your time you may not understand why a BlackBerry is more productive and if you rarely communicate business ideas, sales ideas, and social leadership ideas, you may not need a smart phone at all.

So, how will BlackBerry rise from here? There are a variety of reasons why BlackBerry should be able to rise, reclaim market-share, and capture its old position in business. This is not to say they will reach their past dominance but will likely gain their share of the modern market.

Understanding their past success is key; remember when anyone who was serious about business carried, or at least kept one of these devices on their desk? It was amazing when representatives from different corporations could send documents on the fly, respond to email in minutes, and maintain a complex schedule, all outside of the office while traveling. At some point this hard-working, fast-paced environment will make a strong comeback and the productivity of the device will make a difference. Ever used an older, slower computer and become frustrated just trying to keep up and get your work finished on time? How about incompatible software? Many of my friends who have iPhones seem to struggle to keep up, Android and Windows can slow productivity in ways too.

New software development is something which BlackBerry needs to emphasize like they used to. In the past you could count on deep software development in these devices. The keyboard shortcuts, menus, and access to communication features were amazing. The latest Z devices have dropped some of the deep design features in order to create more of a consumer level device. This seems to be changing with the new Passport and Classic being launched soon under the new leadership of John Chen.  Once again, BlackBerry products are being designed for business and productivity rather than consumer entertainment. This should be a major step forward since neither Apple nor Samsung try to make their products relevant to business. Blackberry has been known and well respected for creating devices which are key to business productivity. By following this path BlackBerry can fill the void in a segment which has been sucked dry by consumer level products and offerings which have damaged business productivity. As an example of the new trend, LinkedIn seems to have updated their applications for future use on the Passport and Classic. These types of partnerships will help drive upgrades from current customers as well as bring back some who gave up and left for other brands.

There is no doubt the BlackBerry Operating system is very fast, has many great qualities, and has room to grow with application development. It is designed for robust security, a more seamless application and software deployment, division of personal and business data, and advanced control. In the long run, if applied correctly, this operating system has strong legs to run with and gain market share.

Many Android apps are now supported or can be side-loaded to the BlackBerry 10 devices. The old problem of not having enough apps to play with is really in the past now. App happy people may be missing out anyway since regardless of which brand of phone you use, most apps are useless and many web sites can easily out-perform their app versions. I tend to save space by not using apps while saving important web site addresses to my phone’s browser. The new Z3 phone launched in Indonesia is designed with the Android app store installed and offering 200,000 apps.

A small duplication of iPhone sales, the keeping up with the Jones’ buyer, is another way BlackBerry will gain some revenue. Most fans will want a new Passport or Classic with the latest features and larger size screens. In the U.S. the Passport has the ability to gain ‘Status Symbol’ sales. The unique square screen and full QWERTY keyboard are obvious, and they imply productivity and seriousness for business.

Ultimately, a trusted business name can win and BlackBerry already has this. Now they just need enhanced software, newer business solutions,  continued security, business customizations, and more good devices. They seem to be on their way up, and I for one hope they do well. I prefer to use a business device rather than a consumer entertainment device.

Buying Opportunity Ahead

Economic Loss
Downdraft of Squandering

The markets are sliding regardless of frivolous good news which in the past could have sent indices up ridiculously.  Maybe we will see some more reality.  The real question is, is this dark and cloudy depressing news or is it sunny?

This is definitely bright and sunny news as any approach toward reasonable prices, in any market, is a plus for our future.  Irrational exuberance of the 1990’s gave way to insane exuberance of the Fed, banking regulations, job markets, and real estate speculation.  One feature of this is artificially high prices floated by our bloated government, now run mostly by inexperienced nerds who have no clue what work and business are.
If you have plenty of cash on the sidelines now, you can be waiting for the opportunity for better price reality ahead.

Following the Whatsapp Piper

Pied PiperIt will be interesting to see how many startups change direction and try to follow the tune of Whatsapp’s moneyless trail to the pot at the end of the rainbow.  It can be easy to say to yourself, “hey, I can give away my service for a year too” and then watch all your opportunity evaporate before you can charge the first 99 cents.

Most technology innovations are out-paced, out-classed, and ou- performed so quickly that the only opportunity to make any money may be the first 99 cents charged the day you launch the business.

I would caution that for every free business that becomes successful, somehow, there seem to be more which reach at least short term success (3-5 years) by charging a fair price for providing a good service or product.  If you can’t make the first 99 cents then maybe it just isn’t worth the time risk to see if you will make the last 99 cents either, for many reasons.

2014 the Time is Right

surfing 0012014 looks like it has the potential, the wheels on the ground to become a very good year for business.  Since it doesn’t end with a ’13 and because many businesses seem to be gathering enough wind in the sails to overcome the dramatic over-regulation of the Federal Government.  There is light at the end of the tunnel.  We may even see a resurgence of focus on real rate of return business rather than empty estimates and internal redistribution of assets to tweak the balance sheet.  Productivity is coming back into practice.

Where can we see evidence of this?  Not in retail sales but in attitudes of professionals and the better quality of service expectations.  Everyone I talk to is leaning toward productivity, not just streamlining expenses.  More people are interested in innovation than ever before.  Successful business investors are awash with money and seem poised to invest in good business ideas and plans.  People are focusing on smart rather than government and this will win in the long run.

If you have a business idea or plan you have been waiting to launch, do it now.  I believe a good wave to ride is coming in now.  Get up on your board and surf!

Appease Your Way to the Top


Looking to the TopIf the title of this didn’t make you cringe, you may be a wimp.  As far as I can tell by searching the web, nobody has written a book with this title.  There are plenty of accounts of people who tried appeasement diplomacy but nothing regarding appeasement as a way to do well in business.  It seems that business requires a little more than just getting along to achieve success.

What is appeasement?  Appeasement, according to the dictionary is making concessions in order to come to an agreement.  As we know, this will usually mean for a short period of time; making a settlement while finding another way to get your own way later.  On the surface appeasement can sound good, but often leads to a loss of time and opportunity.  A good case in point, often referred to in history, is the appeasement of Hitler only to deal with his strengthened resolve and military at a later date.  Sometimes the best time to deal with a problem is when it pops up, not later.  Isn’t that true?  Neville Chamberlain found out the hard way and was later labeled as a wimp for appeasing Hitler until it was too late, thus being replaced by Churchill who was no appeaser at all.  But we are talking about business appeasement.  How is this different from political appeasement?

Appeasement in business can quickly become a sign of weakness and turn into a lack of respect.  Can you imagine any highly successful business entrepreneur, leader, CEO, or innovator choosing appeasement to achieve their lofty success?  I certainly cannot, but let’s consider a short list of names: Gates, Dell, Buffett, Getty, Trump… no appeasement?  But at the same time we know that they can use appeasement as a negotiation tool to eventually settle a deal as closely to what they want as they can.  It just wouldn’t be the primary way to ultimately become successful.

Appeasers run the risk of having their product, service, or designs stolen from them. They don’t take quick action, and they lose the opportunity.  Appeasers cannot take the upper hand in business negotiations since they lose respect and will not be able to press their position since it would seem easy to tell them “no”.  Appeasers become conditioned to believe they have won the situation by simply coming to terms after making concessions.  They lose trust, respect, opportunity, and time.  Appeasers cannot be moved to the top rungs of the business ladder since they cannot effectively close the deal on new innovations and opportunities.  Appeasers ultimately lose or stalemate in business dealings while feeling they have run away to fight another day.  But at the same time, making concessions, if calculated and negotiated for a specific purpose of returning to the negotiation quickly while some alternatives or additional solutions are weighed, can be of great value in winning the deal.  Ultimately you must have a goal and you must meet the goal in order to do well in business.

Which is more important, being right or appeasing?  Since we already know that appeasement is making concessions we can ask the question, “Should you concede when you know you are right?”  Most people will say no, unless their primary mode is to concede at all costs and calling that a “win”.  Being right is very important in business because if you are wrong about your product, solution, service, system or whatever you are selling, developing, or promoting, it will cost you a lot of money and future business to be wrong!  You must have confidence in what you are doing and that comes from reaching a level of being right.  I am certain you agree with that, right?  Being right implies understanding your position and capabilities.  If you know this, you know your limits and must be right and can effectively negotiate.  If you do not know this, your counterpart in the negotiation may try to assume they know better and at this point seek appeasement from you, since you lack confidence.  You lose because you are forced to appease and cannot close a deal based on your true value and capabilities.

Is there a time and place for appeasement?  Yes, you should be willing to appease your elders, especially old ladies.  Funny?  When it comes to dealing in business you should always come to the table prepared, especially with the full knowledge of your proposition, why it has value, and the right way to proceed.  You must be right because being right will be more important than appeasing, even when you deal with customers, not just other business people.  When you are right, that’s when you truly have value.  What if Bill Gates felt he was wrong about the iPhone or lacked confidence?  The time for appeasement may be in adding a suggested feature or capability you didn’t consider, an alternative application, but only for the time it takes to consider the value of these.  In reality these appeasements should be sub-negotiations of the primary negotiation.

In business you must be shrewd.  If you think shrewdness is a negative term, think again.  The definition is: having or showing sharp powers of judgment.  How negative can that be?  If you are shrewd then you must be right, or right enough to negotiate for favorable terms.  Shrewd implies knowledge, understanding, and the ability to know much about the situation.  If you don’t utilize your knowledge base, understanding of your counterpart, and the limits of your capabilities, you may be forced into acquiescing.  This can damage your reputation, your earnings, and your opportunities beyond your expectations.

Be shrewd, be right, be prepared, and don’t expect to reach a high level of success by appeasing your way to the top.

Good Politics are Most Important to Business Owners

Business and practice owners need to consider the most important thing for the continuing development of their business.  Customer service, sales and marketing, product and service development, and productivity

Fill the Chair
Fill the Chair

are all a constant but their effectiveness is not.  In the wrong political environment these constants are negatively impacted by slow growth, reduced number of customers or patients, low productivity, and worst of all, reduced customer service.  We are all front-line witnesses to this.

The most devastating feature of a negative political environment is ‘Trickle-Down Negativity’.  We may or may not want to believe in trickle-down economics but the effect becomes very real when our own business venture is impacted by increased regulation, increased taxes, and customers and patients who are less willing or unable to pay.  The environment is difficult and requires more time and effort, thus expense, to overcome the downdraft of a poorly run government.

Economic cycles come and go but political impact can be long lasting and indeed reduce the merits of small business for an extended period of time.  As business owners we must be cognizant of a situation in which this extended impact could be in the heart of our development and earning years, and its impact on our own families and livelihood, not just the success of our business.

We currently operate our businesses in an environment of increasing over-regulation, increasing taxes, withdrawn customer base, and dramatically reduced opportunity in venture.  Our own customer base is eroding, not because we are poor at business, but because the opportunity is poor at best.  When our best customers cannot afford us anymore, there is something wrong.  It isn’t our prices, since we actually feel the need to raise them in order to survive.  It isn’t service if we already feel we are giving away all we can afford.

The politics of our situation, this poor business environment, are not about party or personal feelings toward elements of the platform.  Our situation is about ideology.  We are currently under the thumb of anti-business ideology and an executive branch which seemingly wages war against our potential for prosperity.  Fix the current ideology, return to the belief that business owners and entrepreneurs are the fuel of our existence and opportunity, then we can worry about the platform issues later.

In short, the cost of our current political ideology is very expensive.  When this same ship had to be turned in the past it took 20 years to overcome in one case and 10 years in the last.  We have no way of knowing if the next leadership will be effective enough to keep that time at the low end of the scale.  Can we afford to wait 4 more years to see if the current failed ideology will change course?  If the impact deepens it will take even longer to turn back around.  Are you willing to wait 15 to 25 years for your prosperity to return to reasonable levels?  Start the change now.

Soros Fund Leaves Goldman for Facebook

Can’t help but wonder why they would do that, as in: What do they expect to gain in Facebook? It isn’t a direct exchange from one to the other but what does the fund expect to gain? It seems unlikely they expect to gain share price. Maybe they expect to gain your private information?

I can see leaving Goldman since they are probably finished accepting government money to leverage into other markets for now. Gold is just a hedge, but buying Facebook? That’s really odd unless there is some underlying advantage.

“Dr. Doom’s” Economic Storm, with Silver Lining

Nouriel Roubini, who has been nicknamed “Dr. Doom”, is known for predictions of impending disaster in the economy of the world.  What he and others may not tell you is this is all part of a long-term cycle and it is normal for economies to reset and rebuild.

Earth Will Not Unravel
The Earth will not unravel.

Economic “Doom” isn’t all the fear it’s cracked up to be.  In fact, it isn’t really a doom situation at all.  It is truly a great opportunity, if it even happens, for the populations involved to start fresh.

Here are a few thing to think about:

  • The U.S. has changed or reset the currency many times, even in the last 50 years
  • World currency and economies have slipped and fallen many times, yet here we are
  • Federal Guarantees have failed in one form or another, often disguised by “new” guarantees
  • Some percentage of the population will still want to eat, and will still work to do so, even if they barter
  • A new economy always comes with new opportunity
  • For a brief period, some will get to pay their taxes with currency which soon becomes worthless anyway
  • When economies fail, many of the citizens have little currency of any value at the time, and it can be a big relief to replace this with a new currency and “guarantee”, allowing prosperity once again
  • Savings shouldn’t be in the form of currency anyway, it should be in the form of yielding assets

These are only a few thoughts which highlight the potential positives following “Economic Doom” (if anyone wants to call it that).

My personal opinion is that in times of disaster and fear, humans often show their best nature and are more likely to help each other, by doing more of what’s right.  One reason I didn’t like Steven Spielberg‘s version of War of the Worlds is he portrays the worst of humanity rather than the best.  Only a small portion of the population becomes so selfish when all are threatened.  It is difficult to imagine all the homes and suburbs of Kansas City disappearing, or the water being turned off by the city, grocery stores closing, and vegetable stands going away, all because the dollar just isn’t the dollar we expected.  What do you have to trade?

How is it possible that Economic Collapse could turn out well?  It is easy to assume people will starve, or there will be more war and chaos, but maybe those are the symptoms of the top of an overly-controlled and dictated economy and the effect of such is already in motion.  After the global collapse in the 1930’s, caused by mismanagement of government trust and investment abuse, war later came in the form of WWII.  The interesting thing is they may not be as related as we believe.  Often the powers dictating the outbreak of war tend to be oblivious to the economic situation.  In fact they may take advantage, as Hitler did.

If you want to read and absorb more economic fear from “Dr. Doom”, read this .

How are you preparing to do well in any event?

How to Grow Business in 2012

1. Ignore 2011 and the previous slow years and focus on the positives for 2012

2. Embrace Online Marketing and Sales as the future. It amazes me how few do this, even now.

3. Launch your business, or businesses now.

4. Use multiple platforms.

5. Broaden offerings and lines as well as services.

6. Expand into other markets.

7. Penetrate new vertical markets.

8. Exercise social connections and platforms.

9. Increase special offerings to new customers.

10. Implement new tools for marketing, sales, and services.

11. Educate employees, suppliers, distributors, and customers.

12. Move fast, not slow.

13. Utilize what you have in place.

14. Acquire new capabilities and resources.

15. Expect growth and it will come!

Roku – Best Gadget Today

Get a RokuProbably the best simple gadget to buy right now is the Roku.  It’s great for streaming movies and more from multiple providers including Amazon, Hulu, Pandora, and Netflix.  Can you say “Free Movies”?  If you don’t want a BlueRay with built in streaming, or a new TV, or a game console, then this may be the gadget to get you into the new century.  If you have Wi-Fi for your computer (still a matter of joining this century) then you should be ready to go.  Oh, and the streaming providers have movies on demand and premium streaming.  If you have Netflix just add the Roku so you don’t have to wait for a DVD, you can watch an instant viewing movie while you wait… and much more!