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Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry

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4.03  ·  Rating details ·  2,416 ratings  ·  209 reviews

In 2009, BlackBerry controlled half of the smartphone market. Today that number is one percent. What went so wrong?

Losing the Signal is a riveting story of a company that toppled global giants before succumbing to the ruthlessly competitive forces of Silicon Valley. This is not a conventional tale of modern business failure by fraud and greed. The rise and fall of BlackBe

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Kindle Edition, 290 pages
Published May 26th 2015 by Flatiron Books (first published April 7th 2015)
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Stephanie
OK, I admit it, I really love my Blackberry (still). My attempt at the iPhone ended so badly that I gave it to my daughter (who hated it as much as I did and promptly swapped it for an Android), so yes, I'm not a fan of the iPhone, unlike seemingly every other person on the planet.

So I've always been curious how a company with such an awesome product as Blackberry could go so wrong.

Overall this is a pretty fascinating look into how the fate of RIM played out as driven by the two founders' perso
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Jean
This is the story of a Canadian Company RIM whose first office was above a bagel store in Ontario. The authors tell the story of visionary engineer, Mike Lazaridis, and an abrasive Harvard Business school graduate, Jim Balsillie. Together they engineered a pioneering packet email device that became the tool of choice for business executives.

At the very moment Blackberry was ranked the world’s fastest growing company, internal feuds and chaotic growth crippled the company as it faced the entry of
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Bing Gordon
Oct 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a scary book for any successful company founder. It is stunning how quickly you can squander your company by over-confidence and lack of listening.
Mac
Jun 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Losing the Signal is an enjoyable telling of the rise and fall of BlackBerry, built around the success and eventual failure of Research in Motion's two founders, the visionary engineer Mike Lazaridis and the super aggressive salesman and deal maker Jim Balsillie. The ultimate collapse is due in part to their poor management and bad decisions as they tried to respond to the rapidly changing landscape in the world of mobile communication. With the entry of Apple and Google into the mobile phone ma ...more
Sagar Jethani
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tech
An insightful account of the rise and fall of BlackBerry. While its travails may seem self-evident to anyone with an Android or Apple phone, the author reminds the reader just how impenetrable Blackberry's market dominance seemed as recently as 2006. Ultimately, the founders, Balsillie and Lazardis come across as hopelessly inept at running their company-- a classic case of founder's syndrome. The demise of BlackBerry is a painful account, and McNish does a great job detailing every barb along t ...more
Timothy W Cox
Jun 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating

This book is well written and fast paced. Technology is just a hobby for me but RIM's story is one of triumph but ultimately failure. Regardless of brand loyalty the deeper story was something I never knew and was an interesting read.
Joshua Gans
May 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book. Every MBA/Business person should read it. Gives a great account. I couldn't put it down.

The only issue is it doesn't give you lessons from this and you have to work it out for yourself. But that was find with me.
David W.
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think every MBA student should read it and learn from it.
Katherine
Mar 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I worked at BlackBerry from 2007-2012. I was in a technical role, part of a small group that had a wide scope and interacted with many people at senior levels in the company. I had a close up view of the rise and fall of BlackBerry, joining about a year before the peak and leaving before it hit bottom. (Good timing? I guess so.)

I’ve been itching to read this, but was reluctant to pay the full price of $14.99. I’m cheap like that. Finally found it on sale in January.

It was fascinating reading - t
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Shawn
May 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable read - largely as I feel I have lived through much of it - if only by adjacency.
The authors have woven together an entertaining story drawing colour from extensive interviews.
From the outset, the challenge facing the authors is to attempt to capture the great promise and heady times of RIM success without overshadowing the current sense of imminent demise. In this the authors manage a solid job - but there is always an implicit sense of 'this was the decision at the time, but we ca
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Phil Simon
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
An excellent post-mortem on an erstwhile tech behemoth. I loved the reporting, writing, and insider quotes. This is a meticulously researched yet fast-moving account of bureaucracy and rapid disruption. Well done.

(Disclaimer: the publisher sent me a copy of the book for a potential review and/or interview.)
Michael Hames
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book provided a very good write up of the rise and fall of RIM/Blackberry. If you're at all interested in what happened I highly recommend this book.
Ru
Jun 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Losing the Signal" is a very impressive cautionary tale about the emergence of the BlackBerry as the pre-eminent portable mobile device, and its subsequent fall from grace. As the BlackBerry is still widely available and in use around the world, perhaps "fall" is not exactly the correct word, but certainly it has lost its ranking rather precipitously, to be sure. The authors, Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff, do a great job of outlining a series of outright failures that contributed to this decl ...more
Matt Beckwith
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bob
Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was a big fan of Blackberry a few years ago. This book is a fascinating look at how the people running RIM totally dropped the ball when the Iphone came out. The section on the Storm debacle is amazing. RIM had to rush the phone because they were too late responding to Apple's take on smartphones. They were arrogant. Very interesting how RIM basically screwed over Verizon, it is no surprise that they now have no support in the US. I can't believe that a company that was once so successful coul ...more
Sulayman
Oct 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're interested in the Tech world, this is a pretty interesting story. BlackBerry was a major player in the cell phone and smartphone game, they had a seemingly-unbeatable lead when Apple announced the iPhone in 2007 and took the world by storm. The book tells the story of BlackBerry's amazing rise and their surprising fall. It was a small startup that became a $20 Billion company, matching Apple's start in many ways.
Anton
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and captivating read.

Speaks of the dangers of growing too quickly, imbalanced incentives, and not ensuring product-market fit.

There must be a very substantial other side to this story, because I don't think that RIM would have discounted the necessity of understanding customer values as routinely as this book suggests.
Christian
May 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The narrative was great. More than just a story about blackberry, but it's about how a company found a niche offering and the hurdles it needed to overcome. I also learned a lot about the mobile industry as a whole, and found answers to questions that I've had for a while? "Why wasn't BBM offered on iPhones?" You'll learn why.
Brandon
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A dramatic narrative and unabashedly Canadian. Fast, entertaining read.
Alex Keats
Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very interesting read on how BlackBerry ran out of juice ... (¬‿¬)
Andre Ramsey
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Losing the Signal" is the Holy Grail of disruptive tech. You can't put a price on the lessons learned in this book.
Keyton
Mar 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
A tech darling and downfall, Canadian-style.

Light on the technology, and not as thoughtful or reflective as I'd expected, but it is a great walkthrough of RIM's founders, product development, and the turning points for the company and wireless markets.

A few lessons from BlackBerry's breakthroughs and near-demise:
- RIM grew, but never matured. The leadership, culture, and structure that help small businesses make it big are fundamentally different from the qualities needed for a big company to s
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Em
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I knew two things about RIM and BlackBerry before I read this book: 1) once upon a time, a lot of people had BlackBerries, and, 2) no one has one now. Since I knew nothing about the company, the book was a little difficult to follow at first because it kept flicking between the childhoods of the founders and I couldn't keep track of who was who. As the book continued, however, things became clearer.

It's an entertaining, interesting and scary read. The book is well-researched and contains useful
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Diego Leal
Feb 13, 2018 rated it liked it
I admire strong leaders who inspire others around them to give their best for the company. In this case the founders and co-CEOs of this Canadian company led the way and created the largest Tech company in Canada. Great lessons in outmaneuvering the big telecomm companies and carriers, The Art of War concepts were well applied. Even good takeways from their eventual demise the need for a clear leadership structure, get rid of co-ceos who were not able to be good partners, get rid of a Board full ...more
Todd McKinnon
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. My Take-aways

- striking reminder of how fast we've come in mobile tech in the past 15 years.
- never bet against the underlying computing power, network speed, network capacity improving
- winners and losers are determined by big macro shifts and who's ahead of those shifts and "gets them right".
Alex Vorobieff
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Entertaining and informative

Authors piece together the story of rise and fall of company. Many companies are dysfunctional but rarely one that rise to the heights RIM achieved. The early insight of a full key board with tactile feel, long battery and efficient data usage helped blackberry create a new market but it also anchored it. The company was anchored to a product instead of a purpose and the two ceos pulled the company in different strategic directions. A classic story of misalignment as
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Ravi Kant Yadav
Jun 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Blackberry Curve was the first smartphone which I truly desired, It was to my rookie eyes a truly smart experience. And then came iPhone. I still remember checking my Bank of America balance on iPhone browser and was literally blown away. It was a seas apart from what crap browsing experience was on Blackberry, which lets say was a 'piece of shit' due to lack of better term. And, then came the App Store which multiplied the utility of iPhone manyfolds. Though to be fair, email experience on blac ...more
Gilles
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-text, own-ebook
This book is an inside look at the story of RIM and BlackBerry's beginnings, rapid rise, and rapid decent as told via interviews with the founders and a large assortment of other players in their story. The willingness and honesty of founders Lazaridis and Balsillie in detailing what went on behind closed doors, as well as the interviews with everyone ranging from carrier partners to even as far as people who had been screwed by RIM, is quite astounding. The interviews were conducted separately, ...more
Jim Knight
May 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. If you remember the ascent and subsequent descent of RIM/Blackberry, you will find this book enjoyable I think.

It goes back to the beginning tracing the path of the two founders. Those stories are usually very entertaining and this one is as well.

Everything was going great until the iPhone came out. It's funny because even though the founder had read "The Innovator's Dilemma", they still seemed to fall into it. It's hard to put a finger on what they did wrong but I guess if
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Carla
Jul 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2015, dutch
I loved this description of a Canadian start up that grew up to the stars and then fell hard. Maybe I'm biased because I worked at RIM/BlackBerry for almost 4 years, but there was so much information about the company that I didn't know. I only knew about its history vaguely and even being in the company, often I knew just as much as what appeared in the newspaper. The book mainly is about the period of the two co-CEO's, very little about Thorsten Heins and even less about John Chen. People ofte ...more
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Jacquie McNish was born in Peterborough, Ontario, shortly after which she moved with her family through a series of leafy suburbs in the United States and Canada.
She has spent her professional career in Toronto and New York with The Wall Street Journal and the Globe and Mail. She is the author or co-author of four books, the latest of which is: Losing The Signal, The Untold Story Behind the Extra
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“Fred Vogelstein summed up iPhone’s impact that day in his book Dogfight with a quote by Google engineer Chris DeSalvo: “We’re going to have to start over.” 3 likes
“In the technology sector failure is often a precondition to future successes, while prosperity can be the beginning of the end. If the rise and fall of BlackBerry teaches us anything it is that the race for innovation has no finish line, and that winners and losers can change places in an instant.” 2 likes
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