I have noticed an alarming trend in the BlackBerry community. I’m sure it’s always been there, in some form or another, but it seems that people are getting much more vocal about it. And I think it is time for a bit of a reality check.
Let me start with an example. I had a conversation with a developer today through social media. I had spotted him calling out to BlackBerry, complaining about what he sees as a lack of effort by BlackBerry to support developers. Specifically, he had obtained the coveted “Built for BlackBerry” status and had expectations that to me were unrealistic. His issue was that his app had not achieved the amount of downloads that he would consider acceptable. Me being the person I am, saw what I saw as negative commentary towards BlackBerry and of course had to jump in and figure out what was going on. After all… this was a developer of a Built for BlackBerry app that was not happy. But why?
After some conversation, it seems that this developer wants BlackBerry to market his app for him. Being in the Built for BlackBerry category is simply not enough for him. If I understand correctly, he wants BlackBerry to build a suite of apps from developers, and market these apps to enterprise customers. Now… before I get too carried away, I am leaving the developer unnamed because honestly, he seems like a nice guy who is developing for BlackBerry. I would rather support him than fight him.
We spoke about his expectations for his app, and how he was in the red as far as costs to create vs what he has earned off of downloads. I was having to bite my tongue a bit at the beginning because he was accusing BlackBerry for his lack of downloads. As we were speaking, I went and purchased his app.
Without going in to specifics of his app (let’s call it a utilities app) it serves a specific function, and a function that is served by numerous apps in BlackBerry World. He’s competing with free apps and 99 cent apps. His app costs $1.99. Additionally, his app has not been updated since November of last year, and his most recent reviews are saying that the app does not work. These are major strikes against getting downloads. Absolutely none of these issues are the fault of BlackBerry. In all fairness to the developer, I downloaded the app, I tried it. It’s a nice native app. You can tell time was spent on it. It works perfectly. I could not get the errors that the reviewers said they got.
It’s not just a few disappointed developers. I have seen bloggers calling out to BlackBerry telling them how to do things. Calling for BlackBerry to have functions, to focus on the consumer, to have kiosks in malls and colleges, to add every new function and every highest spec to each device. Truthfully, I would LOVE to see this happen. But let’s be realistic here…
BlackBerry is a company in transition. They are in the middle of a turnaround. BlackBerry has been bleeding money, and needs to stop bleeding, and start earning again. BlackBerry is not Apple or Google with deep pockets to spend willy nilly. They need to be strategic regarding where this money is invested, to where they can get the highest return, and with that return, have more money to spend on the next phase. This is reality. And I don’t understand how so many of our community, those with the loudest of voices it sometimes seems, have such a lack of sense of reality, but a huge sense of entitlement.
Look what BlackBerry has done with the Z3. It was a pinpoint strategy. They designed and built the right phone for the right market, with the right partners, and the right marketing. And it has been a success. Enough to pull BlackBerry out of the hole it’s been in for the last year? Probably not. But one big step in getting there. And a step that will lead to the next step.
We live in a “Want it now!” time. I understand that. And when it comes to my BlackBerry devices, I too want it now. But would I rather wait for it, and continue to have it in the future? Or get it now and not have any BlackBerry 2 years from now. The answer is obvious to me. I’m more concerned about the future of BlackBerry than having the highest megapixel camera, or having a fair to go to with other BlackBerry fans this year.
I’m pleading with the BlackBerry community. Developers and bloggers. You chose this path because you liked BlackBerry.
You chose BlackBerry.
We know that BlackBerry is fighting for a return to greatness. And with Chen at the helm, this is more than just a possibility now. It is happening. And when known people in the BlackBerry community make attacks on BlackBerry pretending that they know how to run the company better than our man Chen, that does not help BlackBerry, the community, or your chances of having a new BlackBerry flagship with all the bells and whistles you ‘want now’. It makes you no better than Jonathon Geller over at BGR who trolls BlackBerry just for fun.
As a former employer of mine used to say, “Do you want to be part of the solution, or part of the problem?”
I will be part of the solution. How about you?
And while we’re at it…
Suck it Geller.