Review of “Losing the Signal”
The authors have done an admirable job of chronicling the history of the company now known as Blackberry Ltd. This would not have been possible without the unparalleled access they were granted to the key players, including Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, the two opposites who were co-CEOs for much of Blackberry’s existence.
The book is mostly a chronological narrative and is written in an easy-to-read manner. The authors have managed to include enough “techie” information to satisfy most of the geekier readers without making the book boring. They touch on the myriad of things that led to Blackberry’s downfall without offering up much in terms of what Blackberry could have done differently, although the “what-ifs” will occupy armchair quarterbacks for a long time.
One of the most striking things about the whole saga is how Blackberry went from a start-up, driven, focused, entrepreneurial firm to one that essentially stalled out, burdened-with a bloated staff, outdated products, and no single vision for the future. Of course, much of the infighting that characterized Blackberry’s more recent years was caused by the rift that occurred between Lazaridis and Balsillie. Clearly, a co-CEO model is inherently unstable.