blackberries Documenting the meteoric rise and equally disastrous decline of a company that changed the way we communicate. Research In Motion (RIM) was founded in Waterloo, Canada by best friends Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin. They fought hard in the sea of cruel commercial competition until their destiny made a connection with the vicious shark. Jim Balsillie bullied, screamed, and used unscrupulous means to get to the top. The journey of these three men and their very different personalities is fascinating. blackberries Both a triumph of innovation and a cautionary tale of blind arrogance.
Mike (Jay Baruchel) and Doug (Matt Johnson) rush to an important meeting in Sutherland-Schultz, where punk rock screeches from an old Honda Civic. They messed up the presentation material while trying to set it up. The white-haired, brilliant Mike became obsessed with the static hum of cheap walkie-talkies. As a panicked Doug tries to find the paper clip, he tries to figure things out.
Jim (Glenn Howerton Glenn Howerton) walked into the room with a fierce expression. The engineers crumbled under his glare. Mike sheepishly tried to explain their Pocket Link design. A revolutionary smartphone that can send and receive messages. Jim already has a pager. who cares? Mike corrected him. This device sends e-mails over a network signal.
an amazing offer
Mike and Doug return to the office dejected. They are out of money. A multimillion-dollar modem deal with US Robotics has yet to be paid. An employee noticed that his salary was being returned.Freewheeling Doug calms fears – stop working and let’s see Movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. Meanwhile, at Sutherland-Schultz, Jim’s aggressive behavior was no longer tolerated. The next day he called Mike and Doug for lunch. They were shocked when Jim offered to inject cash into RIM’s 50% stake and become the company’s new CEO.
blackberry The sublime first act sets the stage for a perfect storm. Mike is a genius with no business acumen. His reserved and critical personality prevents people from taking him seriously. Triple-duty Doug, played by director/co-writer Johnson, is hilariously out of character and doesn’t play by the rules. He pampered his employees with a fun environment that fostered creativity but failed to generate productivity. Jim the Chinaman, as we all know, immediately ceased all non-work-related activities. He rules by fear and intimidation. Jim doesn’t care about hurt feelings or bruised ego. You cringe as Jim cracks down on dissent and everyone scrambles to hide from his wrath.
blackberries Rightfully credited for their initial success. Jim learned that bravado doesn’t win over a Fortune 500 board. He attended key meetings but didn’t have the technical expertise to unravel RIM’s capabilities. Mike’s engineering skills solve problems plaguing the industry. His smartphone design and its beautiful keyboard won a gold medal. A time jump to 2003 shows RIM’s market penetration and dominance. Users coined the term “cranberry” because they couldn’t put their phones down.
lack of vision
RIM conquered the world, but fell prey to hubris and duplicity as another giant entered the game. Apple’s iPhone does incredible things. It completely removes the keyboard from the fullscreen interface. One fascinating scene has Mike and Doug watching Steve Jobs’ legendary speech, and they’re shocked by the starkly different reactions. Doug, an integral participant though threatened, realizes they have to change their thought process. Mike doesn’t believe consumers will give up on keyboards. This lack of foresight took a severe hit as Jim’s plot came under scrutiny from government watchdogs.
Johnson (Dirty, Operation Avalanche) craft personal comedy stories with a moral compass. RIM started as a dedicated team of smart friends. Jim brought the discipline and needed guidance, but fundamentally changed the company’s culture. They have been amazingly successful. blackberries A hilarious reminder that greatness is never guaranteed to last. Canada’s once most valuable company was just a shell of its predecessor.
blackberries is a Rhombus Media and Zapruder Films production. IFC Films opens May 12.