Local Bruisings

I remember about two summers ago seeing a banner over the main street of Waterloo celebrating the fact that 'our fair city' had been rated as the "most intelligent city in Canada". The statement made me shudder.

Yes we have two universities, a host of insurance companies, the immensely successful Research In Motion (maker of the Blackberry multi-task phones) and a variety of software and Intel related companies. The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics has brought in the involvement of Stephen Hawking of Britain.

Spokespersons were likening our city to "Seattle North", Bill Gates and Microsoft reigning over the southern one.

But "pride goeth before what"? A fall? A reversal? A humbling?

This week RIM announcd lay-offs company-wide totalling approximately 2000 out of a global staffing of 19000. A quarter annual statement of earnings had proved disappointing in a period when much attention had shifted to the launch of a new Playbook device. The launch was late and faulty in places and the shareholders' meeting called for carnage, cost-cutting and new marketing.

It grieves me to hear local residents nay-say this extraordinary corporate citizen and local employer. The talk has been very harsh. It is as if Canadians cannot countenance success! Let us remember the powerful security features behind the RIM product line. Let us remember the unequalled philanthropy of key executives Lazaridis and Balsillie in the Region. Even good old Queen Elizabeth II wanted to get a look at this imaginative and popular Company during the past year. Obama wanted his "Blackberry" in the White House.

Recent press suggests that RIM will release seven new phone options over the next year. Let us hope that the shareholders and the Board will be wise enough to maintain the manpower and the morale necessary to see these projects through to success. And that the R and D budget might allow RIM to thrive at or near technology's cutting edge in information and communication.

Mike and Jim are working harder than ever before. The strain is telling. Courageous delegation of parts of the work load must be considered. Slashing for slashing's sake is not the answer. Re-think, re-group, re-load, refresh and return...Research in Motion.


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