Don’t Stop Listening

Lessons from a former leader.

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While it has been some years now, I admit I used to be a dedicated Blackberry user and could not understand the fascination with the iPhone initially. I knew exactly how my Blackberry worked, I loved the keyboard (or so I thought) and while a Macophile as well, I was reluctant to switch to a new smartphone, even though it was from my favorite PC maker.

And then I had a chance to play with an iPhone and it was all over from there. Over the years, I’ve dabbled with a Motorola RAZR because I was frustrated with the iPhone 4 battery life and lack of ability to add memory, but came running back to the iPhone 5 and happily paid for extra storage space once I realized how clunky, unpredictable and frustrating an Android operating system was for me. Of course, battery life is still an issue if I allow my 4 year old daughter to spend an hour playing her Pudding Monsters, Flutter, Fruit Ninja or Cut The Rope games — but a few minutes of quiet are worth it.

Where does Blackberry fit into this story? I was amused to learn a bit more about how Blackberry is faring these days (not so well) from someone I spoke to last week for one of my articles in today’s issue of Low Power-High Performance. My interviewee mentioned he had read an article about the ailing company and what struck me was the admission that they stopped listening to customers, rationalizing that they knew better. Dedicated Blackberry users wanted the full keyboard, NOT a touchscreen. To say this misstep has cost the company a lot is an understatement.

How often does this happen today and we just don’t hear the horror stories? Take heed innovators, and don’t stop listening to your customers.