Here’s how Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad last January:
He took the stage in his trademark jeans and black mock turtleneck, held up the tablet computer and described it as a “truly magical and revolutionary product.”
Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of Research In Motion, took a different approach when introducing the BlackBerry PlayBook—his company’s answer to the iPad. He wore a gray suit and a duck-themed tie. He told one set of business journalists:
“There’s tremendous turbulence in the ecosystem, of course, in mobility. And that’s sort of an obvious thing, but also there’s tremendous architectural contention at play. And so I’m going to really frame our mobile architectural distinction. We’ve taken two fundamentally different approaches in their causalness. It’s a causal difference, not just nuance. It’s not just a causal direction that I’m going to really articulate here ... it’s really as fundamental as causalness.”
His words might be brilliant, if only anyone could understand them. And the PlayBook might be a superior product, if onlycould sell it. (The company’s stock and U.S. sales are both down.)
A leader’s ideas are only as good as his ability to cut through the noise.
— Adapted from “RIM’s BlackBerry: Failure to Communicate,” Diane Brady and Hugo Miller, BusinessWeek.