When I started working as a hotel sales manager we used MiKE phones on the old Telus push-to-talk network. I didn’t own a smart-phone until 2007, when our hotel group decided to arm its sales staff and senior management with the new Blackberry Curve.

Email on-the-go was a game changer for sales staff, who were no longer tied to their desks. Sales quotas and customer service standards were increased, as expectations were to respond to clients and fulfill requests within hours.

Losing the Signal

By 2009, Blackberry controlled half the smart-phone market. Today that number is less than one percent. A new book by Globe and Mail reporters Sean Silcoff and Jacquie McNish explores the rise and fall of one of the most iconic companies in Canadian history.

Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry, gives readers an inside look at how Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie built the fastest growing company in the world before a series of internal missteps, coupled with the entry of Apple and Google into the smart-phone business, led to Blackberry’s downfall.

The book is highly entertaining, from Jim Balsillie’s Art of War business style, out-maneuvering rivals and shrewdly negotiating with mobile networks and carriers, to Mike Lazaridis and his quiet genius that took Research in Motion from its humble beginnings above a bagel store in Ontario and turned it into a global power.

The authors did an outstanding job – the book reads more like a novel than a case study – digging into the fast-paced world of technology and explaining some of the distractions that plagued RIM at the worst possible time. From patent-trolls, to an investigation by the Ontario Securities Commission over improper back-dating of employee stock options, to Balsillie’s relentless pursuit to own an NHL franchise, all while Apple was changing the smart-phone market right in front of their eyes.

We’re giving away a copy of Losing the Signal to one lucky Boomer & Echo reader – just leave a comment below and you’ll be entered for a chance to win.

You can also buy a copy here.

This Week’s Recap

On Monday I wrote about the challenge of balancing a full time job along with many side projects and a busy young family.

On Wednesday Marie described the conflict of interest in many sales professions.

And on Friday I asked whether it’s a form of buyer’s regret that has many home owners rushing to pay down their mortgages.


Earlier this month I took advantage of an incredible offer from TD for its First Class Travel Visa Infinite card. Sign up before July 31st and you’ll get 20,000 travel points ($100 value), plus if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days you’ll get an additional 20,000 points. Not only that, you’ll also get a $100 gift card to one of these retailers:

  • Amazon.ca
  • Starbucks
  • Best Buy
  • Ultimate Dining Card

Get this offer today.

Weekend Reading:

One of the best investment bloggers today is Ben Carlson and he has a new book out called A Wealth of Common Sense. Look for my review shortly, but in the meantime enjoy this Q&A with Ben.

Later today we’re taking our girls to see Pixar’s latest film, Inside Out. It’s a surprisingly accurate representation of how memory actually works.

Here’s why the robots are coming . . . to put you in an index fund.

John Manley described the Canadian Dairy industry as “the last Soviet-style economic regime on the planet.”

How people throw away good money every day. SquawkFox Kerry Taylor explains:

When it comes to buying a new car, we’re taught to haggle to try and get the best deal. Here’s why car dealer’s profit is much lower than you think.

You don’t have infinite money. Spend it on stuff that research says makes you happy.

Here are 9 ways to make your kids smarter about money.

Is there such thing as the perfect portfolio? WealthSimple’s Dave Nugent says it doesn’t exist.

Most financial advisors are focused on the years leading up to, but not necessarily including, retirement. Is your advisor retirement ready?

The Motley Fool shares 3 retirement-crushing unforeseen circumstances.

Sheryl Smolkin explains what the new RRIF withdrawal rules will mean for you.

My Own Advisor explains why “we can’t afford it” remains taboo.

Our Big Fat Wallet had a good experience getting a credit card upgrade.

From arrival to retirement – Million Dollar Journey shares an immigrant family’s success story.

Death by boredom. Rob Carrick and Moshe Milevsky explain the problem of teaching financial literacy.

Alan Whitton describes some symptoms that your debt load is getting out of control.

These powerful photos of people living with debt will make you feel not alone.

Parents downsized to a $400,000 small house and now the kids are embarrassed.

And finally, Michael James on Money describes how guilt-free spending can be accomplished through good planning.

Have a great weekend, everyone! Don’t forget to leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of Losing the Signal.

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