It is disconcerting to watch a company that you like or value, to disintegrate before your eyes. Not too long ago, Palm tanked. Before that, what about Compaq? And if we stretch back to the mid 90s, the technical titan, Digital Equipment Company, or DEC as it was known.
The pundits are saying that Research in Motion (RIM), the company behind Blackberry was too arrogant and dismissed the iPhone challenge. I'm not so sure it was arrogance. DEC certainly perceived the personal PC replacing minicomputers and like RIM, made several attempts to change its product line. But like RIM, it simply could not produce a product much different from the one that made it successful, even though customers were clearly wanting something different.
Reflecting upon these failures, they seem to be genetic. The DNA of RIM and DEC would not allow them to adapt. Two modern-day companies that seem to evolve are General Electric and IBM, but I don't consider them leaders in technology. They have excellent business leadership that has taken advantage of their human and financial capital and successfully changed product lines. But when did IBM last introduce something like the IBM 360? Okay, perhaps the IBM PC. But after 1981?
It is a leadership dilemma isn't it? How to be focused sufficiently to be successful, but quickly sight the next product, whether it be on the technology horizon, or at our feet. It is a very short list of those who have that vision.