In case you missed it last week, the Blackberry Board of Directors issued a press release announcing that BlackBerry Limited …a world leader in the mobile communications market, today announced that the Company's Board of Directors has formed a Special Committee to explore strategic alternatives to enhance value and increase scale in order to accelerate BlackBerry 10 deployment. These alternatives could include, among others, possible joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, a sale of the Company or other possible transactions.

In other words, how can it start making money?

According to the Gartner research firm, Blackberry had 51% of the North American smartphone market four years ago. Now it has just 3.4%.

It’s not for me to say what they should have done and shouldn’t have done. That will be the topic of B-School case studies probably being written as you’re reading this article.

But I can say this. The real reason was that Blackberry’s world changed, and it didn’t.

Sound familiar?

Of course it does if you’re in the financial service industry. Demographic, social, economic, legislative, and regulatory changes will continue to impact on how we conduct our business, and perhaps even determine what business we’re in.

In our world, the ability to respond to transformative change is a survival skill to which we can take two approaches:

  • Les Stroud, the 21st Century Survivor Man, or
  • John Donne, the English poet whose 1624 poem, Meditation XVII, includes the famous phrase "No man is an island.”

I’ll go 17th Century.

Jerry Kalish is an Advisory Board member for Employee Benefit Adviser and President of National Benefit Services, Inc., a Chicago-based third party administrator. He is a Guest Lecturer at John Marshall School of Law LLM Program in Employee Benefits and services on the Great Lakes IRS Advisory Council for Tax Exempt and Government Entity Plans. Jerry has been publishing The Retirement Plan Blog since 2006. He can be reached via email at and followed on Twitter.



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