A Tale of Two Companies

When figuring out which companies to work with we are often sifting through tea leaves looking for hints of future success. Do they say the right things? Are they focused on the right priorities? Do we align with sales and products and do I believe the past is an indicator of the future for this organization?

The mobile market has been my home for the past 14 years and I have tried to read between the lines for each one for quite some time. A couple of weeks ago two companies were both being hounded by the press. Their reactions to press comments are quite revealing. Here’s Company #1:

It may seem odd, but from my perspective, this [criticism] means we are being taken very seriously. [Company #1] is an important company and it’s under scrutiny from journalists—this [being criticized] is exactly how it’s supposed to work. Now it’s our job to prove the reporters wrong so they can write an article later about how we have made dramatic progress.

Company #2:

I don’t think that’s fair. A lot of the people who want this want a secure and free extension of their [Company #2 Product].

I should also note that Company #2’s co-CEO stood up and walked out on a BBC interview because he apparently didn’t like the question.

If the last paragraph didn’t clue you in, Company #2 is RIM. I have never heard a company more defensive than this one. Sure it is being attacked from all sides these days but that is war and RIM needs to fight.

The first quote is Biz Stone of Twitter, whose company has also been blasted in the press and by customers recently for a number of things, including the advertising quickbar which was renamed dickbar by customers and removed shortly thereafter. His quote is much more conciliatory, much more accepting of the role of the press and much more positive in its outlook. (He may curse them out privately but he isn’t publicly!)

Now… which company seems to be more stable and which company — both of which are trying to attract developers — comes across as the more appropriate partner? That answers easy.

For the record, we don’t develop with Twitter’s API and have developed for the BlackBerry. Also, for the record, I played with the PlayBook for about two minutes last night. My first impressions? Nice UI and navigation once you know how to use it but generally unintuitive (it was explained to me and then it made sense), the on/off button is the worst I have ever seen (I couldn’t turn it on or off) and the device felt heavy for its size. Not enough time to play with the apps but those can be fixed more easily then hardware and fundamental design decisions anyway.