Morning Coffee Jul 13 2011

RIM Courts Stakeholders

By joseph walker

Research In Motion has a lot of relationship-repair work to do -- with both its investors and employees.

At yesterday's shareholder meeting, the Canadian smartphone maker was criticized by some investors for management blunders that have caused the company's stock price to be cut in half over the past year. But the company avoided open revolt when the shareholders re-elected its board of directors.

Meanwhile, wireless carriers like Verizon are publicly supportive, but behind closed doors have doubts about the direction of the company at a time when they are fearful of a Google and Apple duopoly over the smartphone market. RIM has already lost the confidence of many app developers, and its courtship of the carriers could make a big difference in its long-term viability.

RIM avoided a shareholder vote on breaking up its joint chairman-CEO structure by setting up an independent committee to evaluate its wisdom. The investor who originally called for the vote, Northwest & Ethical Investments LP, now says the company has six months to prove that the leadership structure is tenable.

Whether the company can salvage these external relationships will have a big impact on whether it can bridge the growing rift between it and its workforce. Word is that RIM employees are restless over planned layoffs and frustrated with the snail's pace with which management has reacted to the threat from Apple and Google. (WSJ, NYT, Bloomberg)



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Start-up Your Career (NYT)

Thomas Friedman talks with LinkedIn's Reid Hoffman about making a career in the 21st century. Just as entrepreneurs have to innovate or perish, so do employees who won't be evaluated on their performance annually, but every quarter.

Related: Becoming a LinkedIn VP at 31



Talking Smack (Think Outside In)

You always get the juiciest details from ex-employees. Googler turned Facebook product manager Paul Adams has taken to his blog to explain why he left Google, the idea behind "Social Circles" and what he's doing at Facebook. (Hat tip to AllThingsD.)



Age Old Question (Venture Capital Dispatch)

Now that Electronic Arts' billion-dollar purchase of social gaming maker PopCap has been made official, we've got some insight into why the company decided to go the acquisition route rather than issue an IPO as had been expected.



Verizon Plays Hardball (WSJ)

The contracts of 45,000 unionized Verizon employees will expire in August, and the telecom giant is taking the opportunity to wring concessions from its workers.



VMware Vies For Cloud Dominance (Bits)

Silicon Valley's VMware unveiled a bunch of new products yesterday, which suggests the company is looking to do all things "cloud" for all consumers and clients, just as Microsoft once did with its Office software suite.



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Here are some stories from the early days of Google, like how employees got smashed on a ski trip while the teetotalling Larry Page slept nearby. And how employees could be recommended by peers for $1,000 bonuses when they helped out a different department.



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Buzz Around the Office



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You try delivering the news after being doused by thousands of gallons of water.



List of the Day: Career Sabotage

Here are some things you may be doing that could sink your career.

1. Blaming someone else.

2. Putting yourself first.

3. Thinking you know better.

4. Feeling entitled.

5. Believing there's a magic secret to getting ahead other than energy and focus.

(Source: BNet)

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