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Have Blackberry missed the point?

July 14, 2009

A TechCrunch article yesterday announced that Blackberry are launching a social network of sorts designed to give Berry users a targeted experience. I suspect this is in response to the dismal download numbers from the Blackberry App Store. I can’t help but wonder, have these guys missed the point?

If you want a social network you’d better think long and hard as to why you’re building something new rather than building on Facebook, LinkedIn, Hi5, MySpace, etc. All of these sites will allow API applications which allow you to build on their success and user base rather than starting one from new.

If you want to attract downloads through your app store then make sure it’s fast, it’s elegant and it’s easily searchable. Most importantly make sure there are new apps appearing regularly.

Neither of those are the point though. I sometimes think strategists get so focused on one idea, i.e. “App store is not working, let’s make a brilliant social network and we’ll get more downloads” rather than thinking why the idea in the first place, i.e. “How do we make the Blackberry experience more sticky by getting people engaged in their Blackberry user experience?”

I like to hope that if that there was focus on the second question, the decision to spend development effort could be focused where it will drive the most desirable response rather than the idea that’s easiest to explain in a catchy elevator pitch.

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