18
Apr 11

Plight of the PlayBook speechwriter

Some jobs in this world are too daunting for us regular folk to ponder: astronaut … fireman … flagpole sitter … PlayBook speechwriter…

I mean it takes some fancy writing to get around the challenges of a tablet flung into head-on competition with iPad when it’s not yet fully cooked. I can only imagine the call RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie made to his speechwriter before his recent Bloomberg interview.

BALSILLIE: Listen, Tex, I need your help. We gave some PlayBooks out to reporters, and the reviews are coming back pretty bad.

TEX: Geez, Jim. Why’d you go and do something like that? I thought that thing wasn’t going to be ready for another six months.

BALSILLIE: Water under the bridge. I need some good quotes fast. I’m on Bloomberg in an hour.

TEX: Okay, but I get my hazardous duty rate for this.

BALSILLIE: Yeah, whatever. Listen, you can bet your booties that the Bloomberg lady is going to go right for the jugular. She’s going to ask why PlayBook doesn’t have a built-in email client.

TEX: You’re kidding me. It doesn’t? How can you ship a tablet without built-in email?

BALSILLIE: It’s not so bad. You just have to connect it to a BlackBerry and do your email through that.

TEX (covering the receiver to hide his chuckling): If I have my BlackBerry with me, why wouldn’t I just use that to do my email?

BALSILLIE: You’re missing the point. PlayBook is a tablet. People love tablets. They’re buying millions of iPads.

TEX: Well, yeah, but iPad has built-in email.

BALSILLIE: Okay, I’ve got an idea. What if I say, “You can pair it with your BlackBerry for free.” People love free things, right? It’s cool that PlayBook doesn’t have built-in email because you can get it for free by plugging it into your BlackBerry.

TEX: But it’s already free on iPad.

BALSILLIE: Exactly. We’ll both have it for free!

TEX: (eye roll)

BALSILLIE: Good, so we’ll do that. Now about this app thing. Little problem there.

TEX: Like?

BALSILLIE: Like we have 3,000 apps and iPad has over 60,000.

TEX: How about “they’re really, really great apps”?

BALSILLIE: I was thinking of another approach. How about “We’ve got 100,000 apps”?

TEX: You just said you only had 3,000 apps.

BALSILLIE: We do. But we’re going to get more.

TEX: You’re confusing me.

BALSILLIE: We’re figuring out a way to run Android apps on this puppy. Probably in the summer.

TEX: Still, you’d be talking about something you don’t have now. And who knows how well this “Android emulation” thing will really work.

BALSILLIE: Your point?

TEX: Look, I think your best way out of this mess is to just do what Steve Jobs does. Use a lot of superlatives. Keep repeating them.

BALSILLIE: I don’t get it.

TEX: Think style, not substance. I’ve jotted down half a dozen quips here already. Memorize these: “It’s super-super fast.” “It’s ultraportable.” “It’s an amazing platform.” “We’re in an exceptional position.” “I feel incredibly bullish.”

BALSILLIE: Wow. You’re good.

TEX: You can do this, Jim. Remember, they have email, we have email. They have apps, we have apps. They have 3G, we have—

BALSILLIE: Uh, we don’t have 3G yet. Coming soon.

TEX: What? How can you possibly sell a tablet to business people without 3G?

BALSILLIE: Uh … can we just find a superlative for that?

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  • Riz

    Hilarious. You topped yourself Ken. I fell from my chair at the end.

    The moral of the story: The modern corporation is so uncreative that they simply cannot create anything.

    I urge everyone to watch Sir Ken Robinson’s TED piece on how education kills creativity.
    http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

    Unless we change the way our companies work and shareholders allow people like Steve Jobs to have free rein, we are all doomed.

  • Joost

    What I still really don’t get is why would you name a product for the bussinessmarket a PLAYbook?

    And he obviously looks like a moron standing there playing with his Playbook..

  • Bmcfadden

    Add another one to the DOA pile. This is beginning to be a slaughter.