Burying Blackberry before the buyers.

Thursday nights on CBC’s National News there is an excellent panel of pundits, usually monitored by news reader Peter Mansbridge. The panellists are Chantal Hébert of the Toronto Star, Andrew Coyne of the National Post and Bruce Anderson of his own consulting firm, Anderson Insight. Their topic last Thursday evening was the supposed demise of the company known as Blackberry. The only concern of this viewer was that the funeral might be premature.

This can happen when you pull a panel of experts out of their field of expertise. With Andrew Coyne’s sardonic view from the political right, he is no apologist for Stephen Harper but he has little sympathy for the other political parties. He looks at the world through political glasses.

Similarly Bruce Anderson frames the world of politics in the mysterious numerology of research. He understands the origin of the numbers so misused by politicians. He brings a greybeard’s credibility to the panel.

Chantal Hébert’s expertise is in bridging Canada’s language divide. In both her writings and her commentary, she disguises her personal feelings well and you get a relatively dispassionate discourse. And she is most often right.

But all three were teetering on the brink trying to discuss how Canadians feel about the fiasco at Blackberry. The former Research in Motion rose fast, lived hard and appears to be dying young in the volatile world of telecommunications. Those of us unable to type with our thumbs lost out on the experience.

The only problem is that we should consider putting off the eulogies until there is something to embalm. If we had buried Apple every time the business pundits said it was dead, we would have had to attend a lot more funerals.

And while the CBC panel had interesting points, they had no real expertise in the question of whether Canadians need Canadian business success stories. While they might give you a comfy feeling, you would really rather the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup.

Remember that the two greatest business success stories in Canada’s history are the Canadian Pacific Railway and Bell Canada. And lots of Canadians hate those two companies with unrestrained passion. In more than a few years in public relations for business in Canada, we have found that people care more about companies acting as good citizens than their origins.


Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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