It was confirmed this morning that BlackBerry has fired its VP of Sales in the US, Richard Piasentin, amid a bad start for BlackBerry 10 in the largest market in the world. Rumors suggest that this isn't and won't be the only firing that will take place in the coming weeks, as BlackBerry prepares itself for another round of layoffs.
The pressure is definitely on to either put up or shut up, and some executives at BlackBerry are definitely feeling the heat after the last earnings report. Although sales are what is affected the most, so many different parts of BlackBerry make up the reason why certain devices are and aren't purchased. Here's our list of who's seat is getting warm from the pressure of delivering.
1. Marty Mallick - Sr Director of Strategic Business Development, BlackBerry
Although it's not his sole responsibility, over the past few years, Marty Mallick has been in charge of getting the big name apps on board the BlackBerry 10 express. While he and his team have gotten some big names on BlackBerry 10 that many of us did not expect, like Skype, WhatsApp, Amazon Kindle, among others, there are still too many top apps not present in BlackBerry World.
The likes of Instagram, Netflix, Shazam, Rdio, Pinterest, Vine, Snapchat, Google Maps, etc not being available for BlackBerry 10 officially, will definitely turn up the heat on Mallick's position. These lack of some of these apps are the sole reason why some people may have not picked up a Z10 or Q10.
Apps are a part of life, and while it's definitely on the developing company to be willing to make or port their app over to BlackBerry 10, it's BlackBerry's job to make it as irresistible as possible for them to do so.
2. Frank Boulben - Chief Marketing Officer, BlackBerry
Boulben will not be let go anytime soon, but that doesn't mean he and his team haven't been put under even more pressure after a lackluster marketing performance for the Z10 and Q10 in the U.S.
Some will say Boulben is working with a tight budget, and has depended too much on carriers to do some heavy lifting for BlackBerry in the advertising region. Others will point to the Super Bowl ad that was "meh" in the hearts of many. A lot of people out there think it was a missed opportunity to show more of what BlackBerry 10 could do.
3. TAT - The Astonishing Tribe
While TAT's main focus has been working on Cascades and teaming up with QNX to make BlackBerry 10 as beautiful as it is, now is the time to show off what they can do when it comes to crazy cool and different.
BlackBerry 10 was bad ass to start, and came with a lot of novelty. The 10.1 update however didn't really add that much in terms of huge differences or new features. The future 10.2 update however does seem to be bringing back some more "cool" to BB10.
We've seen so many different concept videos (one example) of stuff they've done with PlayBook (second example) and QNX that it just feels like they've been held back a bit, or just maybe haven't had enough time or resources to really go all out.
Gary Klassen, Principal Architect at BlackBerry, recently announced via Twitter he will be moving to Sweden to work directly with TAT and BlackBerry Sweden in the coming weeks. I couldn't be more excited for this combination as both, Klassen and TAT, are some of the most talented and brilliant people BlackBerry has at their disposal right now. I do believe they will come up with some amazing designs and innovations for the next wave of BlackBerry 10.
People are looking for the same wow factor that we felt when we first saw the Time Shift demo, and the BB10 keyboard demo. Those things blew our minds, and BlackBerry needs to blow our minds again.
Now, just to be clear, we're not calling for anyone's head, or anything remotely close that. However, the people and their corresponding groups that we've outlined do need to step it up big time in order for BlackBerry 10 to be a hit. More big name apps are needed, better marketing, and more of a wow factor for future OS updates, that will more than likely equal better sales.