A post written last week but i was only just able to publish:
Two things happened last week that gave me mixed feelings about Stephen Elop. on the one hand, i watched a talk he gave at mcmaster university, his alma mater, which largely gave me a new respect. On the other hand, one small section of that interview, combined with a something that happened to a co-worker made me question his management.
The talk at McMaster was eloquent and he was very direct in his message, and in his talk of his time at nokia so far and why he made the changes he did – and i’m talking about windows phone here. He sounded capable of directing the company to achieve the stated aims, and probably, a good choice. In some ways we didn’t learn a lot more about the decision, but the explanations were expanded upon.
He said originally, his thinking was that symbian and meego would continue to be the smartphone strategy, even while they looked at Windows Phone and android. however, the turning point was in discussions with engineers, when it became clear engineers were saying Symbian has deep problems with it that would be hard to fix. It wasn’t in the context of an awkward ui, but came off as sounding like these were issues with the core symbian code. He said this was the turning point in it looking more likely they would use a 3rd party OS.
The bit i had an issue with is around 25 mins when talking about constructive disruption. The switch to windows phone is a major disruption for compqany and industry. Constructive disruption was about taking the employees, the users and fans with them through the changes. In this he has failed, at least to some extent.
The anouncement of the microsoft deal was premature, and certainly more than anyone thought. It turns out negotiations are going well and the details finalized by the end of april. The way the announcement was delivered is “we do windows phone, symbian is dead.” Since then various folks have said no, symbian is alive, and there will be a symbian event on april 12th. However, that many of nokias fans don’t believe it is evidence of this messy message. And this now hits sales.
A co worker went to look at the nokia astound /C7 the other day and was told (i’m paraphrasing) “it’s nice but nokia said their stopping symbian so i’d wait for a windows phone if i were you”. Such devices from nokia are unlikely to see a consumers hand this side of 2012 – nokia hopes to have one out this year. However, if their fans don’t believe, and the folks selling their devices don’t, then this is not constructive disruption.
So elop and nokia thought a lot about how to get the message qacross constructively. Unfortunatly they totally failed to execute on this.
Hopefully the april 12th event will show there is still life in symbian, and nokia, both after windows phone and before.
You can see the video at
courtesy of Ravall .