If Thorsten Only Reads One Thing...

...it should be this letter from Carmi Levy.

Yes, the Blackberry 10 delay is a huge problem and millions of Blackberry fans are waiting with less and less patience but I think the real problem RIM has is their marketing and PR approach. From Carmi's letter:

Can you also take another look at your PR/marketing efforts? Because they’re just not working. You can’t claim everything is okay when every shred of evidence points to the contrary. Your messaging smacks of the old, insular RIM, and it won’t fly now. You need to cozy up to all levels of media – not just national, but also the local and regional outfits that supported the company long before its rise – by actively returning calls, warmly welcoming journalists onto your campus and helping them better understand what you’re trying to do and how you’re going to do it. In short, you need to change the script. Or ditch the script altogether.

Bingo. RIM needs a big dose of transparency. I'm not talking about more carefully orchestrated and controlled product demos, but open and honest conversations about the challenges that the engineers are facing and how they are overcoming them. They don't need to reveal anything top secret, but just talking about the process at all would be a step in the right direction.

Polished teaser videos or lists of Fs & Bs won't cut it. RIM must allow some of their actual engineers (whomever is left anyways...) to talk to some savvy tech journalist (like Carmi) and have a real conversation. Apple-like secrecy only works when you have a strong track record of success to build on. Apple doesn't need to talk about the next iPhone until it's ready, because they've established that virtually every product they release is great and comes out pretty much on schedule. RIM can't play that game.

RIM's only shot here is to change the rules. Put down the press releases and op-eds and pick up the phone, write some blog posts (and leave the corp-speak behind) and do some real interviews. Hopefully Thorsten reads Carmi's letter sooner rather than later.