Jesse Hicks of The Verge has written an excellent story on the history of Research In Motion–from founder Mike Lazaridis’s Lego experiments as a four-year-old all the way through to its current woes, with lots of interesting tidbits along the way.
No matter how much you think you know about RIM and the BlackBerry, there’s lots of stuff here that you either never heard about in the first place or have forgotten:
As [Lazaridis] imagined it, retailers could use his wireless, programmable displays to replace printed advertising. Though he admitted having almost no business experience, his economics professor convinced him of the idea’s viability. With his childhood friend and fellow engineer Doug Fregin, he decided to take the risk. The 23-year-old Lazaridis had his company; after running through a few names, he dubbed it Research In Motion.
It’s a long, balanced, rewarding read–it feels like a short book–and for me, the most interesting part doesn’t involve all the difficulties of recent years. Those are fresh in our minds, and well documented. It’s the story of how RIM got so successful in the first place. Before Lazaridis started to have trouble picturing the future of communications, he saw it as well as anyone. If history is kind, he’ll be remembered for playing as big a role as anyone in inventing the era of pervasive connectivity that we live in today.
(MORE: Why the BlackBerry Is All Thumbs)