Don't be a Blackberry: adapt and learn new skills such as sales to succeed in your career

Updated: Mar 24



Today, many people know of only two phone operating systems: the Ios and the Android. But probably only the people in their 30s remember the Blackberry.

There was a time that Blackberry was synonymous with the business class. Its easy-to-use keyboard, powerful business features, and slick design led to many thinking that Blackberry would take over the market.

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Then a little-known company cropped up all of a sudden called apple—they created impressive and modern phones with a full touchscreen display. Almost at the same time, Samsung, a company primarily known for manufacturing TVs and other home appliances, also ventured into making phones. Samsung, though, did not throw all their eggs in one basket. Instead, they created different types of phones with one main flagship phone.


Apple and Samsung had stepped into the market to rival Blackberry. Now here is where things get interesting.


Blackberry being used even in sitcoms in the early 2000s


Blackberry thought they had the market and did not see a need to adapt. Numerous interviews with the higher-ups at Blackberry showed this.


Time and again, Blackberry was asked if they thought the new touch screen phones would threaten Blackberry. The answer was often similar, “touch screens are just a fad. No true business person would use them.”


How wrong they were because as soon as they started making these statements, Samsung and Apple were making user-friendly phones ready to adapt to the market needs.


By the time Blackberry realized that touch phones were not a fad, it was too late for them. The market had moved forward without them. Many people wanted apps that were accessible across platforms with minor restrictions. Android and Apple realized this and created the Google Store and Apple Store that allowed almost anyone to set up a mobile app in their stores.


On the other hand, getting your app into the Blackberry Store proved almost impossible. At the same time, Whatsapp was a growing influence in messaging platforms. Blackberry resisted WhatsApp for so long, even though most people who had a smartphone preferred using WhatsApp. People opted for android or Apple to ensure they can easily communicate with everyone else.


Blackberry CEO: We love our qwerty keyboard users and we intend to continue making it with the Q10.

Blackberry realized that it could not simply dictate the market and decided to partner with android. But even with their partnership, Blackberry proved difficult and unwilling to adapt. They still put out phones with both touch screens and a keyboard. The result? Bulky phones that looked rushed and just trying to appease the market.


This was the final straw for many people, and many “canceled” Blackberry. Not because they made primarily bad phones, but because they refused to listen to the market's demands.

What does this mean for you trying to succeed in the business Kenyan business world?

In today's world, it is very easy to be a blackberry. I hear people saying, “my method is working. Why should I change it? The skills I have got me a job. Why pursue anything further?” But the skills you have are indeed working. But they are working for now.


In the Kenyan business world, skills are key, and one of the most important skills you can learn is sales skills. You can literally use them in any industry you decide to pursue. The things you learn with sales skills are not just meant to help you knock on people’s doors and cold calling businesses. They are intended to help you understand how business is done correctly.


Yusudi is a social enterprise dedicated to helping young people learn sales skills and elevate their careers to the next level.


Which fields you can venture into with sales skills in Kenya

  • Marketing specialist: one business avenue where sales skills are almost mandatory is a marketing specialist in Kenya. This is a field where you need patience and the ability to convince someone. With sales skills, you can easily convince someone. As they say in marketing, most people don't know what they want. It is up to you, the marketer, to convince them of what to buy. With sales skills, this should be much easier for you.

  • Corporate Strategist: like a Marketing strategist, a cooperate strategist in Kenya will almost always need sales experience. Their job revolves around creating a working business approach for the company. Having sales experience is therefore key for you to succeed in this role.

  • Business consultant: With the youth in Kenya struggling to get jobs, starting a business consultation company would benefit many youths in the country. Experience in Sales could prove a great resource for you.

  • Operations Manager: In Kenya, Operations managers are one of the most sought out individuals. Not many people have the qualifications or the experience needed to become an Operations Manager. Sales are one of the skills that are highly desirable to be an Operations Manager in Kenya.

  • Business owners: one of the heavily overlooked things by the Kenyan youth is opening a business. But many African leaders assert that for the country to grow, we need more young Kenyans opening businesses. If this is a career path you would like to follow, having sales skills could prove the difference.

  • Retail Salesperson: one job position that always has job openings is sales jobs in Kenya. The fact of the matter is business needs a sales force. Such a career can be the launching pad you need to venture into bigger business roles.

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