Lessons from Nokia’s CEO: ignore your product & your customers

So, Nokia’s paper-launched their newest flagship phone, the N9.

The N9 is based (well, sort-of, anyway—something many media outlets have gotten wrong) on Nokia’s Linux-based operating system MeeGo, which they’ve been developing in-house for several years. However, in 2010, Nokia decided to switch their flagship mobile phone OS from MeeGo to Windows Phone 7—effectively aborting all long-term plans and products in the pipeline.

This has universally been regarded as a bad move.

The N9 was apparently far enough down the pipeline, and new products based on Windows Phone 7 so far, that Nokia released the device anyway. So far, the N9 is a hit.

The move to the new OS is considered the handiwork of recently-appointed Nokia CEO Stephen Elop. However, an article in the Helsingin Sanomat paraphrases Elop:

In Elop’s words, there is no returning to MeeGo, even if the N9 turns out to be a hit.

So, it doesn’t matter if Nokia’s own products are successful? The business deal made with Microsoft is more important?

I read:

I have taken part in the conversations with the teleoperators and I have been part of the consumer test groups. The feedback has been extremely positive and I am sure that the Windows Phone system will be a great success

And think: teleoperators and consumer test groups are one thing, but what about your own customers and developers?

Lessons learned here: ignore your product, and ignore your customers, and you too can be part of a company as successful as Nokia. Maybe, as CEO, you’ll get your own social media hashtag too.


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