Death of the Blackberry?

Who would have that one of the world’s most popular smartphone companies just a few years ago is now asking itself if it wants to stay in the handset market?

Blackberry has gone from the smartphone that everyone must have with its clever BBM messaging system, where blackberry users could message each other similar to what we now have with iMessages for the iPhone. According to  newly appointed CEO John Chen, Blackberry may be forced to reexamine the types of products it will offer with its dwindling share of the US and worldwide smartphone market. This statement should come to no surprise to the American public who have moved on to iPhones and Samsung phones, and with Blackberry occupying a measly 2% of the smartphone market. 

In an attempt at cutting the cost for the Blackberry, top executives have teamed up with Foxconn, where they will revamp productions on their newest line of phones. Previously the smartphone company had most of its products manufactured on the United States and Europe, and with the move to China, labor costs should help alleviate their $5.9 billion loss in the fiscal year.

Signs of hope?

With a cheaper phone, Blackberry will now be able to compete in the global market, with the iPhones somehow struggling in this area due to higher cost of the phones outside of the US. The reason for the higher cost internationally is because iPhones are not subsidized elsewhere like they are here. Meaning Blackberry is attempting to attain a bigger grab on the low-end devices with their smartphones and tablet. This is something that Apple has been very clear about not doing. But Blackberry’s new game plan does not stop their, along with other phone companies, they plan on tapping into the auto-entertainment as well as healthcare systems. But perhaps the biggest breakthrough for Blackberry is through the messaging that once saw the smartphone hold 50% share of the market during its peak. In the new BB-10 phones, users can now use eBBM, which is a messaging system that does not user the internet like iMessages, but Blackberry’s private network, which also heightens security measures.

One could look at Blackberry’s performance in the past fiscal year and determine that the marketplace has decided that its phones can no longer be the success it once was, but with a new CEO who has begun streamlining the company in order to compete with the smartphone giants,  I think it’s too soon to write off Blackberry… for now.


Measuring the Sanctity of Education

Comparing my college experience in the 2010’s with my father’s in the early 1980’s I was shocked that it seemed that the value society places on education and its sanctity has eroded over the years. Then again, much has changed: skyrocketing tuition rates, the explosion of college sports, the national resurgence of Greek life, the decrease of funding for public university systems. Which of these are simply corollaries rather than indicators of the perception that the sanctity of education has become devalued? This past week an article appeared in Slate that drew attention to the staggering contrast between the percentage salary growth of college sports coaches and college professors.

A Chart About College Coach Salaries That Will Make Academics Weep

In economics “prices” communicate value. Salaries are a form of prices that communicate the value of individuals, in this case, at a university. The word “university” comes from a Latin word meaning “the whole.” There is no doubt that the university experience as a whole should encompass educational, social, and athletic elements. I think however there is a problem when the resource allocation does not reflect a balanced whole. Often I’ve heard the complaints that few are the students who go to college for the purpose of learning for the sake of learning. That students prioritize socializing and attending athletic events over academic pursuits. While this indicator alone doesn’t substantiate those complaints it does make me wonder why I often hear people excited about the next party and the next game but almost never about going to their next class. I wonder if a university professor was paid a seven figure salary how amazing their class would be.

Should More Nonprofits Merge?


Nowadays, there are a large number of nonprofits around the world. No matter these nonprofits are large or small, they all share the same characteristics that are to provide services to people and to help people live better lives. However, during nonprofits’ growth and development, they may face many problems in funds, human resources, managements, policies, etc. To many nonprofits, they are facing two choices. One is to attempt to develop on their own, and the other is to merge with other nonprofits. However, whether or not more nonprofits should merge always remains a controversial question.

Merging is actually an effective and efficient way for nonprofits to better serve the community and realize their missions. Even though people may be concerned that the merger will bring conflicts between the two organizations, a merger can potentially bring more benefits than negative effects as long as the two nonprofits share similar missions and visions. According to Dr. B.J. Bischoff, if two organizations share a close mission, then they have the potential to merge. There have been approximately 1 million nonprofits in the United States so far. Many of those small nonprofits actually provide similar or almost the same services. The record from National Council of Nonprofits indicates that the majority of the nonprofits sector is small- and mid-size organizations; “82.3% of the filing nonprofits have expenditures of less than $1 million.” Therefore, due to these nonprofits’ small sizes, it’s difficult for them to carry out their goals and make a difference. Some of them may even struggle to survive during economic downtowns. As a result, it will be a wise decision for nonprofits with similar missions to merge. In this way, such combined forces after merging will allow nonprofit organizations to enable stronger entities. Thus the merged nonprofit will be able to better serve the people in need. 3b3fb3ef7f0b3b0447986ecc989de220For instance, Shelter Network and InnVision the Way Home are both nonprofits in California providing services and help to homeless people. They merged as one organization, InnVision Shelter Network in July 2012. Because of the merging, InnVision Shelter Network has become one of the largest nonprofits for homeless people in Northern California, and has the ability to help more than 20,000 homeless people every year.

In addition, when a merger takes place, the resources and expertise of the two organizations are shared. During economic downturns, combined funds and resources can help the merged nonprofit find solutions to financial problems. Although people who don’t support nonprofits’ merging may think that it is easier for smaller organizations to reduce cost, actually the resources and funds a small nonprofit has are quite limited in the first place. Without sufficient funds and resources, a nonprofit is unable to provide clients with good services and even finds it hard to survive or grow due to financial difficulty. Besides the financial advantages that come from the merging, the combined human talents and skills among the merged organization will be another beneficial power to help development. With shared operating concepts, administrative strategies as well as expertise, the merged nonprofit can compare and thus figure out a new operation model which will enable them to provide the best services to clients. HomelessMan640For example, Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless and the Affirmative Options Coalition merged during the last economic crisis. Due to the terrible economic situation and a rapidly increasing number of poor, the constantly decreased funds could not support the two nonprofit organizations to help the poor. For this reason, they chose to merge. With combined funds and employees, they were able to provide more and better services to support the poor.

Furthermore, merging can also serve as a tool for nonprofits to ease competition. Although some people may consider that competition only exists among for-profits and is not necessary for nonprofits, nonprofits actually face much pressure from competition in terms of acquiring funds and resources, performance, etc. Merging can help nonprofits become more competitive in its field, and thus ease their pressure from competition. Two nonprofits may choose to merge if they “identify critical strengths in differing areas.” As a result of the merger, they can expand their services and improve their skill sets, instead of being limited in only one area. Thus, they will be able to grow more strategically and competitively.

More importantly, as long as a nonprofit starts the process to explore whether it is suitable for merging, it’s quite beneficial for this nonprofit to get a better understanding of itself and thus to enable improvement, even without the decision to actually merge. However, nonprofits which seek to merge should carefully study their own situations, and thus figure out a way to realize best outcomes from the merger.mergersnonprofit