“The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”
According to the old fable, the cunning and agile fox cannot win out over the slower, more awkward hedgehog. Each day the fox calculates a new line of attack on the hedgehog, only to have the hedgehog roll up into a perfect little ball with spikes sticking out. The fox then halts his assault, to try again the very next day with another impeccably thought-out strategy. The hedgehog’s familiar response is “Here we go again. Will he ever learn?”
According to Jim Collins, one key to any company being great is having one defining purpose; being great at one thing and doing it over and over again. I believe this in many ways explains the remarkable ascent of RIM: they found one focus, which was mobile email, and have done it very, very well.
I think in a time when the mobile market is more competitive than ever, RIM can take pride in its execution of the hedgehog concept. As a mobile email platform, they have so far withstood all challengers. Indeed, their reaction any time they hear about one company or another deciding to pursue the enterprise mobile email market must be “Here we go again.”
As they branch out into consumer devices, RIM has as their anchor their success in mobile email. The bottom line is this: when I think of the hedgehog concept, I think of RIM.