Money and manpower
Among the many crucial moments in the history of Research In Motion was the arrival of Jim Balsillie in 1992. At the time, when he was hired by Mike Lazaridis, there were only fourteen employees. As RIM’s new vice-president of finance and business development, Balsillie invested $125,000 for a one-third interest in the business.
“The arrival of Jim Balsillie was a turning point for the company in several respects,” said Dale Brubacher-Cressman, employee number five at RIM. “There was only so much Mike could do. He recognized the need to get business support into the company to get the company to grow. Prior to Jim’s arrival was the only time in the history of my working for the company that there was one month I thought I might not get a paycheque. Jim’s arrival brought some business expertise and some ability to focus on that side of the organization.”
Balsillie’s investment was quickly put to use. Two days after he joined, Balsillie asked accountant Mike Vasilliou to produce a balance sheet so he could see how much RIM’s corporate health had been improved by his $125,000.
“Well, it’s gone,” said Vasilliou.
“What do you mean, ‘it’s gone’?”
“We had all these pent-up payables. It’s all gone.”
“At that moment, I thought this was certainly by definition a one-way door,” recalled Balsillie.“I didn’t realize how much financial duress the company was in.”