Kagan: What T-Mobile shutting down TVision says about the future

T-Mobile is shutting down their TVision pay TV service. So, what does this mean for their future? They have been talking about entering and changing the pay TV space for years. They thought they would be successful in pay TV like they have become in wireless. Apparently, they were wrong.

T-Mobile launched version one of TVision a couple years ago. It failed. Last year they revamped and relaunched the service with version two. This too was also a failure. Now they are pulling the plug.

So, what does this mean for the company and what does it say about senior management? You may be very surprised at what I am about to say.

T-Mobile throwing in the towel with TVision pay TV

It starts with the fact that every CEO at every company has pet projects they want to succeed. In this case, T-Mobile entering pay TV with TVision was the idea of previous CEO John Legere.

I saw what Comcast and AT&T were doing, liked the idea and wished success to T-Mobile.

New CEO Mike Sievert tried his best to have T-Mobile succeed at pay TV. However, after trying their hardest for the last several years, they are now giving up, throwing in the towel and calling it quits.

Why did T-Mobile TVision fail?

Is this a reflection on the change in CEO or something else? Would this have been a successful service under Legere, or would it have failed under his watch as well?

There is a difference between John Legere and Mike Sievert. Two different leaders with two different approaches.

Legere, with his bigger-than-life attitude, was just what T-Mobile needed several years ago. Back then the company was dying on the vine. He revived it. He saved it.

Back then, T-Mobile missed the move from 2G to 3G. They didn’t see wireless data or the iPhone, Android smartphone revolution which has changed our society over the last decade.

In fact, years ago I sat down with Neville Ray, current T-Mobile vice president of technology, at a conference north of Dallas. That was before John Legere entered the picture. Ray explained how they didn’t see the need to rush from 2G to 3G.

As it turned out, that was what got T-Mobile into trouble in the first place.

That was around the same time iPhone and Android hit the marketplace and completely and almost instantly changed the entire wireless industry. That was the same revolution which sent Nokia and Blackberry from the leadership position to the back of the line.

So, it wasn’t just T-Mobile who misjudged the rapidly changing industry. Other companies did as well.

John Legere became CEO of T-Mobile at their weakest point

When Legere entered, T-Mobile was at its weakest point ever. He used his sheer will power to raise the company from the ashes, save it and start it growing once again.

Recently, Legere retired, and Mike Sievert took the helm as new CEO. TVision was already in the process. Sievert just took control when Legere retired and tried to bring it to life.

So, the TVision idea had its origin with Legere, not Sievert. We will never know what would have happened if Legere did not retire.

Would TVision have failed under his watch as well? Or would he have been able to use his sheer power of will, to make it successful too?

We will never know.

Key lesson to learn from T-Mobile TVision failure

While any failure is a scar to any leader, it also has a good side. Failure shows exactly what every investor, worker and customer want to see. It shows what the leader of the company is made of.

It shows creativity, strength and resilience, or it exposes weakness.

This has shown the unbreakable spirit of leaders like Apple, Microsoft, Cisco, Intel and so many other successful companies.

It is important to understand the sign of a strong leader. It is their willingness to try new things. To come up with new ideas or expand existing ideas.

Excellent leaders throw all the ideas they come up with against the wall. Most ideas simply fall away. The few that stick are what the company builds its next growth wave on.

This means for every successful company, there is always a graveyard of past failures piled up under that wall. But that’s OK. That’s how they find the few real winners.

There can be many failures, but when a company finds a winner, it makes up for all the rest.

This is where ideas like the iPhone, Android, iPad, tablet, computer, ear headphones, electronic watches that link to the smartphone, the Internet, streaming TV and so much more come from.

Mike Sievert shows good leadership in TVision failure

This is the magic that brings us into the marvelous world of tomorrow. Every big idea today started as one of a million ideas that were thrown up against the wall.

That’s how I see the failure of TVision. It is an idea that didn’t work, but it showed how Mike Sievert saw it through. And when it didn’t succeed, he pulled the plug and moved on.

That’s encouraging to see. That’s the sign of a leader with growth potential for the long run on his mind.

So, what does the shutdown of TVision say about T-Mobile and its new CEO Mike Sievert?

This is a very positive move on his part. A real sign he should be taken seriously. We can learn quite a bit about a company and their path to success from how they deal with failure.

So, I am impressed with Mike Sievert and his TVision shutdown, and am looking forward to what’s coming next. T-Mobile has been on an upward and successful climb in recent years. Based on what I see so far, it looks like that will continue going forward under Sievert.

The post Kagan: What T-Mobile shutting down TVision says about the future appeared first on RCR Wireless News.

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