Tag Archives: AT&T Lumia 1020

Stephen Elop Takes A Very Awkward Question, Aces It

At Nokia’s Lumia 1020 keynote, Stephen Elop had to take one of the most awkward public questions a CEO has had to take in a long time. It was a really public setting with the entire world’s tech press in attendance, and the event was also being live streamed across the world. Five minutes before the question, Ralph de la Vega, President and CEO-AT&T Mobility had been on stage, and Stephen Elop had just called AT&T a great partner.

Then comes the extremely awkward question. The lady from Forbes.com called AT&T a horrible partner, while praising Nokia’s Lumia devices. There is a lot of merit in that question, and you can see that everyone agreed with her by the cheers the question got, but what could Elop possibly say to go out of a high?

There are lots of ways that you can answer that question, after all most CEOs are also masters of saying a lot without saying anything, but I really liked how Elop tackled it.

Instead simply saying that they’ll working more closely, train more people and the usual press speak, he acknowledged a more fundamental issue. Making Lumia work is Nokia’s problem and not AT&T’s. While they might also want a third ecosystem at some level, there’s only so much they’ll do.

Elop’s answer is testament to the challenger mindset that he’s been talking about for the last few months, and it is refreshing to see a CEO being honest about a company’s challenges.

For once, Nokia had managed to knock this keynote right out of the park, and ending on such a tricky question could have taken from the experience just a little bit, but Elop handled it well, and for that he deserves credit.