Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Lesson From Kodak

Kodak is no more. The Guardian nailed it by describing the announcement of bankruptcy so:

The news that Kodak has filed for Chapter 11 is rather like hearing about the death of a much-loved elderly relative. You've known for ages it was going to happen, but it's still a shock when it finally does.

Growing up in Rochester, Kodak (and Xerox, for that matter) were revered as institutions. And rightfully so, for Kodak paved the way for the amateur photographer to exist. Consider the classic Brownie camera (quite available on eBay, and probably in the basements of many a grandparent). For a $1.00 (considered cheap even in 1900), one got a camera and film and was ready to snap photos. A concept that was down right revolutionary.

Alas, as Kodak grew up, it seemed to lose that ability to innovate. In hindsight, at the first sign of the digital revolution, they should have come out wit a a digital Brownie. A cheap and low quality camera that would once again revolutionize how accessible photography could be. And of course, companies did this, but Kodak wasn't one of them. You can't exactly blame them, as how appealing could low quality digital market appear to the champion of the film world?

So my take away: remember your roots, stay humble, and always look to innovate.

Innovate or die.

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