Ahhh, Woolworths. Frito pies on the plaza in Santa Fe. I never liked them *that* much, but when having one you got the feeling of being part of something bigger. A shared history. I don't get that when I'm at my (already obsolete) little computer, allegedly connected with the world. I'm not a Luddite mind you, but there's probably more genuine connection eating that Frito pie with a stranger on the plaza.
Originally Posted by Steve Roberts
By the way, I do have a market where Kodak could play very effectively, in my opinion. And I told them about it, oh, almost a decade ago. Thin film photovoltaics. Too late now though.
Last edited by keithwms; 01-20-2012 at 09:23 AM. Click to view previous post history.
The reason Kodak is bankrupt is because they forgot their mission statement.
Yes, film, cameras, chemistry, digicams and computers are integral parts of photography but they are not what the mission of photography is about. Photography is about thoughts and ideas and imagery. It is about transmitting those images from one person's mind to another's.
Back at the turn of the last century, Kodak revolutionized photography with one simple slogan: "You pull the string. We'll do the rest."
The original Brownie camera was not the best camera available. There were a lot of better cameras available at the time.
The reason the Brownie was so revolutionary is because it allowed people to SHARE their lives, their vacations, their family events and their history with other people. For all the people who bought those Brownie cameras cared, there could have been little fairies inside those boxes that painted the images. Wasn't there even some jokes floating around to that effect at the time?
The technology of the Brownie camera was all behind the scenes. It doesn't matter HOW it happened. It matters WHAT happened. You mailed the camera back to Kodak and they mailed your memories back to you. Technology is less than 1/10 of the heart of photography. Imagery makes up the other 90 percent.
Go listen to the song "Kodachrome" by Paul Simon.
Go ahead. Do it right now. I'll wait for you.......
Listen to the WORDS of that song. How many of the lyrics talk about cameras or film?
Answer: ONE LINE -- "I've got a Nikon camera. Love to take a photograph."
That's IT! The rest of the song talks about IDEAS and IMAGERY: "Nice, bright colors" "The Green of Summer" "Makes you think all the world's a sunny day."
Paul Simon knew this in the 1970's. Kodak forgets this in 2012. This is why they failed.
There has been a fundamental shift in the way the general public thinks about images, the way they use them and share them. Where once, we pasted them into photo albums, we now e-mail them and post them on FaceBook.
It doesn't matter how I get the photo. It matters what I do with it.
It doesn't matter whether I used a 1953 vintage Rolleiflex or the latest Nikon digital. It matters that I used those cameras to tell you the story about my last vacation or my last family gathering. It matters that I was able to use Tri-X Pan or Photoshop to tell you my story. Nothing else really matters.
If Kodak remembers their mission statement, they'll survive.
If Kodak doesn't remember, they'll be reduced to a label that somebody sticks on boxes like what happened to Polaroid.
When my girlfriend still worked for Walt Disney World, the significant other of one of her coworkers worked at Father Yellow as a manager, IIRC.
This coworker told my girlfriend that his SO tried to get Kodak to listen to his ideas. They were ignored. This person also went on to predict Kodak would find itself in bankruptcy "in less than ten years."
That was circa 2003-2004.
This may be coming out of left field, but it seems to me this (inevitable) demise of Kodak is not much unlike a lot of massive companies in America. It's like taking the "American dream" past it's threshold. You can climb that mountain, but all mountains have a peek and it can be a dangerous venture if the peek is not in your vision. In my opinion, Kodak reached the peek and then fell off a cliff instead of hovering right below the top with focus. As another user here mentioned, they lost a focus of their mission. I have a different look on what the mission of photography is than that user, but that is part of what photography means to you as an individual and topic of another conversation. I relate this to a smaller lab I worked for here in my town. They incurred so much debt by trying to grow beyond their realm as means of keeping up with technology, that they have virtually buried themselves without a way to dig out. In their (local) case, they have nothing to sell off outside of physical machinery and that will not cover their debt. At this point clientele will go where the product or service is being offered and therefore not a viable selling point of the company. Too big, trying to gather up all the avenues from all directions as means of growing your company. Eventually, you will have to offer more, more, more just to cover your growth and stay afloat. The more you offer, the less time you will be able to offer your customers personal service. That pisses people off and ultimately loss of customer base. In very large companies, this loss of customer base is not recognized until it is far too late. 1% decrease is fairly small unless you really pay attention the the actual number of customers as 1% could be 10's of thousands of people. This small lab I worked for used Fuji everything unless they had no option. Why? "Kodak doesn't care. They will tell you one thing, you invest, and then find they had a different direction planned the whole time". (Example: R3.) I can not tell you how many times I heard statements like this while working there. This small lab was just one small customer for Kodak, but served 1000's of customers in our city.Some people say customer service is the key and Kodak trashed that a long time ago. Of course, I am not a business major, so this is just my personal opinion and thought I might share, since sharing is what we do here.
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Kodak Gallery came out way ahead of Flickr but Kodak put so many limitations on it that it floundered. Flickr set up a simple sharing system and server farm and became another missed Kodak moment. Kodak did not "get it" that digital sharing would not necessarily be tied to Kodak film and camera products but would be a whole new online vector unto itself.
Yep, Kodak could be the photographic version of facebook now, but no...
I agree with the astute observation that they forgot their mission.
They are trying to mix the digi/analog though, remains to be seen if the below venture is profitable or just noise, too little too late...
Over 1 Million Users Enjoy Printing Photos from a KODAK Picture Kiosk Making Printing Pictures from FACEBOOK More than a Status Update
Despite the comments by Aristophanes, this article seems to agree with my comments!
Originally Posted by maarten m
As for the on-line galleries, Kodak was never very good with software from the very beginning except for mechanical devices. Even there, they failed when interfacing with DOS. I was there! I've seen first hand the flaws in their approach and the results.