How much has the film market contracted over the past 20 years? 90%? 95%? 99%?
I don't see any way for any manager to "manage" that transition and look good doing it. From a business perspective, it was a bloodbath that Kodak didn't create and couldn't control. If there is a future in film manufacturing, its going to be done by much smaller companies. Big companies do not turn into small companies gracefully.
It is my earnest hope that there is a small Kodak waiting to emerge that will profitably produce film into the indefinite future.
I also think there is a marketing strategy that could work to bolster film sales. Lots of people are turned off by the ever-accelerating treadmill that is modern society. I'd like to see film marketed as something that is "Beautiful. Permanent. Real."
I wonder if something like this would resonate with "the kids these days"...
^yes Omaha, that does resonate with "kids" today, however, it is called Blurb (ie print on demand) and sadly Kodak missed that boat (from a consumer perspective - though they have b2b print on demand presence...)
That's where I have a hard time with the "blame Kodak" camp.
I was an early adopter of Ofoto.com, and stayed with them after Kodak bought them out. You can't say Kodak wasn't making an effort at the online/digital/social/POD world. They just (like 99.9% of companies that tried) didn't make it. Sure, we can look at that in hindsight and point to the various bad moves they made along the way, but pretty much everyone made bad moves.
I was CIO for a well-funded dotcom company in the late 1990's into 2000. I lived that world. It was a ridiculous time. We were ALL scrambling around, not knowing what we were doing, taking every shot we could, knowing that if we somehow got it "right" we would be looking at the brass ring of all brass rings, but knowing that the odds were massively stacked against us.
Its easy to say, today, that all we had to do was what Google (or pick your favorite internet company) did. We were all trying.