Out Of Focus

6 10 2011

Because the other option is simply to roll over and die. But the path to this pet sematary is just as horrific as the novel.

Case in point: Kodak. The media have been abuzz this week with rumors of Kodak’s imminent bankruptcy. Its stock price has fallen to penny stock levels. And it defiantly thinks it can continue to survive it spite of its ways.

Here’s the problem (in case you haven’t noticed): Something profound happened in the camera market in the last 15 years. Yes, fifteen years, because that’s how long it has been since I purchased my first digital camera.

And while that first camera was rather crude by today’s standards (a whopping 320 X 240 resolution!), it changed my life. And, as we all know, it changed everyone’s. I have not used film since that chilly November day. When was the last time you did?

Sure, Kodak has tried to react positively, installing photo kiosks in many drugstores, supermarkets, Sam’s and Costco, but prints are only one small part of the equation. And it has also tinkered with its own line of digital cameras. Hardware and software are two very different things, though. That would be like Microsoft trying to sell us computers.

As the article points out, Kodak actually developed a prototype several decades ago that was a precursor to the digital camera. But in its stubbornness, it dismissed it. Instead, it continued to count on film, processing and printing as its mainstays. “By golly, we’re not going to change. People will just have to stick with us.”

Well, give that dog a bone for making me laugh.

While the fine folks of Rochester NY are no doubt sad to see this major employer slowly wither and die, Kodak has no one to blame but itself. Resistance has been futile. It has had plenty of time to adapt to the changes in its industry. Refusal to change is tantamount to saying customers are no longer worth serving. Employees do not matter. That management simply does not give a rip.

And that’s a picture I just do not like seeing.

Dr “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie” Gerlich

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