Tag: Kodak

Adapt Change or Die – In Memory of Kodak

January 20, 20120 Comments

I have no wish to intrude on either private grief or very public grief in the case of Kodak but I’m indebted to my good friend Harlan Kilstein for his thoughts on their demise and thought they’d be worth sharing as the fate of Kodak has a big lesson for all of us. Harlan purchased his first Kodak camera – a Brownie – at the time of the New York World’s fair in 1964. He remembers visiting the Kodak exhibit as a little kid and being blown away by what he saw.

Here is what he had to say in a recent message to me:

Kodak was HUMONGOUS. Could it get any bigger or better?

They made cameras, film, paper, chemicals, and much more.

They took photography to new levels.

They endowed schools of the arts.

Working for Kodak was a dream for many. Because once you were in with Kodak, you were set for life.

In case you didn’t know it, Kodak declared bankruptcy this week.

The unthinkable happened.

And it happened because the world went digital and Kodak refused to believe it was happening.

Kodak went on with its regularly scheduled business of manufacturing film, cameras for film, paper and chemicals and ignored the digital revolution.

They kept thinking:

This is just a fad.

People want to take their pictures into the drug store and wait a week for them to be ready.

People don’t want to be able to edit their own photos, share them with their friends, or be able to view their pictures instantly.

Guess what Kodak….

You were wrong.

Too late, as the death knell started to toll Kodak woke up and said:

“Wait! We get it. People want digital cameras! And digital printers! And they want to take video too!”

But it was too late.

The giant filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and the future will tell whether or not there is a role for Kodak in the future.

But it’s a powerful lesson for all of us.

Adapt Change or Die.

As humans, we tend to like things as they are.

We don’t invite change.

One of my favorite quotes is “the only one who likes change is a wet baby.”

But if you want to survive…

If you want to thrive….


Don’t be like Kodak and think people are going to embrace the past.

Most people don’t want to live life in a museum.

Be flexible.

Be innovative.

Offer value.

Be the best you can be.

How very true. As another friend of mine once said: “You either move with the times or you quickly find yourself being against everything.” A lot of us like things to stay the way they are but you’ll soon find out (without advocating change just for the sake of it) that you can’t afford that mentality if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, especially in today’s fast-moving online world.

Don’t forget to share your own thoughts on this subject in the Comments box below:


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