The Good Message in Kodak’s Woes

Eastman Kodak is most likely going to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy shortly. They lost 222 million dollars in the third quarter. They’ve had 9 quarterly losses in the last 3 years and their cash balance has fallen 10%. Kodak is trying to sell 1,100 of it’s digital patents. If they are unsuccessful, they will run out of money in a year. Kodak is in deep shit.

In no way do I get satisfaction in the pain or woes of others. So Kodak’s apparent demise does not make me happy. I feel for the company and it’s thousands of employees. Rochester New York is most likely going to change forever over the next 10 years and I feel the people and the city.

Disclaimer aside, Kodak’s woes mark something positive. They mark change. Film, the core of Kodak’s business for almost 131 years, has joined the horse and carriage, buggy whips, typewriters, records, record players, tapes, tape players, dvd’s and dvd players (shit any type of physical music and music player), and other forgotten human advancements in the land of outmoded technology. Kodak’s demise marks the end of another era. It marks the end of another physical technology and the triumph of digital. It also marks progress. Kodak’s demise is a stark reminder that change and progress are inevitable, that time marches on and waits for no one.

Will Kodak as a company carry on? Will they be able to reinvent themselves? It’s a tall order.  I don’t know if they can. Too many companies just can’t make the transition.  To this day, I can’t figure our why the typewriter company Smith and Corona didn’t become the worlds leading manufacturer of computer keyboards and mice and let a start-up like Logitec own the space.

What I do know is the message in Kodak’s woes is crystal clear, nothing stands still and progress is inevitable. To me that’s a good thing. Imagine if we all still needed buggy whips.

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