What is the Opposite of “Plastic” (circa 1967)?
It may be hard to believe if you’re under 50 years old (60?), but once upon a time, Eastman Kodak — along with other technology pioneers like Polaroid, Xerox, and Motorola — held the same place in the American corporate pantheon now occupied by such companies as Apple, Google, and Facebook.
In another words, it was a dynamo, full of visionary leaders cranking out cutting edge products and services.
So, it’s sad to see this headline in today’s Wall Street Journal:
Clock Ticks as Kodak Burns Cash
With its shares closing at their lowest level since the 1950s and investors bailing out of its bonds, Eastman Kodak Co. is under the heaviest pressure yet to prove it can pull off a plan to reinvent itself as a company that makes printers.
—The Wall Street Journal (9/27/2011)
The nail in the coffin (at least to this observer)?
The company’s “Hail Mary pass” strategy based on making printers.
That would be the same product that IBM dumped as a low-margin loser more than five years ago, and which is more than a little to blame for Hewlett-Packard’s current woes (management miscues accounting for the rest).
Remember that scene in “The Graduate,” where a family friend offering career advice whispers “plastic” to Dustin Hoffman’s character, Benjamin?
In the 24/7 online, gigabit (terabyte?) world of late 2011 . . . printers are the opposite of plastic.