Friday, November 18, 2011
It is hard to watch Eastman Kodak liquidate itself in a losing fight to stay out of bankruptcy. What must employees of the company feel? Maintaining morale has to be a losing effort, and gallows humor the order of the day. The irony, of course, is that Kodak invented the technology that is killing it. That more than anything must grind at the heart of its surviving workforce. There is only one other company in the modern day that has had the same experience -- Xerox. But Xerox through inspired leadership was able to turn itself around. Kodak's failure is partially that of leadership but more that its fundamental technology, film and chemicals, is obsolete, and the company has yet to find an economic replacement for them. Kodak is staking its future on printers, but it is running out of time. Meanwhile, its longtime fans feel depressed watching its dying throes.