Thanks for the memories, Kodak

Michael Bayler
Bayler and Associates

Michael Bayler suggests that we have lost more than just a business with the demise of Kodak.

I started looking at Kodak just weeks before its Chapter 11 announcement of January this year, in the context of some strategic work for a movie client. It won't surprise you that a major motif in the boardrooms of LA is: 'Above all, please let us avoid the awful fate of ... the music business!'

But music – more specifically the record business – was never as dumb as it was made out to be, its goofy PR bloopers notwithstanding. More importantly, and more subtly, music as a cultural product behaves in a very different way from all other forms of content.

I found, to the contrary, that the insights drawn from Kodak's journey, from ubiquitous global icon to sad poster-child for digital disruption (at the time of writing the company has just asked for its name to be removed from the Oscars theatre in LA, an awful fall for a company on whose stock literally every Academy Award-winning film for decades was shot) are far more informative, not merely for Hollywood but for all categories exposed to the value-stripping influence of online media.

Owning memories