A COMPANY WORTH A 1,000 WORDS: The Story of Kodak

Gather ’round, kids, for another company history story…

Have any of you bloggers and blog followers out there ever owned an old Kodak camera? Well, if you have, then I would very much like to tell you the story of how one company changed the way we take pictures…
On September 4th, 1888, two men by the name of George Eastman and Henry A. Strong founded the Eastman Kodak Company, and would become the top name in terms of cameras and taking pictures throughout most of the 20th century; It had followed what most would consider the razor and blades strategy by selling inexpensive cameras while making large margins from consumables, in which they happen to be film, chemicals, and paper. By late 1976, Kodak would have commanded 90% of film sales as well as 85% of its camera sales in the United States.
In the 1990s, however, Kodak would struggle financially, and then move on to the digital business, a journey that would last a decade; The camera company’s film sales had dropped in 2001 as a result due to the financial shocks caused by the September 11th attacks. Through aggressive marketing, Kodak would begin to shift to digital, as had hoped by executives.

In the earlier years, Kodak had done everything, even its products, in-house, but then came a strategy shift: A CEO by the name of Antonio Perez had shut down the film factories, laying off 27,000 jobs as it outsourced its manufacturing. He would then invest heavily in digital technologies as well as new services that capitalized on its technology innovation, to boost margins of profit.
But in spite of this turnaround progress, Kodak had used up its cash reserves rather quickly, in which stoked fears of bankruptcy, and indeed, on January 19th, 2012, that was just what they did: The company had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection while obtaining a 950 million, 18-month credit facility, which came from Citigroup, to provide debtor-in-possession financing.
At the beginning of its business, Kodak had a slogan that says, “You press the button, we do the rest”; Kodak is also known for its products, such as the Brownie camera, a color reversal stock for movie and slide film called the Kodachrome, the Instamatic camera, and the Kodak Disc.
In 1932, George Eastman would not ever live to see the rest of his company grow and flourish; He had taken his own life by a single gunshot at the age of 77. The suicide note that he left behind was this, and I kid you not: “My work is done. Why wait?”

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