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?”

THE 100-YEAR RIDE: How Honda Became a Globally Well-Known Brand

(Background squiggle art by yours truly!)

The founder of a certain company had turned 100 back in 2016; His name is Soichiro Honda, and he was the founder of a company called Honda, which was founded in October of 1946 in Hamamatsu, Japan, and was incorporated two years later, on September 24th, 1948. Honda is a manufacturer of aircraft, power equipment, automobiles, and motorcycles…Yes, especially motorcycles.
In fact, in 1959 Honda became the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer and has been so to this very day; Honda’s also the world’s largest manufacturer of internal combustion engines measured by volume, producing more than 14 million internal combustion engines each year.
In 2001, the company had also become the second-largest Japanese automobile manufacturer, as well as being the 8th largest automobile manufacturer in the world behind Toyota, Ford, and General Motors.
Soichiro Honda had an interest in automobiles throughout his life while working as a mechanic at the Art Shokai garage, tuning cars as well as entering them in races; With the financing from an acquaintance of his by the name of Kato Shichiro, Honda founded Tokai Seiki in 1937 to make piston rings working out of the Art Shokai garage. Sure, they had initial failures, but Tokai Seiki won a contract to supply those piston rings to Toyota, but the contract was lost due to the products’ poor quality. Honda then attended engineering school without graduating while visiting factories around Japan just to get a better understanding of the quality control process of Toyota. In 1941, Honda was then able to mass-produce the piston rings acceptable to Toyota, using an automated process that could employ even unskilled wartime laborers.
In the next few decades to come, Honda’s product line would expand, as well as its operations and exports to countries around the world; The successful Acura was introduced by Honda in 1986 to the American market, an attempt catch up with the luxury vehicle market. In 1991, the Honda NSX supercar was introduced, which happens to be the first all-aluminum monocoque vehicle that incorporated a mid-engine V6 with variable valve timing.

Soichiro Honda passed away on August 5th, 1991; Afterward, the company in which he founded had found itself being outpaced quickly by other Japanese automakers, and was then became engulfed by the truck and sport utility vehicle boom of the 1990s, and they all took a toll on the profitability of the company…
Then, the company had announced plans to halve production at its UK plants following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March of 2011, a decision made that involves putting staff at the Swindon plant on a 2-day week until the end of May as the manufacturer began struggling to source supplies from Japan.

Of the many products that Honda has made over the years, they are, in addition to the Acura: Fit, Insight, Civic, Accord, Legend, CR-Z and CR-V, as well as two versions of the Odyssey, actually two versions of the vehicle, one for North America and the other, a smaller vehicle, was sold internationally.
If you would like to learn more about the history of Honda, then please visit www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda.