Sunday, November 13, 2011

George Eastman

In my post about Steve Jobs and all the innovators, inventors and creative geniuses he is in company with, I forgot about poor old George Eastman.

Here is an article by Bob Greene that draws some interesting comparisons between Google and the company Eastman founded, Kodak.

Like Jobs, it was Eastman who brought his product, in his case cameras and photography, to everyday people. In the process he not only changed photography, which already had been around for a half century, but the world.

Today, photography like so many other fields of endeavor, is being transformed by the digital age. Greene makes an interesting point using traditional silver (film) based photography versus its digital based counterpart as a metaphor for our current society. In the old film era, (boy I'm really starting to feel old), you would have to wait to shoot an entire role of film, take it to the lab, then wait a few days more for the film to be processed. There was a sense of glorious anticipation in that time, wondering how the pictures would turn out. Opening that envelope with the prints, or a box with slides, would be akin to opening up a birthday present as, hoping for the best, you'd never know exactly what you'd get. All that's been lost with digital photography and its instant feedback, and gratification.

Unfortunately Kodak has not been very good at the instant gratification business. As everyone in the photography world, and the city of Rochester knows, the company has been floundering for quite some time, and may not survive. That would be a terrible shame.

Ironically, Google, the company that all but invented instant gratification, is no longer instant enough. Competition from Twitter, Facebook and others have forced Google to improve its search algorithm to make it even faster. *

Another lesson to all of us in changing times, either go with the flow or get off the boat.

* Which reminds me of an old Groucho Marx bit. While in a passionate embrace with a woman, she asks him to come closer to which he replies: "If I were any closer I'd be behind you."

1 comment:

silence said...

George Eastman in Silence (Suicidios Ejemplares)